Iva: Prague’s Barrel is not work to me, it’s a vacation!

Iva is the youngest member of our organization team, but you would not think so, because she has been with us as a hostess for a long time. She is in charge of the German speaking teams and she cannot imagine Prague’s Barrel without all the great people and their true Barrel spirit. How did her story begin and what is her favorite memory?

How did you hear about Prague’s Barrel?
I heard about the tournament from my high school classmates Markéta and Monica, they were hostesses at Prague’s Barrel and told me how great the tournament was. My first hostessing job was at bowling in 2017 and I was taking care of 3 teams at a time! I really liked the challenge. I had a little pink notebook where I wrote all the important information, for example the license plates and time of taxis which drove my teams to the bowling arena. I remember when Martin called me to ask when my team was arriving and he was impressed about all the details I told him (laugh).

I assume you have liked it a lot as you continued to work with us?
Yes! I was really surprised how you can get so many good friends in just 4 days. I am still connected with many of my teams’ members on Facebook, and they are returning to Prague regularly, which is amazing. The tournaments feel like I am on a vacation, even though it is in Prague where I live. All the tournaments I have been to were great experience.

How were your other teams?
After bowling I was at a football tournament and I had a team which was not speaking English very well, regardless, after the first day I became a part of the team no matter what languages we spoke. Another team was Copsperr from Sweden which is a bit of a crazy team because they always come with funny costumes – it is a lot of fun. I like all of my teams and I will never forget any of them.

How was the transition between a hostess and an organizer?
I am still a hostess from time to time. One day, Sofie reached out to me because they did not have anybody taking care of the German speaking countries. During my studies at the university I was organizing events for Erasmus students and I was missing that part of my life once I started working full time. So I was very glad for the opportunity at Prague’s Barrel – opportunity to become part of the team and help organize events which make people happy.

Was it hard to break the ice with German, Austrian or Swiss teams?
It is a big change from how you work as a hostess, because as an organizer you are contacting people you do not know. You are texting with somebody for a long time, waiting to see them at the tournament. All the communication is rather official and you do not know what to expect when they arrive. Then they come and it is great, you finally meet them and you can have a beer together.

Did the German language ever surprise you as you did not understand some dialect for example?
For sure! For example Austrians are speaking very differently from Germans and Swiss Deutsch is from another world (laugh). But you will get used to it and most of the participants are speaking hochdeutsch (“official” German) with me so I can understand.

What will you never forget from the tournaments?
I have many good stories. But now I remember for example one funny guy who was pretending not to be able to go on the escalator in the subway so I had to take his hand and go with him as a mom. We all laughed a lot. One player once proposed to me on a boat – some people get very much attached to you if you bring them beer (laugh). Once we switched clothes with one player at a football pitch and he was playing in my tight pink T-shirt, he got all the attention (laugh). And I also like to bring my pompoms and support the team spirit.

How long do you think you can do this job?
As long as you keep the Barrel spirit, age is just a number! Even though I am turning 30 this year, I still feel like I am 20. By the way, my birthday will be during the ice hockey tournament in November, so it is gonna be big (laugh)!

What do you think our participants are appreciating about the tournament the most?
Us. (laugh) For sure the people and the atmosphere. The whole programme and the care from the organizers and the hostesses. It would not be the same without that. A lot of teams are saying that they were participating in a lot of different tournaments but ours is special.