Editor’s note: From 2009 till 2010 I did a series of interviews with some of the best players, go-getters, organizers and all around important people of our sport at that point. I now bring all of the interviews, for the first time collected, chronologically here on the site.Some of the people are as relevant today as they were back then, others have faded a little, but all of the interviews contain strong opinions, an interesting look into a footbag life and/or great advice about our sport. This week’s interview is with Honza Weber.
Hello Honza. How are you?
Hello, thanks for asking, I am doing very well. Just today I played foosball with Rippin`s friend, who is like number 2 in the World and came here for the Czech Foosball Champs, so it was a great experience.
Let’s start at the beginning. You started playing footbag back in 2001. How did that happen?
Long story short ? I was lucky to be attending the same high school as couple of guys, who were the first ones to play in Czech. I was kinda shy back then to ask them if I can join their circle, so I was just watching them and started playing some time later with my classmate and after 2 months I was better than those guys, which was great feeling ?
And then next year you got 2. at euros and the year after that 4th at worlds. How was it attending your first worlds?
Ye, it was astonishing! I was really really happy about my 2nd place at Euros 02 in Budapest, it was a huge success for me because the competition was just so tough that year- all the german players came as well as the Finns, simply amazing tournament and experience.
Actually my first Worlds attendance was also in 02 in San Francisco, but I was eliminated in the semis. I had good routine and was quite in shape, but I was just unexperienced and there was some mess up with the schedule, so I had to go on the stage without warming up and I did not do well ? The next year I came a lot stronger with better style and routine, but knee injury held me back. Actually I figured out I had still been unexperienced and just practiced too much during couple weeks before the tournament. I still should have been 3rd because my routine was just a lot better and harder than Yacine`s who was actually 3rd. I guess I would not care that much, but since it was first big tournament in my home city, where my friends and parents could see me, I wanted a podium finish which I deserved, but the judging was very sad and disappointing for me..
What where your goals and thoughts on the sport in those early years?
I was just so obessesed with the sport! I wanted to compete, to go to every tournament, to win as much as possible, to beat the best players, to prove I could also be one of the best, to invent new moves, to make videos and DVDs, to leave legacy, to be remembered! It was just unbelievable! Wonderful time, but a lot yet to achieve..
You, Ales and Vasek really blew up back then. How was your relationship, was it friendly competition? In what ways did you influence each other?
Well, occasionally we had some fights because we were young and silly, but overall we really supported each other and we were giving each other advices on routines and for example I chose them music and did the basic choreography for their doubles routine in 03 and also for their singles in 03 and 04 in Montreal. In return they helped me with my style and some moves I was not able to hit like eggbeaters, quantums and symposiums. I think the strongest relationship was between 02 and 04. We formed a great team and I really enjoy to remember those times!
Last year at worlds you looked in better shape than ever. Do you agree and why was that?
True, I was about to quit in the whole 2007 because I could not find any motivation and neither inspiration for the game and after another dissapointment with the results at Worlds 07 I was almost sure I was gonna quit, but decided to wait for another year and to think it through. I was kinda lost in the whole 08 and did not do well at tournaments and did not achieve much in other parts of my life, so I decided to make radical life changes. Instead of quitting I started to take it seriously, I lost 12 kilos in 3 months and that helped my game a lot. I have also changed the attitude and you could have seen the results during the summer in Berlin. This year I expect to be even much stronger in much better shape for the summer, but to be able to go to Worlds I still need to get some sponsor because it is just too expensive for us in Czech. So if anyone is interested…? 😉
Now, back to the future. How does an average day in the life of Honza look like?
Well, I usually wake up at 8 and immediately go to check my email, which wakes me up even more. Then I have a cup of coca or mint tea with honey ? I do not really eat in the morning, so after the morning beverage I start to either work on some articles for the school lessons (I am doing masters in economic policies and history) or when I have time I work on some footbag promotional materials- I am trying to put together some professional material for potential sponsors, which is actually a lot of work if you want to do it properly. After the lunch I go to school for couple hours (I am just sooo happy I managed to schedule all the lessons in the afternoon, so I do not have to wake up early ? ) When I get back I usually go to kick and workout and then I have a dinner. I watch the news in the evening and then it depends how tired I am. Sometimes I still do some work to school or for the promotion or I just watch a movie and fall asleep ?
What part of your game are you working on right now?
Actually I am not really trying to practice new moves or combos anymore. Instead I have just been practicing some cool moves, which look good for the audience, trying to hit the normal stuff with big bags I have for demos (either the glowing bags or juggling bags I got from Peter Irish). Lately I have been also practicing freestyle with football because people demand it during the demos. Of course I still go for a normal session, but I just enjoy the stuff I can already hit and just trying to make it cleaner with better style. Style is everything! When 2 people are doing the same it is definitely not the same! I wish people could understand that and stop trying to hit insanities with no style and execution.. :/
In the video above you play in the new Nucleus shoe. What do you think about it?
Ye, actually I was quite surprised by the quality of the shoes. I was a little skeptical when I saw the first pictures, but since I tried them and my heels did not come out of the shoes after landing some moves just like in Quantums I was quite impressed ? In the video I managed to hit some new moves and fresh combos, which I was satisfied with considering I have not really played the first 2 months of this year due to the injury and I just started playing more often before Todexon. Also it was just second session I had in the shoes. I guess I will still keep playing in lavers because I am just so used to them, but I can recommend Nucleus as a solid footbag shoes. They might also help to improve style and execution as well, which I find the most important!
Could you talk a little about what place footbag have in your life right now?
After the decision to get back to the game is footbag very big part of my life. I found a way how to enjoy the game much more and the new footbag generation inspired and for example it is quite a big motivation to keep up with guys like Milan. Especially Milan because after Vasek got more interested in freestyle football these days Milan became the best player in the World. I can now see the disagreeing faces of many ?, but without any doubts or questions he is the best player at the moment! His stamina is magnificent, his execution is spectacular and the combos are just insane! That is actually why we teamed up for doubles this year ?, so hopefully we will be able to find time to prepare nice and solid routine.
If you could change one thing in footbag what would it be?
It is so hard to pick just one thing. I would love to have professional judges in the sport, but I would also like the sport to be more famous with better acceptance from the general public, which would probably bring more professionality. More mature people with organising skills could help as well. On the other hand it is hard to guess what would be the consequences of that.
It is very hard question, however I would probably want the sport to be more commercial and we will see what would happen ?
Thanks to Honza Weber
Interview by Asmus Helms