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Postcards from Prague : All Apologies

by Todd Walsh / Arizona Coyotes
As I always say, when in doubt, look to Wikipedia!

Your Honor, we offer the People’s Exhibit A:

Eastern Europe is a region lying in the Eastern part of Europe. The term is highly context-dependent and even volatile, as there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region".

It all started so innocently. I was a bit melancholy when realizing that for the first and probably the only time in my life I would be just a few hours from the birthplace of my grandfather. As I wrote en route to Prague yesterday my father’s family hails from Warsaw, Poland. I call this “Eastern Europe.”

Well, upon my arrival to Prague today at the Coyotes first practice I started out by listening in on the local media and their coverage of the three Czech players on the roster.
There was female reporter standing next to me and she needed to get up front. I offered her my spot and asked what she might be asking of Radim Vrbata. She said that she was only asking one question about “what it means to be back, etc.” And then said, “Well, there is one other thing. I want to ask about how funny it is that people are saying that the Coyotes are playing in “Eastern Europe.”

I asked her how she heard that.
“I read it on a blog before I came here today.”

Uh oh.
“Somebody wrote about how the Coyotes are coming to Eastern Europe,” she chuckled.
Oh no. I asked her where we were. “This is Central Europe,” she proclaimed.

I asked if she at least liked the blog and if she understood that it was written from the heart. I was looking for sympathy and hoping to change the subject from geography to my family tree.

And, you can see how Radim Vrbata SORT of has my back. Kind of.

But I have to say in my defense that this has always been Eastern Europe to me. Or at least, as a child of the Cold War, part of the “Eastern Bloc.” Right?
Again, Your Honor, we’d like to employ Exhibit B, once again from Wikipedia:

Another definition, considered outdated by an increasing number of authors,[6][7][8][9] was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly Communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe.

But then as I continued to read on through Wikipedia my heart stopped.
Your Honor, we’d like to throw ourselves at the mercy of the court. I was born in 1964. There were some hardcore boundaries over here back then. I am too wrapped up in my own world and my own family tree to pay attention to them. That’s being the Ugly American if there ever was one.

I have created an international incident and all I wanted to do was give some props to my grand father.

Consider this Exhibit C and please have it in your heart to render this case “closed.”

Most Central European states had communist governments implemented during the Cold War but are currently EU members. In the post-Iron Curtain era, the label Eastern European is being increasingly regarded as derogatory in a Central European context.

Central Europe now consists of:
Czech Republic
East Germany (reunified, now Germany)

Or at least that’s what it says on Wikipedia. Now, about that “dry heat.”

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