Here is attached my CV I wrote with Nancy in 2009 for the Harvard aplication purpose. Since than a lot of have changed…
I was born in a small town in the Czech Republic. My first memory is of being four and getting a kiss from my four year old girlfriend. I have one brother and we, along with three friends, spent our early childhood together playing, trying things out and making high jinks. One time we put a wallet on a thin fishing line and laid it in front of a pub door, and when people came out, saw it, and reached down to take it, we would pull on the line and make it disappear.
We were largely unsupervised and roamed about freely from the nearby forest to the neighborhood streets and each other’s houses. We even had a room in the village firehouse where we frequently made a fire, unbeknownst to the real firemen. In summer we spent a lot of time in a tree house which we had made and were also swimming and diving in the river. In winters, we ice-skated, skied and made igloos. This, having the freedom to initiate and explore with friends, informed my way of relating to others and my way of being in the world. In later schooling, our group gradually separated.
My parents always supported me and my brother in all activities we wanted to do. But they also never pushed us into something we did not want to do. My sports career started with our village soccer team when I was five years old. I was not the biggest talent but I had lots of fun and I was around my friends. I played soccer for seven years. I was also a scout and a junior fireman in our village.
In teenage years, I became interested in wild water canoeing, playing guitar and floor ball. My favorite school subjects became math and physics. This developed because I did not want to memorize but wanted to understand the physical phenomena of nature. In sports, my focus became wild water canoeing. By my first years in high school, I was practicing before and after school. Eventually, I traveled to several international competitions but my start was not easy. When my soccer season was over, at the end of winter, I decided to try canoeing. I spent one year on flat water. Then I had an experience that showed me how wild water works. I remember exactly the moment when, during usual training on our town’s river, a man whom I knew, came up to me. He used to practice when he was young. He was married, had a family, a job and he was pretty busy. But he took me to the wild water part of the river. I was honored because he was of the old school and he had not taught any kids before. He told me that you have to get over your fear and go through and ahead into the worst place. I trusted him and I did not turn over in my canoe, which for me, was a success.
And he also told me that there is not just one right way but that every time I have a choice to make my own way. This experience was a kind of initiation into adult manhood for me because I was afraid but I did not want to disappoint him. So I went into the wild water. And then I started to watch the water, every movement, and I tried to be aware of how my body, the canoe and the water were one thing, and I started to enjoy it. That day I was on the water until night. From that time, I started to practice hard. I traveled around our country looking for wilder and wilder water. I turned over and got wet a lot of times in wild water, having to swim and hold my boat and paddle, but I wanted to try every piece of wild water I could. That time, for me, was really exciting. I got much better, but the main thing was that I enjoyed it tremendously.
For two years I practiced on a double canoe with another friend who was my age. Our coach was my friend’s father and sometimes this was frustrating because he was not always impartial. We trained like dogs every day and we got on our country’s junior national team. This allowed me to travel all around Europe and also to come to America where we competed in the Junior World Championship Tournament in South Carolina. However, awards were less important to me than enjoyment and camaraderie with my teammates. In time, the competitiveness of the sport became disgusting to me and I decided to stop. My studies became more interesting and important to me and I decided to improve in them. Then, after a year, another friend and I decided to canoe again, but more for enjoyment. Ironically, we ended up competing and with much superior results. We spent a lot of time having fun instead of practicing hard. We had a lot of barbecues, made a lot of trips and enjoyed other sports. And finally, we won second place in the Junior World Wild Water Championship in Switzerland which was my highest achievement and the most fun competition.
One day I was discussing with this friend that it would be nice if someone could leave his usual life and do something that he would remember his whole life.