Do you know what one of the first rules which was adopted back in 1863 when a group of crazy visionaries decided that one could not play the sport of fashion with the hand -excluding rugby- and therefore giving, the birth of football as we know it today? That it was universal, that is, that the 13 rules that were established at that time were so easy to apply that it could be played without restrictions anywhere in the world. Today, with the implementation of technology, that precept has been broken forever, but precisely that break with tradition leaves us bucolic images for football fans.
Today, there are two types of football: that of elite, a top-level sport where the best players in the world appear, with the most cutting-edge sports garments, biometric data that measure the athlete’s performance to the millimeter and cameras that capture every angle of the field of flashy stadiums; and the humblest football, the one that is played in modest stadiums, with a lawn that is not always in the best conditions and very far from the spotlights. But, many times, in this type of football we meet jewels that impress us sports lovers. The best example? Black Balog.
Cierny Balog is a municipality of the Slovak district of Brezno, in the Banska Bystrica region, and therefore Ciernom Balogu is the home stadium of the local team, the TJ Tatran Cierny Balog, one of the most humble categories in the country. But, in turn, it has the honor of being one of the most visited courses in Slovakia. The reason? It is a beautiful stadium located in the middle of the mountain … through which a train passes! No, no, it does not pass close, it crosses the middle of the field: between the stands and the grass, the tracks have been respected and maintain their initial layout. In fact, it is quite common for on game day he is seen crossing the field, to the delirium of fans and tourists.
But what is a train doing in the middle of a football stadium? The Ciernom Balogu is located located in full mountains Tratas, an area of great timber tradition. It was in the early years of the 20th century when it was decided to build a railway that would travel more than 130 kilometers through the local forests, with the aim, first, of transport wood around the area and, later, do the same with employees who worked in this industry. To this day, it has the honor of being the largest forest railway in Central Europe … and, without a doubt, the only one in the world that crosses a football field. But how is it possible?
It was in the early eighties of the last century when the authorities decided that the railroad will stop working, given that other types of transport were more effective for the industry in the area. It was a couple of months after this decision was made known that TJ Tatran Cierny Balog decided to build his humble stadium there, a field with a well-kept lawn, situated between small houses and mountains. Due to its own location and also due to the influx of public, it was only decided to raise a side stand for about 400 fans, a few meters beyond the tracks of that already disappeared train.
But what nobody expected is that, about to enter the 21st century, the local Executive decided to restart this narrow gauge train, yes, with only tourist reasons. It no longer made sense as a freight transport, but turning it into a playground for curious visitors could do the trick. After consulting with the local team, he not only saw it favorably, but also It seemed like a great advertising claim: not in vain, that’s how he became the the only football team in the world that could boast of having a stadium through which a train passes. But is it still working today?
In fact, not only does it continue to work, but passes the stadium four times a day, so it is quite common for the train to circulate while a match is being played. In fact, it has practically become a tradition and, therefore, a tourist attraction for football crazy people who want to see a unique show in the world. The club decided to respect the layout of the tracks and, now, this situation has allowed it to rise to world fame due to a characteristic that distinguishes it from the rest of the teams on the planet. Now, that road that reached 132 kilometers only has 17 … but enough to become the great claim of the Ciernom Balogu.