Monday, October 20, 2014

Sporting Vladivostok (Again!)

Kristen says...

We really have done a lot of sporty things in Vlad recently...I feel like this will be a trend in Canberra, too, as from what I hear, Aussies enjoy the great outdoors...

I have had the great fortune to make friends with an American living in Vlad--an American who happens to be dating a Canadian who happens to play for the local KHL (think Russian NHL) team (the Vladivostok Admiral). The fortune is more that we have become friends (she's a fun person to hang out with) and less that her boyfriend plays hockey, as I'm not terribly fond of the sport (it ranks down with soccer and basketball for me--all three are so terribly boring, hockey and soccer because nobody ever scores, and basketball because everybody scores every trip up the court).

Still, I was very happy to take her up on her offer of tickets to yesterday's game, partly because I wanted to hang out, and partly because it is always fun to watch athletics in foreign countries, especially when the sport you are watching is as beloved as hockey is in Russia.

As you can see, we had really great seats, just behind the home team, and almost at ice level. It was a little hard to see what was happening on the far right side of the ice, but luckily our goalie was at our end for two of the three periods and since nobody scored until the shootout at the end (of course) we didn't really miss much at the other end, either.

The game started out with a rollicking song played on three violins, with the players dressed in sparkling white, red and blue:

and continued with key player introductions,

the (Russian) national anthem, and on with the game! Gooo Admiral!

My apathy about hockey makes sense when you realize that hockey isn't really a terribly popular sport in Iowa, even though in Des Moines there is an AHL team (the Iowa Wild, previously the Iowa Chops and Iowa Stars) and a Junior USHL team (the Buccaneers) who both have a very dedicated fan base...

Both of which have nothing on the fans of Admiral...
What you don't see in this picture are the fans waving placards or flags
To my knowledge, both Iowa teams are also lacking in cheerleaders (something I don't actually think is much of a loss, to be honest) and a drum corps (again, not a bad thing...)

And, I'm pretty sure they don't have a song proclaiming their name loud and long, either...

But they do have the Kiss Cam!
Good times! :)

As I said before, the game was, unfortunately, scoreless through three periods and a five-minute OT, but in the end, Admiral managed to pull out the W with three goals (as opposed to Hockey Club Sochi's 1)
Not this time, Hockey Club Sochi!
Maybe he was distracted by the cheerleaders??? 
The winning goal!

Somehow that translated to a final score of 1-0 (I really don't get hockey) and cheers all around!

I can't say I'm any more of a hockey fan after watching the game, but it was probably the best of all the games I have been to in my life...number 1 of 3 isn't too bad! :)


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sporting Vladivostok

Kristen says...

Happy birthday to my brother Timothy! :)

We have had a very busy September here in Vladivostok--traditionally (and this year proved no exception) the weather is at its best in September, so there have been many sporting activities planned to take advantage.

Last weekend was quite sporty for us, starting with watching our Oskaloosa Indians online in their homecoming football game in the morning, going bowling in the early afternoon and watching an AMERICAN FOOTBALL GAME(!!!) in the late afternoon/early evening. The sports continued for me on Sunday morning, with some fun Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

There is a chain of bowling alleys here called Fabrica [actually, where we used to live was less than 200 yards from one, and if we would have known how nice and not at all smokey the bowling alleys here are (remember going bowling and not being able to get that nasty smell out of your clothes? Not here! Whoo hoo!!)] and they are legit!

This definitely reminded me of our last weekend in DC before coming to Vlad!

Of course, there were some very Russian things about this bowling the tea menu:

The advertising was also hysterical...fake American/Bowling-themed brand produce on one end:

And (real?) Russian "be careful at work" posters on the other:

Ouch, right?!

Straight from bowling we went out to Russkiy Island to watch what was being proclaimed as the FIRST AMERICAN FOOTBALL GAME IN THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST!! We're not really sure about that, but we are sure that we got to watch a live American Football game in Vlad, and it was AWESOME!

Go Wild Pandas!! (Yeah, we're not sure why they chose the pandas, either...there are no pandas in Russia!) These were the guys who came to the Consulate to watch the Super Bowl with us earlier this year.
American Football in Vlad? You bet we'll be there! (Even in the rain!)
And the Pandas take the field!
This says: Wild Pandas, first American Football team in Primorskiy Krai
And here is the panda..I think his name is Po ;)
It was so legit, there were even cheerleaders...although I've never been to a football game with a sea view before :)
Pandas on the right, Legion from Khabarovsk on the left.
After the rain stopped it was a beautiful day in Vlad!

After an early score by the Legion, the Pandas dominated the rest of the game
It was so much fun to watch the game! Chris and I agree it felt like we were watching two well-matched high school teams, which is not at all a diss since we both really enjoy watching high school football.

The Pandas definitely had the upper hand as they have had the benefit of a former US college player who, after not being picked up during the NFL draft, has been playing in Moscow for the past few years. It was fun to watch the plays being implemented by the team, it really made a difference!
They have clearly been watching American football...they even remembered the "Gatorade dump" at the end!
 There were a few major differences in this game to the American Football Chris and I are used to...for one, there was no kicking of the ball, at kickoff (although there was a coin toss), no field goal possibilities, no punting, no extra points after a touchdown (there were no goal posts!!) They also didn't really keep track of time, so the game did feel like it went on a bit longer than it needed to, especially since the score was SO one-sided.

Still, all-in-all we enjoyed it tremendously, and hope the team will play again sometime was just so great to watch American Football live again!

Sunday's yoga practice went well. It's amazing to me, as I practice with different teachers in different places, how different each style of practice can be. Here I do Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, and it is amazingly physical...and fun!
See, doesn't that look fun? ;)