Saturday, December 19, 2009

A "Cultural Event"? 12/20/09

A "Cultural Event"?
Weather -- snowing steadily for the past 4 hours
Temp -8 F Wind - Calm

Last Saturday night our zone went to the hockey game featuring a preliminary-league championship match between the Novosibirsk team and another city team (I never found out what city). This was for a place in the semi-finals. We traveled by taxi with Sasha and Lena Ozherelev to save Sister Simmons ears from the cold. (Oh, and the fact that she didn't want to walk about 1 1/2 miles from the end of the Metro.)
Sasha warned us about rowdy people and big crowds, but I have seen more drunks and rowdy people at the Pig Bowl in Sacramento, a football game between the Sacramento Police and Sheriff Departments, than at this game. It actually was very normal, sort of like an NBA game on ice. There was only one injury, caused by a hard "check" into the boards and a short shoving match that was quickly broken up by the referees.

The game started like your standard NBA or NFL game with the National Anthem. Just like shouting "Play Ball", they shouted something at the end and the game was on. We (Sister Cindy and I) actually enjoyed the game although the only part I really understood was when a goal was made and everyone stood up and cheered. Actually, I guess I didn't understand that either because I missed a goal scored by the other team. After we (now that I'm a fan it's "we") scored a second goal I looked at the scoreboard above the dancing girls (whom I didn't actually look at of course), saw the score was 2 to 1, and asked when the other team had scored. Sasha said that no one supports the other team so it went unnoticed.

To me it was like Tennessee Ernie Ford's attempt to describe his first football game (you had to have been there). They skated up and down the ice, batting the puck around, knocking one another down occasionally, and generally wearing themselves out for several minutes and then the referee would blow his whistle, everyone stopped what they were doing and they started the game again at one of the little circles painted on the ice.

One time, something wrong happened, everyone had to leave the ice, and one of our guys (notice the possessive) got to shoot at the goal all alone without any opposition. I guess that's like a free throw in basketball except the hoop doesn't have a goalie. Anyway, he missed and the crowd whistled. I'd have thought they would be upset, but they all whistled and cheered him. Boy, that was confusing to me!

The stadium was full of uniformed security and military personnel, presumably to keep order. I was surprised to see soldiers stationed around the railings looking appropriately stern and professional, although most of them were under twenty and weighed less than 150 lbs. I have never seen so many skinny soldiers in my life. Together with the 50 or so police, they kept the lid on things quite well.

We saw a lot of families at the game and many with young children. One set of grandparents in front of us had a girl about 7 and a boy about 9 with them. The grandmother was always fixing the hair decorations of the granddaughter and the grampa was frequently headed to the snack bar for some more food. I tried to get a good picture of their family, but I could never catch the kids still enough to get them in focus.

They sold the usual "spirit" stuff for our team in the snack bar area like the usual banners, noise-makers, hats, number 1 fingers, viking helmets (I guess that's our mascot) and neck scarves (very practical) that were waved like banners when we did something good.

All-in-all, I thought it was a great "cultural event" and a lot more interesting than Swan Lake for the 5th time. I would like to see that Folkloric show we saw last year. The singing, dancing, singing, dancing, and singing were really terrific and very Russian. I hope to be spared another episode of Swan Lake for the next four months.

What a country.

PS--We won 2-1.


Carol said...

Great post, great pictures, great video. Looks like you all had a great time!! But I was wondering......who won the game?

Shannon said...

this sure beats all. it will continue to bring a smile to my face as I reflect on the fact that mom was at a hockey game. didnt think that day would come. way to be cultured;)

Trisha said...

I love all the culture that you are getting. Love the fact it wasn't Swan Lake. Loved to see the people in the video. Keep it coming.

Bob Steed said...

So, Sister Cindy at a hockey game. I am glad you took pictures. I know she is always up for an adventure!

Did you buy a Number 1! finger or anything fun?

Anonymous said...

I was taking a class in Ontario, Canada and was living in Los Angeles at the time. During class we were talking about living in California and someone said they didn't like LA because the stole Wayne Gregsky. I responded asking "Who is Wayne G?" The entire class came out of their seats and in unison said, "You don't Wayne Gretsky!" The next day many of the class members brought news clippings of their hockey hero who had joined the LA Kings Hockey team. Hockey is a very serious sport in winter climates. It is the only spectator sport that holds my interet - I can see why you became a "we" to be part of the team. Fun, but Swan Lake is romance. Grace and feathers verses grace and a puck!

Anonymous said...

That was not anonymous - it was Lelia - not sure how that happened - Merry Cristmas from South Dakota via Colorado where I am playing with grandchildren and their parents. Lelia