Russia, mid-week part 2

May 12, 2011

Tuesday was billed as our first day of tourism but in reality it was consumed by two things: recovering from the sauna night and registering with the police (about a two hour ordeal of endless paperwork all done by our amazing Russian friends Timur, Tanya and Kate).  By the time those were done it was straight to the fields for a two hour pod with while Sam and Skip met a group of captains and coaches in a classroom to talk about team strategy and building.  Outside, the weather finally broke and the rain was hard and muddy.  BJ powered through it to run a set of Zen throwing exercises cribbed from Ben before we talked about the long game and ran some hucking drills.  Done at nine, we sprinted from the fields in torrential rain and headed home.  Meanwhile, Skip and Sam talked forever.  They went through an entire season of putting Sockeye together from tryouts to tournament preparation and held the audience until 11pm.

Wednesday was better and some of us finally got to enjoy Ramon’s carefully planned cultural itinerary with a trip through Arbat Street and a boat journey along the river giving spectacular views of the Kremlin and other buildings.  The field contingent, BJ, Aaron and I, headed to the field early to do some planning for the day and found twenty campers already there playing 4v3  and throwing around an hour before clinic began.  They’d taken to the fun warm-up and were jumping in and moving the disc faster than on the weekend.  The pod workout went smoothly and energetically with BJ leading some of Idaho’s sprint progressions me taking over the Shadow Marking and a recap of Hollywood squares.  Afterwards we headed home to get the recap of Spencer and Idaho’s strange evening experience with a group of PE teachers who had never seen ultimate before in their lives.

Thursday we finally rallied as a team for some site-seeing, following Ramon to Moscow State University.  Housed in one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters skyscrapers, it’s a spectacular sight and has to be one of the biggest university buildings in the world.  From the top you get panoramic views of Moscow and the Olympic Stadium while surrounded by a museum of natural history and an interesting assortment of Soviet era furnishings and decorations.

That night we met for the final pod of the week, a focus on throwing, marking and watching BJ kick ass in a break mark redemption drill.  Thunder and lightening rolled in shortly after, though, and we had to call the session early and head to the mall for an hour of food, drink and question/answer sessions with all the Sockeye in attendance.  From there, we rolled to the Tequila / Cinco de Mayo party.