Russia, mid-week

May 6, 2011

We’ve had pretty spotty internet here the last few days so posts have been few and far between.  In the meantime, though, we’ve been incredibly busy here.  Starting where I left off: the first Showcase game.

We played the Russian mens team Sunday night at the end of clinic.  Down to 7 functioning fish, we picked up three ringers (a Russian, a German and a Polish guy) and started on D in our sweet black coaching uniforms.  The details of the game are a little fuzzy, but the Russians scored on their first few possessions before the breaks started coming as we began cycling through our various d’s.  Trips and toolbox were both effective at containing their blistering and at times franetic pace in the backfield, and pretty soon the spectacular plays started happening.  Ben got a great d on a deep huck, Sam came up big with a layout past a handler and Tyler wowed the fans by adding an extra foot on his vertical to snag a swing before getting flipped and landing on his back.  The play of the game, though, seemed to belong to BJ who, with all eyes on him at the front of the stack in the endzone, spun one way and back the other for an easy open cut leaving his defender ten yards in the other direction.  Audible gasp.

When the game ended all both sides came away happy and the spirit huddle ran by Toli and Ben sent everyone home friends.  The fish took it easy Sunday night for the last day of clinic Monday and the promised post-clinic sauna.  Monday we introduced 4v3 warmup, zone o and d, and a score of other things.  Idaho and I ran through give and go triangle drills and various break-mark looks, another group worked on huck reading and deep cutting and off to another side campers powered through an unending serious of box of death matchups.

With the end of the full day sessions came relief, a massive food court at a local mall, Russian-American boat race relations (a dominant victory for the yanks, the first of many) and a long walk through high-rise suburbs to the Sauna.  Which was amazing.  We had a whole suite to ourselves and a crew of folks from the clinic with a hanging out and changing room, shower and dipping pool and the small wood, dry sauna which was cranked up to an insane 124 Centigrade when we first rolled in.  That’s hotter than I’ve cooked some dinners before.  Your nose hairs start singeing.  With a little water and a lot of Russian enthusiasm, Sockeye got into it (all but Skip who after one quick bake settled down and slept through the next four hours of chaos).