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Lacrosse Teams Face Off in St. Petersburg

Published: May 28, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • Local players train for the upcoming Capitals Cup on Saturday.
    Photo: Katya Savinskaya / for SPT

As the world prepares for this summers FIFA World Cup, two teams in Russia are gearing up for their own sporting showcase. The St. Petersburg White Knights and the Moscow Rebels, Russias only two lacrosse teams, will play each other in the Capitals Cup in St. Petersburg on Saturday to determine the champion of Russia.

Although largely unknown in Russia, lacrosse has rapidly grown in popularity in the United States, where it is considered the countrys oldest sport, and is gaining popularity around the world.

The game dates back to the 17th century, preceding American sports such as baseball and football by more than 200 years. Known as the little brother of war in some tribes, the sport earned the moniker of lacrosse from French settlers who thought that the sticks used looked similar to the crosses bishops carried.

As the game modernized, the rules and equipment followed suit. Instead of hundreds of people playing on a field miles long, the current rules allow for only ten men on the field for each team at a time. When played, it resembles a combination of hockey and football, both European and American, and is often called the fastest game on two feet.

This weekends showdown in St. Petersburg between the two clubs is also a preparation for the Moscow clubs players who will be traveling to Denver, Colorado, to play for the Russian national team in its first ever appearance at the Lacrosse World Championships this summer. Russia is in a group with Argentina, New Zealand and Wales, and they are scheduled to play each team once.

The fact that there is even going to be a team in Denver is largely thanks to the efforts of David Diamonon, the founder of the Moscow club, who was inspired to try and bring the sport to Russia after watching highlights of the 2006 World Championships.

However, various logistical problems, as well as some cultural differences, have hindered the development of the game in Russia. The biggest challenges are administrative, Diamonon said. Unlike in the U.S., where grass fields are more or less in abundance, Russia sorely lacks easily accessible playing fields.

Lack of equipment is also an obstacle, he said. If someone wants to play, and even shows up but cant easily get their own gear, its easy for them to lose interest while theyre waiting for an order.

Gene Arkhipov, head coach of the Moscow club, echoed Diamonon in bemoaning the lack of suitable infrastructure but also noted that there isnt any kind of system to develop young players in Russia.

In the states, each school has a team and people can play for free anywhere, Arkhipov said. There are leagues and by playing sports, people can achieve something or get a free education.

Despite such obstacles, Diamonon and Arkhipov are sure that given time, the sport will take off in Russia. Challenges notwithstanding, Russia is a country brimming with sports enthusiasts who are limited in their options, Diamonon said. Not everyone can be a star in soccer or hockey lacrosse provides a dynamic and worthy alternative to talented athletes who are looking for outlets outside of the Big Two.

Russia has incredible lacrosse potential, Arkhipov added. If we look at our youth programs in Moscow, and how they grow and how good the kids play and how natural it comes to them, the future looks bright.

This weekends matchup between the two teams is at 1 p.m. in Tavrichesky Garden between Chernishevskaya metro station and Smolny Institute.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, July 30


SPIBA continues their series of Look@It tours, which focus on the success stories of major brands in the St. Petersburg market. Todays event will focus on the Gorky Golf Club and will also be held there. For more details visit spiba.ru



Thursday, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Womens Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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