Written by Aidan Lowe, a Clemson University Sophomore
Our Russian classmates refer to it as “physical training.” We call it “sport.” Whichever name you choose to use, it is our two hours of physical exertion that occurs every Thursday from 10 AM to noon in the main administrative building of MSAU. This class allows us Americans to show off our athletic prowess, or lack thereof.
Sport started this semester with humble beginnings. The first Thursday that we had this class, no one was there to unlock the closet that contained the equipment. Unfortunately, “Can you unlock this closet that contains the soccer ball” was not part of the vocabulary list that we learned those first few days of Russian class. So we decided to make the best of what measly equipment we had: two medicine balls. We spent two humorous hours standing in a circle, passing the weighted balls back and forth. Considering they each weigh about ten pounds, it was a sufficient workout.
Each week, we get to choose between basketball, volleyball, or running. Although we generally stick to shooting free throws or playing “Horse,” this past week we decided to mix it up a little bit.
We met at our usual 9:40 AM and began the twenty-minute trek through the slush to the gym. The crisp March air provided a good wake-up jolt as I had rolled out of bed a mere ten minutes earlier (who wakes up early to get ready for sport?). We were true “fashionistas,” outfitted in our usual blatantly American gym clothes consisting of brightly colored sweatpants and white tennis shoes. We arrived at the exercise room and all started the morning off right with a few brisk laps around the perimeter of the gym.
The guys grabbed the basketballs and alternated between playing “Around the World” and “Let’s try to hit the girls with basketballs as they run around the track.” After the first hour that we decided to try out our latest genius idea: speakers. This past week, we decided to spice sport up a little bit by borrowing the classroom speakers and plugging them into one of the iPods. Our theory was that running laps around the gym would be more appetizing if we had tunes.
We searched on Malisa’s iPod until we found the Beach Boys’ Greatest Hits. Then we grabbed the volleyball and decided to give it a try. I could almost imagine I was on some beach—the sun was shining through the window, it was approximately eighty degrees (the heat system in the gym seems to have two settings: OFF and STIFLING), and we were jamming to “Surfin’ USA.” The teams consisted of Malisa and William versus Chris and I. It appeared that we picked the teams based on volleyball skills: Malisa and William were essentially Misty May Trainor, and Chris and I had each played volleyball… several years ago… and were about as natural to the sport as fish out of water.
It soon became apparent why I was cut from the middle school volleyball team. Malisa and William sent perfect serves our way. At first, Chris and I tried to return them with actual volleyball techniques. We soon resorted to “just hit the darn ball any way you can,” using our arms, legs, and even a head or two. It was a good thing that the windows had guards, or we would have broken a few during that game. We did not keep score, but Chris and I would have clearly won—if you were judging based on creativity.
Also in this Issue...
- Mowgli by Chris Olvey
"This ballet was inspired by “The Jungle Book,” written by Rudyard Kipling, which reminded many of us Americans of the Disney movie we watched in our childhood. The ballet was held at the Kremlin Palace right next to Red Square. "
- Lions, Tigers, and Clowns — Oh My! by Malisa Manning
"My boat shoes, which have no traction on the bottom, provide for excellent slippage, poor moisture resistance for the slush, and also have no insulation for when it’s cold. Blaise opts for a pair of Adidas sneakers, which also have the same poor characteristics of my boat shoes."
- Everything is Bigger in Russia by William Nelson
"The Moskovski Company operates the second largest greenhouse complex in the world... covers an area of 148 acres."
Issue Photographer: Malisa Manning
Issue Reviewer: Blaise Nicklas
Written by Chris Olvey, a Clemson University Junior
I know that ballet is not as popular in the United States as it is in Russia, and also not very popular with myself, but I really think that we had a treat this week when we went to see the ballet, Mowgli. This ballet was inspired by “The Jungle Book,” written by Rudyard Kipling, which reminded many of us Americans of the Disney movie we watched in our childhood. The ballet was held at the Kremlin Palace right next to Red Square. It was really a sight to see, the Palace had a huge theatre, the biggest I have ever been in, and at the top was a ballroom with a beautiful wooden dance floor.
If there was anything more impressive than the Kremlin Palace itself, it was the fact that the ballet was conducted by a sixteen year old. Mowgli was composed and conducted by Alex Prior, a sixteen year old who has written more than 40 pieces of work in his life thus far. All of us agreed that it was a great performance, between the dancers and the music. We enjoyed
the ballet far more than we ever expected we would. [Webmasters Note: An article about this special performance the students atteneded can be found in the Moscow Times.