Because I know most of you are itching to hear how the game went I will first give you a recap of the game and then I will get into what was more interesting to me than the game… our travel experience. We won 3-0 and I scored all 3 goals. It was really exciting. We played the same team that we played in our last game, FC Klubanochka. The field was a lot bigger than our field, which I think suited our style of play much more than a small field. The first two goals were header goals and the last was off a long ball that I was able to beat the goalie with my first touch and had an open goal to pass into. It was really exciting. I only played about 70 minutes this game, which was a good break because we have our next game on Monday in the Russian Cup again!!
I remember at UP we played on the East Coast once or twice and we left a good 2-3 days before to ensure the travel didn’t play a role in our performance… I can say now that there are ABSLUTELY NO EXCUSES for travel playing a role in performance. You just need to be ready to do anything for 2 hours of your day. Everything else can just be thrown to the side… I don’t care how tired you are… just get yourself ready for those 2 hours and then you can figure everything else out after. That is, after all, the reason you are traveling that far… to win. And that is exactly what we did… hope we can keep it up!!
But, now to the more interesting stuff… our travel experience… So, we played Thursday at 4 and here was our travel itinerary for that…. Again, I feel quite deceived by the information I received about the travel time because I thought it was a 13 hour train ride… it was actually 19 hours.
We left Voronezh at 12:30 on Wednesday afternoon. We got to the train station where we were given our compartment assignments and a bag of random food to share between the other person we were sharing a compartment with. I was sharing with Simone, the Brasilian girl. We were assigned to beds 26 and 28… so when we got there we were delighted to find we had the top two bunks over two elderly Russian women (Babushkas) who had been traveling for quite sometime already, we could tell by the pungent, stifling aroma coming from the compartment.
For our pregame meal we were given some ramen noodles and bread, a whole cucumber and tomato each, a piece of cheese, and some salami. Luckily for me Simone didn’t like cucumbers or tomatoes so I ate hers and brought a yogurt. So my pregame dinner was 2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, a piece of cheese and a yogurt (apparently, it worked wonders!).
We got our beds all made up and tried to fall asleep in our little area. We arrived at 630 AM on Thursday. Upon waking, the only reason I knew we were still in Russia was because of the abundance of patched together houses, fenced in and broken buildings, trash on the ground and unpaved roads, other than that I would have thought I had arrived in some beach town. We woke up to 85 degree, humid weather. It was like we left winter and arrived in summer. All of the plants had bloomed and it was sunny and warm. We got off the bus at 6:30 AM with sleep lingering heavily in our eyes and checked into a hotel for the day. We had a bite of breakfast (yogurt) and went to our rooms to get some sleep (without being rocked awake every hour at train stops). We slept until about 12 in the afternoon and then woke up to get some lunch (yogurt) and get ready for our game at 4.
At this point I had some coffee to ensure my eyes wouldn’t close as we left for the game… Then we got on a hot bus and left for the game. In a large bus we drove down some tiny and bumpy dirt roads to get to a small hidden field, which turned out to be the WRONG field. So, we had to get back on the hot bus and drive to the other side of town to make it to the right field with about 45 minutes left before the game. We rushed to get ready and warm up. Then we proceeded to dominate and win 3-0 to turn around get back on the bus.
This time getting back to the hotel was even MORE of a nightmare than the ride there… the traffic was so bad that we literally moved 2 blocks in 30 minutes. The bus was so hot and we were already so tired from the travel and game, plus we had to get back for our train ride home… so, we actually got off the bus with all of our gear and got on the street train car that was PACKED with people. We took the train car about 10 stops forward and then got off on a street that didn’t have many cars and took 4 different taxis to get us finally back to our hotel. We had to shovel in some rice and chicken as a post game meal and shower in 10 minutes, get back on the bus that, had now made it to our hotel, and head off for the train again.
The team waiting by from the street car... notice the stream of traffic next to us
The packed street car we piled onto
The bus ride was obviously a happy one!
The team waiting for some taxis
Piling into the taxis
Next game is on Monday as I said… keep posted!!