Friday I was asked to go as a representative of the Consulate to a youth hockey tournament being held in St Petersburg. The tournament has three teams from the United States so the consulate shows support in going. My job was to go to the opening ceremony. It was a non speaking role and there was interpreters there so it seemed like it was in my realm.
The event was pretty fun with some interesting things worth sharing. The first big thing is I meet Vladislav Tretiak. For those not familiar he was the goalie for the Soviet Union on the national (Olympic) team. He played in the Olympics from 1972 to1984. The only year he did not win the gold was the year of the infamous miracle on ice. He was the goalie pulled at the end of the first period. He was one the guys we all grew up hating and dreaming of beating when we became famous hockey players. My oh my how the world has changed since then. He seemed like a nice guy. Granted I didn't have any lengthy conversations with him.
The second in true Russian fashion. There was a small luncheon after the opening ceremonies. One gentlemen offered me wine. I used some of my limited Russian to say no thank you. Then he proceed to say something to the gentlemen sitting next to me. This second gentleman looks over at my place setting and starts pouring me a glass of vodka. Clearly between them they decided that if I didn't want wine then I must want vodka.