A member of the Young Reporters Programme came to a Bandy game. While the Russian girls were smashing the US team, the reporter noticed American supporters in the stands. Or, more specifically, a supporter. A very unusual one: she was cheering up for both teams at a time.
The pretty girl in the stand looked like she was not so much for Americans as for the friendship of the nations. She was enjoying the game, and two flags were waving above her head, Russian and American.
The supporter kept to herself with dignity and confirmed in the interview that she liked both teams.
– My name is Lena. It's hard to pick a team to support today. They both, America and Russia, live in my heart. So I said to myself that I would cheer for women’s power instead.
– Are you half American, half Russian?
– You could say so. I've got two countries and two homes in my heart. They say your home is where your heart is, and my heart belongs to both the West and the East.
– The West is losing. If so, is it worth supporting?
– Sure! Krasnoyarsk is becoming famous worldwide. Teams from 58 countries have come here, among them the US team. You have to come and cheer for everyone. The Russia national team is well supported because it is in its home country. But who will care for the other teams? I hope they would feel a little warmer with our support.
– What are your impressions of the Winter Universiade 2019?
– Great! We have already visited three Hockey games and are coming there again tomorrow. The organization is excellent. The only thing that hurt a little was that the flag wasn't allowed in because it was too big, three by a half meters. All the rest is really great! It's nice to see people walking to the stands. Volunteers are good too. Everything is so presentable that I am just beaming, feeling so proud of Russia.
During the interview, Lena was not looking at the ice arena. But if she had, her pride of Russia would have reached its peak: the hostesses of the ice left no chance for the Americans. The Russians smashed up their rivals who fought back bravely, yet unsuccessfully.
And after the game, the guests smiled, and you couldn't readily see why: whether they were overflowing with festivities or disguised their bitterness of the loss. On the other hand, the Americans managed to score, and you should have seen their joy at that very moment.
Abigail Canton, US team defender, confessed after the game: "I only started doing Bandy a few months ago. I like it a lot. It's amazing how nice it is to be here and get such a useful experience. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I try to feel every minute of my stay at the Universiade."
"And I've been into Bandy for four years now," said Elizabeth Cardinal, captain of the American team, as she skated up towards us. "And three of these four years I still acted as a referee. Yeah, I'm the first girl-referee in the US Bandy! Combining playing in the national team with the referee's work is great. Here in Krasnoyarsk, we get a game experience. And we are just enjoying our stay. We’ve been to the Stolby, wandered around Teatralnaya Square, visited a few competitions, made new acquaintances".
Then the US athletes were called in by their coach. We said goodbye and wished good luck to each other. And here's what I thought. One might think: where's America and where are we? Yet, we met in the heart of Siberia, said warm words to each other, parted with a smile... However, our smile was a little brighter, because the Russians beat the Americans today. But that's the sport, there's always a winner and a loser.