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Traditional Russian Sports, Part 2
February 8, 2014 14:13


Lots of internationally popular modern sport games had their local versions rooted in Old Russian traditions. Some of them survived, others were partly revived and transformed beyond recognition.   

 
Klyushkovanie (Bandy)
 
Today this sport is known under three names: Russian hockey, ball hockey, and bandy. Our ancestors played this game from the 10th century. It has a big variety of names in different areas of Russia: zagon, pogonya, svinka, sharenie, kotyol, kozii rog, klyushki, etc. In the early 18th century ball hockey was played almost everywhere, and these games always attracted crowds of spectators. The number of players in a team was strictly limited. Peter I brought iron skates from Holland and Russian hockey players started using them first.
 
Klyushkovaniye is a no less spectator sport than hockey, or football. There is probably a chance to see bandy at the Olympic Games 2018.
 
Pekar’ (Baker)
 
A small circle is drawn on the ground and a can is put in the centre of it. Players measure steps from the can and draw a few lines. Each player finds a long stick. They select “the baker”, who also holds a stick and mount guards over the can. Other players try in turn to knock the can out of the circle. If the stick does not get the can it is left where it fell down. The next player throws a stick. When, at last, someone hits the can “the baker” needs to put it back in the centre as soon as possible. At the same time others rush to get hold of the sticks. As soon as the can is fixed “the baker” with his stick starts driving other players away from their sticks. Whomever he touches cuts out. Those who managed to pick up the stick run to the next line. If “the baker” forgets the can, the one who already lifted a stick, can again knock the can away. Then “the baker” has to set it back right again. When all the sticks are picked up, the game goes on. 
 
 
Konyashki (Little Horses)
 
Konyashki is an Old Slavic version of polo. The difference is that there are people instead of horses, hands instead of mallets, whereas balls are replaced by other “riders”. Players are divided into two “armies”. Each “army”, in turn, consists of “riders” and “horses”. Traditionally girls were riders trying to keep on guys’ backs. The players’ challenge was to upset the balance of pairs in the other army. The pair that managed to stand longer became the winner. 
 
Vyshibaly (Dodgeball)
 
The Russian version of dodgeball is rooted in the epoch of the first Rurik dynasty. It appeared in military troops and then spread over to common folks and finally became one of kids’ favourite games. Nowadays Russia even has the Dodgeball Federation that participates in international competitions. Thus, Olympic champions in dodgeball might appear in a couple of decades here as well.
 
 
Stenka na stenku (Wall-to-Wall)
 
The so-called Wall-to-Wall, i.e. line fist fighting, which has remained till nowadays, was a very popular folk entertainment in Old Russia. It is a combat of two teams from 10 to several hundred people each. In olden times such battles happened to bring together more than 1000 people. Males from 16 to 60 years of age fought for the team spirit of power. The most massive line fights were traditionally arranged as part of the Maslenitsa (Pancake Week) festivities.
 



Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Sports in Russia Russian Games Russian Sports Russian Traditions  

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