In the family of our heroine - hockey player Angelina Goncharenko - did not impose gender roles on children, did not prevent them from expressing themselves and choosing their interests on their own long before the conversation about gender-neutral education began to be widely and publicly discussed in the Russian-speaking space. We talked with Angelina about how she manages to combine sports with motherhood, about the stereotypes of hockey coaches and spectators, and along the way we found out how women's hockey differs from men's.
text: Alisa Popova
My parents had no prejudices, and I was very active since childhood, in such cases it is customary to say "kid." Once I saw that the boys were playing hockey in the yard, and I asked them to. They just wanted to send my cousin to the section - and in the end they gave both of us, but my brother left after six months. I liked playing with the boys, competing, and most importantly, winning. At first, my grandmother took me to all trainings, she also made an agreement with the first coach to take me, since girls in hockey were very rare at that time. My parents thought that I would work out for a week or two and finish: not everyone even succeeds in learning how to skate, let alone play. Many give up and leave without starting, but I was delayed. And in the end, I still play. As a child, I devoted a lot of time to hockey, often skipped school because of training, but I did not lag behind in the program.
I have a twin brother, he helped me to pull up my studies. When his brother was twelve years old, he was sent to football, but he did not really succeed, and soon he did not like it at all. Until the age of eighteen, I played for the boys' team, the boys in which were two years younger than me. I first learned about women's hockey at the age of eleven, when I saw the Tornado - SKIF match on TV. At school, I had few friends, I was just not interested in them, and as a teenager I began to mostly communicate with hockey players. In fact, at first glance, it is difficult to understand that a girl plays hockey, we are ordinary girls, nothing special.
I have come across stereotypes more than once: they didn’t want to take me to one of the Moscow hockey schools just because I’m a girl. That's what they told my parents: "We don't take girls, that's all." And although now almost everyone is used to the fact that girls in our country also play hockey, we still face criticism and condemnation on social networks. I often come across phrases that we should do the housework, stay at home, cook borscht and raise children. It seems that for many, this is where the role of a woman ends. Also, many people do not understand that women's hockey differs from men's in speed, thinking, and lack of power struggle. According to my husband, we hit the clubs better, because we play without power tricks. Our hockey is no worse and no better - it's just different. We do not spit on the bench, unlike the men. And we have all our teeth, because we have been playing in masks all our lives, this is spelled out in the safety rules. It is believed that none of the women would agree to risk their face and even more their teeth.
We have all our teeth, because we play in masks all our lives, this is spelled out in the safety rules
People often resent that we are not yet as strong as Canada and the United States. If we lose with a score of 0: 5, we are very judged. No one bothers to look at the history of women's hockey in Russia: he is only twenty years old at most. Yet our country has made a big leap forward in women's hockey, and I hope that soon we will be able to compete for the first places.
My husband is also a hockey player, and we see each other very rarely, we usually spend 2-3 summer months together, and the rest of the time we have constant trips, either at his or at my place, and rarely fly to visit each other.My husband and I were planning a pregnancy and were very happy when it happened. He comes to us with a child when he can, but mainly we communicate via video link. If I had any fears about whether I would be able to combine motherhood with hockey, my husband helped to quickly dispel them. Returning to hockey after the birth of a child was not so difficult, since I spent most of my pregnancy actively. Three months after giving birth, I began to train at home, five months later I went to the gym and began to prepare myself for the ice, seven months later I went out on the ice, and after eight I played my first games in the Russian Championship.
Now the hardest thing for me is to leave the baby for the duration of the trips. It gets harder with each trip. When I am in training, a nanny helps me, and my grandparents come to travel, I am very grateful that they always respond, despite the fact that they live in another city. My main goal now is to achieve the highest awards in hockey, combining it with motherhood.
I love hockey for many things, like traveling. It's great to be in different countries and cities, to see the differences in cultures and mentality. I like to constantly be in a team and communicate with people who understand me. The team is really one big family. I love this sport for excitement and adrenaline. When your team wins it is an indescribable feeling, very cool. But I understand that sport does not last forever, so I try to look for other hobbies too.