Thursday, January 17, 2008

Huge Breakthrough in Driving

Today, in the rain, I drove solo from the apartment in Aci Castello to the Elephants' office, i.e.,
NO GARMIN GPS ASSISTANCE, without a mistake!

Davide and Gustavo were shedding tears of joy for my incredible accomplishment. We had an expresso to celebrate, but enough about me already.

Practice last night was really a good one. We accomplished a lot of technique work in 90 minutes. I only had the DB's and Falcons to work with so we were able to tailor the teaching to their needs. Again, good listening skills, not afraid to hit, solid technique base to work with and a passion for the game. Saturdays and Mondays, by myself with all the defense is really hard in terms of individual teaching so these Wednesday and Thursday practices are crucial to player development.

I have to admit that on a practice field, anywhere in the world as it turns out, is a special place for me. It is just the very different and hard to explain part of my day where I feel the most relaxed and at peace. It is on these fields where for as little as 90 minutes or as long as three hours I can put away all the drama of the day and take a deep breath. I really enjoy the teaching of the game of football and the comradeship of people who have a love for the game. The Catania Elephants are making my day every time we practice!

Davide dropped the hammer last night and cut a few players. They were all younger players with little experience, some could not defend themselves well enough. Fortunately, the Elephants have a Junior team that plays during our off-season so these players do have a place to go and continue learning. None the less, I stayed far away from Davide's car after practice just in case of a possible car bomb, this is Sicily after all.

Another 90 minutes, 8:00 p.m. practice tonight at the University of Catania Astroturf site. Tonight's practice will stress individual techniques for the RB/OL/DL/LB groups. Since it has been raining all day and is supposed to continue tonight, we will find out who the real players are when they show up to practice under these conditions.

Tomorrow, Friday, Matt Epperson, today's picture, arrives in Catania and will live at the apartment with me for a few days until they finish furnishing his place. Matt and Brandon Bennett, our lineman from Willamette University, will eventually share a place in Catania close to the action. The married folk, Jason Johnson and I, will live out of the center of town in the sleepy hamlet of Aci Castello. O.K. it's only a ten minutes drive to Piazza Bellini and the night life one finds there but it usually does take 30 minutes to find a place to park.

Matt played his college football at Hardin Simmons University in Texas. He is a wide receiver by trade who will help in the secondary and return punts and kickoffs as well. This will be Matt's second season of European football, having played for the Kouvola Indians in Finland last season. From what I've gathered so far he will be a lot of fun to have on the team and in the town. I'm looking forward to finally meeting him.

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