Friday, February 8, 2008

About Ice, Rain, Mantras and Italian Designer Clothes

CHASING LUIGI: 35 days and still counting barely.
LAURIE IN ROMA: 20 days and really counting!
After our usual morning in the Elefanti War Room, we ate a light lunch at a place called Margi for one reason only…they serve ice with their sodas! This is the only place we have found that does this act of kindness for the tourist trade. It was a big hit and it is located within walking distance of Brandon and Matt’s apartment, sales will soon be booming.
While we were eating, a very large storm front moved into Catania complete with thunder and lightning. The boys are close to running out of clean clothes and still do not have a washing machine at their place. So, being the domestic goddess I’ve evolved into (are you listening Laurie and Koreen), I offered to take their laundry to our house and wash it for them. Of course I required them to separate them into a pile of lights and another of darks! Just a reminder that here we have a washing machine that takes two hours to do one load. Also, since we Sicilians don’t own dryers we have to hang the laundry on a clothes line which takes the better part of a day to dry. With the rain storm this chore might last awhile. Look on CNN for two Americans being arrested for going commando in Catania in the next few days.
Tonight I reached new heights driving solo, in the rain, at rush hour in Catania. Everything has doubled and the stakes can really change! Behind the wheel I am now all about speed and intensity! Catania and Aci Castello are both coastal cities at the base of a very large volcano, Mt. Etna. As a result all the water from the storm runs down into the coastal road to our condo. The possibility of hydroplaning excited me greatly but didn’t happen.
Random Thought of the Day: In the early 1960's, Bear Bryant was building his first powerhouse team at the University of Alabama, officially the Red Elephants by the way. He had a linebacker who's name I can't remember, that was extremely physical. Legend has it that the Bear would not allow him to scrimmage for fear of his hurting other players on his own team and instead had him just jog around the practice field for the entire practice. I think Brandon, our offensive tackle, is quickly becoming the Italian version of this legend. 
As near as we can tell Sicilians are still somewhat traumatized from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. The residue of the film is that our friends have a morbid fear of melting should they be caught in the rain. Thus the street life was curtailed greatly and we decided not to go out after practice for once. Once at home, I made a meal of veal cordon blue patties cooked in extra virgin olive oil with a dash of lemon juice to bring out the rich flavor of the veal. Of course we had some fruit and a small pizza as well. Throw in a half bottle of red wine and we were done for the evening.
“Che Buona Sera Da Giocar Football Americano!” In 1970, my first year of coaching, our J.V. team at Thousand Oaks H.S. started the season 7-0. Our eighth game was played at Hueneme H.S. in a driving rain storm and we lost. The rain really got into our players heads. I vowed to myself to never let a team ever let weather conditions affect them mentally again. As a result here in Italy at the start of every practice I yell the Italian phrase above, which translates into “What A Beautiful Night To Play American Football!” About a week ago, 30 minutes into practice on a cold evening one of the players said “Coach is it a good night for American football?” I had forgotten to say it and he needed to hear it so of course I obliged him and yelled out the catch-phrase. Tonight it poured at practice but I reminded them about the beauty of the evening and we got through it just fine.
“Elefanti Mai Stanchi!” This is our other mantra, “Elephants Never Get Tired!” Obvious but an effective mental tool for our little blue cars.
The blue car reference is to a philosophy of Jason’s grandfather, Hall-of-Fame coach Frosty Westering of Pacific Lutheran University Fame. If you want to know what it means buy one of his books. He’s retired now, could use the extra cash and you could use a good book to read!

It’s ALL About Style: The final thought of the day is the answer to the burning question about what the well dressed Italian football player will be wearing this season. One of our linebackers, Fabio Russo, a.k.a. Foca (The Seal), has his own line of clothing and decided to model for our collective consideration one of the latest looks from his spring collection at tonight’s practice. SMOKIN’!
It’s 12:41 a.m., the streak is alive and I’m going to bed early for once after I check the laundry. CIAO!
Buon giorno! It was still raining on our way to the Elefanti War Room, traffic was jammed on our usual route so we took a side street that turned intro a great shortcut. Every cloud in Catania does have a silver lining as it turns out. I hope we can find the new path again.  


DPLassen said...

So ... In light of the rather dubious functionality of Italian washing machines, are you going to have to rethink your bad-weather practice of having players roll around in the mud before the game so they don't worry about getting dirty?

sheriff28 said...

drying clothes in the sun is more hygenic(sunlight sanitizes the fibres of the fabric)and convenient(it's free and makes clothes softer to the touch)than drying them in the dryer.
At least this is what my grandma used to say

Laurie said...

I am glad someone else remembers that night at T.O.H.S. What some people may not realize, is that when George had the team "warm up" he did it with them -- and split his pants!

Ah, the good old days.

Mrs. G.W. Contreras

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