Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Elephants' Banquet

Our last day together in Catania ended with the Elephants' Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the beautiful Manteca ristorante only about a one minute drive from Malibu. It was one last chance to see all the players, their wives, girlfriends and families again.

After the usual pre-game banter, we sat down to have an antipasto that was both delicious and huge. That was followed by a steady stream of all varieties of pizza that the house could make. To say we were satiated was an understatement of the largest order.

Davide, Daniella and Alessandro


Remember, Davide was our owner, General Manager, Head Coach and starting offensive tackle. He earned his way back for another shot in 2009!

The two of us just before we started to graze.

As I write this it is 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 17, 2008, our 37th Wedding Anniversary. We will spend the evening in Paris, it doesn't get any better than that on a day like this!

Thank you Laurie!

Three Rogue Elephants

Gianmarco, Renato and Mathieu. Four if you count Claudio mugging for the camera on the lower left.

Matteo Belfiore

GREAT GUY! It will be fun to coach with him again next season, what a gentleman!

The two most productive wide receivers in the IFL.

Claudio Mangano and Matt Epperson

Pitchers of Coca-Cola WITH ICE!

The Coke flowed endlessly! Check out the antipasto.

Offensive Firepower

Jason, Claudio, Matt and Gregorio

How many yards and TD's did these four account for during the campaign?

What is Gustavo doing in the background?

Elena and Gustavo

Elena just got back from about a month of attending English language classes in London, you can not believe how much better she speaks our language now.

The Defensive Secondary

Massimiliano Garipoli "But you can call me Smith", Cristian Di Mauro and Massimo Tribulato.

Goal number 1 for 2009 is to keep these three healthy for the entire season.

The Coveted Elephant Award

This is given to the Italian player on the team who was judged to have the best season. The Elephant has a football in his trunk and the wooden base is in the shape of the island of Sicily.

The Winner?... WR Claudio Mangano, who literally jumped out of his seat when his name was announced. I'm pretty sure he was happy.

Congratulations Claudio!

Defensive Co-MVP's

FS Cristian Di Mauro and OLB Gianmarco Pecoraro

Veteran Elephants were there too

Antonio Costarella, on the left,  is now a referee and will work as the Field Judge in this Saturday's Super Bowl.

Giovanni Reale is a guy I've been trying to get to come out of retirement to play just 2 goal line/short yardage plays per half all year long. No luck this year but I'm hoping he'll be ready to battle in 2009!

Fortunato, call me Lucky

Thanks for your friendship, hospitality and family!

The Cornerbacks

Both were rookies in 2008, now they will be veterans in 2009!

Marco Raino

Thanks for the leadership!

Mario and Fabio, a.k.a., "Foca"

Thanks for changing positions and filling in when and where we needed you on defense!


Mathieu and Giordana

Is it just me or do I really look that much better with these two close to me?

As a parting gift, Gregorio gave me a pair of his fashion conscious socks.

Giulio Romano... "I do not know."

He is so handsome that it makes me sweat.

"Roberta, PICK ME!"

Enrico Lombardo wants to play LB next year!

Look at that stance! Look at those eyes! Hell yes!!!

Together one last time

In a no-brainer, Matt and Jason were the Offensive co-MVP's.

Brandon got the Iron Man Award. As Davide said about our ONLY 100% two-way player, the Elephants played 11 games, Brandon played 22!


Let us just say that the 2008 Catania Elephant season was the experience of a lifetime. I gave Davide my commitment to return in February but this time he is forcing me to be the Head Coach of the Elephants for the 2009 season. Let the recruiting begin!!!

A final THANK YOU to the entire Elephant Family, you made all of us feel so welcome in Sicily!

I'll see you all in seven months!

Ciao ragazzi,


DPLassen said...

I knew you'd be going back. Guess I'm going to have to start trying to scrape together the money for a visit to Sicily in 2009.

Safe travels ... see you here in about a week.

EboRâguebi said...

"I giocatori di rugby gli atleti sono più intelligenti del mondo, che altro avrebbe il coraggio di giocare con una palla ovale"

Luis Manuel

eppy said...


It has been a pleasure to keep up with you and the Elephants via your blog and I cannot thank you enough for keeping us up on all the latest news and travels. I can truly say I could hardly wait to get home each and every day anticipating reading your latest. It was a pleasure meeting you while I was there and if you ever find yourself in Amarillo, please give us a call.

George said...


I'll see you later this week.


Si! I think...


No, it has been my great fortune to meet both you and Matt. What a great competitor!

George said...


Where do you live?

Do they play American football near you?

I love rugby.

Can anybody translate this for you?