Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Final Notes on a Scorecard


I pondered life and last Sunday's Palermo Corsari game while viewing the Ionian Sea.


I NEED a row boat!

Matt on the left, watches Master Chef Brandon work his magic!

Final Statistics from The Matthew Epperson Show’s tour stop in Palermo last Sunday to play against the home standing Corsari:

SCORING:

5 TD’s, 1 two point conversion = 32 points

OFFENSE:

Pass Receiving: 11 catches, 209 yards, 3 TD’s

Rushing: 1 carry, 3 yards, 1 two point conversion

KICK OFF RETURNS:

2 Returns, 155 yards, 2 TD’s, Long of 80 yards

DEFENSE:

Matt led the team in Total Tackles with 8, all were First Hit Tackles including

5 Tackles for losses = -18 yards

1 QB Sack = -9 yards

Matt did a very poor job bringing the water out to his beleaguered and sometimes broken teammates during timeouts! THERE IS JUST NO EXCUSE FOR SUCH A TRANSGRESSION OF TEAM ETTIQUETTE ON MATT’S PART!!!

SIDE NOTE: Over the 38 years I’ve coached football, I have had the pleasure of coaching athletes that have gone on to play at schools like USC, Arizona, California, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Washington State, San Diego State, Colorado, Kansas, Colorado State and San Jose State amongst others. Two of our young men went on to play in the NFL, Gary Wellman (5 years as a WR with the Houston Oilers) and Scott Fujita (entering his 7th NFL season as an OLB now with the New Orleans Saints after stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys). As good as all these players were and as much as I’ve enjoyed coaching all of them, I’ve never coached anyone who had the all-around game that Matthew Epperson displays every week in games and at practice. Some major college and pro people really missed the boat on this kid! It’s just my opinion of course.

Monday and Tuesday are physical rest days for the Elephants although Jason worked on the Palermo Game DVD including making another highlight clip that will be up on his blog soon, check it out, it’s worth the price of admission! As for me, I worked on extracting the Defensive and Kicking Game Statistics from Jason’s DVD.

Brandon and Matt came over for dinner last night. We provided the meat and adult beverages while they brought the pasta and Brandon did the cooking. Brandon may have a future as an Italian chef someday! GOOD TIMES INDEED!!!

It was a relaxing evening that included conversations about a wide gamut of topics ranging from God, religions and the Bible for 100 please Alex, to Carravagio, football war stories, Italian cooking techniques, how to improve our tackling, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Corsari game, the Italian train system’s Ancona to Catania run and pretty much everything in between. Of course we watched the Corsari game DVD at about 2:00 a.m.

Tonight we’ll have a team meeting at 8:00 p.m. in the Elefanti War Room to watch the Corsari DVD as a team and start preparing for the Ancona Dolphins game this Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in Catania’s Stadio Santa Maria Goretti.

Life in Malibu continues to be a daily overdose of fun, food, good natured teasing and friendship.

Monday, April 28, 2008

IFL Web Site Translations


I am constantly teased about my use of Spanish-English-Italian (SpEngIt?). I am trying but I felt a lot better about myself after both Gayle Hicks and David Lassen e-mailed me about the IFL web site's English translation of yesterday's action.

Read on and tell me what you think. I am sure this is what I sound like to my Italian friends...SORRY!!!

Sunday 27 April 2008 "One game practically perfect delivery one Victoria important to the Giants Bolzano against the Acufon Lions Bergamo 34-3 in the big match of the fifth day of the IFL. Able heads of household to go to single sign with a field goal against one defended indeed unsurpassable, well instead the attack of Bolzano with the usual Reggie Greene between the protagonists. The numerous absent between the rows of the natives of Bergamo are not enough sure in order to explain a round defeat therefore against a direct adversary for the summit of classify. Great test of the Giants that is once again demonstrates to you to the enemy public number one for the Lions and that they have been able to face the contest with a decidedly better approach. Above all the defense of Bolzano it has known to close every passage to elemetti the gold that in two circumstances is arrives you to one manciata of yard from end the zones without succeeding to close. And if the attack of Bergamo suffered, that one of Bolzano has made an optimal job is with the race that with the passages. Hour the Lions will be of new in field Wednesday 30 opens them for the recovery of the contest against the Epipoli Rhinos Milan. A contest that will serve also to understand how much the bergmaschi will be in a position to resuming itself from this defeat. Cestitico score, instead, for the contest between the Corsari Palermo and the Elephants Catania that 57-74 for the catanesi ends that confirm square IFL with the best attack. However also the heads of household have been protagonists of a beautiful test in attack but two drive capacities a.termine have not made the difference in a contest in which the respective ones defended they have endured the units remarkablly offensives."

Italian Football League Week #5 Results



IFL Results from Week #5
Catania Elephants 74 - Palermo Corsari 57
Bolzano Giants 34 - Bergamo Lions 3

BYES: Ancona, Bologna, Milan, Palermo Sharks, and Parma

IFL STANDINGS
3-0 Bologna Doves
3-0 Bolzano Giants
3-1 Catania Elephants

2-1 Bergamo Lions
2-2 Palermo Corsari
1-2 Parma Panthers

0-2 Milan Rhinos
0-3 Ancona Dolphins
0-3 Palermo Sharks

NOTE: The teams owning the four best records at the end of the regular season make the playoffs.

IFL Games Week #6
Wednesday, April 30, Bergamo (2-1) at Milan (0-2)
This is a make-up of a Week #2 game

Saturday, May 3, Ancona (0-3) at Catania (3-1)
Saturday, May 3, Bergamo (2-1) at Palermo Sharks (0-3)

Sunday, May 4, Milan (0-2) at Parma (1-2)
Sanday, May 4, Palermo Corsari (2-2) at Bolzano (3-0)

BYE: Bologna (3-0)

The Palermo Corsari Game


We scored 74 points!

I know, your next question is "Did we win?"

Yes we did, 74-57, in what is reported to be the highest scoring game in Italian Serie A history.

The 74 points is not an Elephant's team record as Coach Matteo Belfiore and Marco Raino, our warrior DE, told me that in 1990, I think they said, the Elephants beat the Naples School for the Blind
104-7!!!

Jason was great again, throwing 6 TD passes (3 to Matt, 2 to Claudio and 1 to Lucky). Matt also returned 2 kick offs for TD's and Enrico ran in 3 more TD's.

A total of 20 TD's were scored by the two teams.

As usual, there was no scoreboard at the game, a good thing or we might have burned out a few light bulbs in this wildest one yet!

Of interest was a pass interference call against the Corsari that resulted in a 4 yard gain and a 1st down for us...4 yards?

A Corsari player had an illegal visor, so rather than sending him off he field to fix it and resuming play, the refs just stopped the game for about 7 minutes while he unscrewed it on the field.

I must mention the Corsari's QB Davide Lozano from Mexico. Just a great athlete! He runs all over the place, is elusive and if you do get your hands on him does not go down easily. He was marvelous in our game and reminded me of Michael Vick in the Madden video game!!!

This week's Arena League game is at home on Saturday against the Iowa Barnstormers I think.
 

Free Safety Christian Di Mauro reading John Grisham's Italian language version of "Playing for Pizza" translated here into "Il Professionista" on the bus trip to Palermo.

Maybe it helps him understand what this season's experiences are like through American eyes.

ROAD TRIP!

Smoke break at the Autogrille
with the Tyrrhenian Sea in the distance.

Palermo's Velodrome is an exact copy of the
University of Texas at El Paso's stadium.

Please note that when we arrived about 2 hours before kickoff this rugby game was being played on the field.

In 1966 the University of Washington was hosting #1 ranked UCLA with future Heisman Trophy winner Gary Beban at QB. It was Homecoming in late October and the weather in Seattle was typical for that time of the year, i.e., RAIN. Astroturf had just been invented but our field was still grass. When we arrived at the stadium, we found that for the ONLY time in recorded history about 8 different Pop Warner teams were playing exhibition quarters thus tearing up the grass and creating a muddy field. Some would later say that this was a dirty trick in an effort to slow down UCLA's superior speed. It worked and we handed UCLA their only loss of the season 16-3!

Was this rugby pre-game match a similar feeble attempt to slow down the Elephants' attack? I do not know.

Getting the Field Ready for Play

All great stadiums have at least one thing in common, a crackerjack grounds crew, the Velodrome was no exception! An hour before kickoff they magically converted the field from a rugby pitch to an American football field.

Here you see one man chalking in the sideline, about 6 yards too narrow as it turned out. No problem, when he realized his mistake he just got out a small broom and erased the line before re-chalking the correct ones.

In the background, you can see that more grounds men have already assembled the white soccer goal and are disassembling the black and gold rugby goal. We will again play on a 90 yard field.

Construction

Step two is to attach the rugby uprights to the soccer goals.

Constructive Criticism

Personally, I would have used gray duct tape which I believe is Bill Gardner's tape of choice in constructing goal posts.

AMAZING!

For the first time in my life I can stand flat footed under an American football cross bar and touch it!

The Elephants' defense in Mt. Etna Molten Lava Red Jerseys

Scoring 74 points is FUN!

From left to right: Claudio, Matt, Jason, Enrico and Brandon

THROW IT!

3-1 is GOOD!

Matthew Epperson

If I ever write a dictionary of American football terms, next to the word "Stud" will be this picture of Matt.

Sundays total's for Matt were 3 TD's on pass receptions, 2 TD's on kickoff returns, a 2 point conversion run, and several tackles on defense including a big QB sack when he ran "raggot" out of our new "Armeggedeon" package.


I just report the news, I don't create the news!


Francesca

I am trying to teach our team many of the valuable lessons of life that I have learned in the last 60 years.

The lesson that has finally just sunk in to many of the Elephants in the background is that it is indeed true,"Chicks Dig Fat Guys"!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Catania Rugby Team's Game vs. Padua


After our last practice today before our trip to Palermo on Sunday to play the Corsari, many of the Elephants walked into Stadio Santa Maria Goretti to watch the Catania rugby team play a game vs. an excellent squad from Padua. The Catania players are playing in black uniforms, Padua is in red.

The rugby players are all VERY fit and buffed out! It is full bore mayhem with a no holds barred approach as near as I can tell! It was very physical, entertaining and I would like to see a few more of their games in the future.

A Scrum

A Break Away

A Jump Ball

video
Live Action

video
And Some More Live Action

Time for the Ad of the Day Contest


The Heather Linderman Ad of the Day Contest for April 26, 2008

Today we decided to offer you Sicilian ads with an animal motif at the request of the Canadian PETA Poster Girl, Christie Chorley.

Although THE Heather Linderman has the final word on the winner, you can post your preference in an attempt to influence her.

Our first ad was nominated by Christie herself.

I've been looking but I can't find this store anywhere in the greater
Aci Castello megalopolis.

Is that the cutest dog you've EVER seen or what?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vatican II


There was a picture of me holding a post card of my favorite Sistine Chapel figure on this blog earlier this week because I followed the rule about no picture taking.

One of my friends, who shall remain anonymous (David P. Lassen), broke all the rules on a visit to Michelangelo's masterpiece and forwarded these two pictures to show you a little of what you missed. ENJOY!


Valeria's Birthday BBQ


Today is a national holiday in Italy, Liberation Day. As I understand it, this is the day that Italy was liberated from Fascist rule by the Allies at the end of World War II.

This holiday Friday was used to have a birthday party-BBQ for the original Pink Elephant, Valeria who is dating our TE Pepe Strano. Valeria was celebrating her second 15th birthday and had a great time with her family and friends.

The shindig was held at Valeria's family summer house in the foothills of Mt. Etna in a town named Puntalazzo.

As with all Sicilian BBQ's, copious amounts of meat, wines and desserts were served in bacchanalian fashion. Who was I to argue?

By the way, I'm really out of touch with American news here, can anybody tell if Obama finally married Hillary.

We meet Matt, Brandon and Claudio just off the Autostrada to caravan up the hill to the BBQ.

Claudio and Roberta arrived on this awesome Ducati!

Valeria's Hillside House

At the BBQ, Davide and Daniella's new son,
Alessandro, made his social debut.

Me with Valeria, a.k.a., Pink Elephant #1 and The Birthday Girl

I thought this was Valeria's sister, imagine my shock to find out she was Valeria's mother!

At Sicilian BBQ's the men have to check their cell phones at the door.

Let the feast begin!

Ahh, Fromaggio

CIPOLATA!!!

Sausages, Pork Steaks and Involtini, OH MY!

Anyone up for Pork Lard as an antipasto?

Roberta was VERY hungry!

She is also a GREAT jump roper we found out today.

Sicilian Grill Masters at Work

Social gatherings are a Sicilian staple on holidays

Just Chillin' in Sicilia

Mt. Etna is always looming in the background during our BBQ's.

Fat and Sassy Elephants sighted at the end of the Feast

Renato, our Defensive Co-Captain, showing he can keep up with Roberta's jump roping skills!

On the walk to the car we spotted this proud Sicilian horticulturist hard at work.

Why does everybody have firewood outside their door today?

On the drive home through Acireale, we saw
the world's smallest license plate.

The only way I could have been happier today was if my bride, Laurie, was in town.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Fiat 500 Reviewed


As you may remember, a few weeks ago I relayed the message from my Sports Authority, David Lassen, that after an absence of 33 years, the Italian Fiat car company was reintroducing their famed 500 model into the marketplace. I was delighted to hear the news as I am a big fan of the old 500 and will drive one before I leave Sicily!

This was one of my first encounters with
one of the wonderful old 500's back in February.

Our Free Safety, Christian Di Mauro, actually owns two restored 500's and said I could take one for a spin if I can get into it, think EVOO! 

My first sighting of the new Fiat 500 in Roma last Tuesday.

It says Fiat 500 on it but it is neither small nor cute, I refuse to drive his obvious gas hogging Italian SUV of a car on principle alone!!!