Thursday, March 26, 2009

Of Cefalu', Santa Elia and Palermo


It's Thursday so we left Malibu at 9:00 a.m. to drive to Palermo for our 6:00 p.m. practice with the "West Coast" Elephants.  When we make these weekly trips, we make it a rule to try and visit something of interest on our way to the practice field.

First up today was the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea coast town of Cefalu'.

Cefalu's Parking Lot "A"
Only 3 Euros for 12 Hours

My last trip to Cefalu' in June netted me a 36 Euro parking ticket for illegally parking on Piazza Garibaldi about 200 meters from Cefalu's brand spanking new, state-of-the-art, Uni-Story Overground Parking Structure that you see here.  We started the day with what I thought to be a wise economic choice!

Is it just me or does EVERY city in Italy have a Murphy's Pub?

Strong winds made waves explode into Cefalu's sea wall.

She guards the entrance to Cefalu's Duomo

The Golden Mosaic behind the Duomo's altar

Storm Surf

It was VERY windy indeed!

The Breakers got very close to us

Cefalu' can be a magical, romantic place

"Then our VW bus was attacked by a giant Vespa..."


From Cefalu' we proceeded west to the small fishing village of Santa Elia near Palermo.  Santa Elia is the ancestral home of our Sicilian-American friend Chris Pagliaro who will be visiting us in May with his friend Linda.  We thought that we would do a little advanced scouting for his trip.

Chris' stories about coaching in Italy years ago were one of the main reasons that I explored coming to Catania in the first place.  As stated in earlier blog posts, Chris was the Head Football Coach at Newbury Park H.S. in the 1960's and 70's and was an Assistant Football Coach at Santa Barabara City College for several years.

Chris Pagliaro

Italian football stories are not the only stories Chris likes to tell.  Back in California a bunch of us "Old Timers" meet about four times a year for pizza and adult refreshments to talk about anything and everything.  One of the younger coaches we invited a few years ago said it was a "Dinner with the Legends", so we now call it that.

Beyond a doubt, Chris is THE main story teller of the group.

Did I ever tell you about how Chris almost single handedly led Chicago's Austin High School Tigers to the 1952 Public League Championship?  At that time, Austin's 4,000 member student body made it the largest high school in the United States.  The highlight game of the 1952 season was the stirring 7-0 victory over arch-rival Lane Tech.

They played the Catholic League Champions, Mt. Carmel coached by future Notre Dame University Head Coach Terry Brennan, in the season ending Chicago Prep Bowl.  Unfortunately the Maroon and White came up a little short losing 27-14.

"Pags" freely admits that he had just a little help during this magical season from...

Abe Woodson
Chicago Austin H.S., Class of 1953

Seen here in his 1962 Topps NFL trading card, Chris' teammate at Austin earned a football scholarship to the University of Illinois, was the 15th overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft and would go on to a nine year NFL career, seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Abe Woodson made five Pro Bowls and was twice named First Team All-Pro.

Santa Elia City Limits

When Chris told us that his family came from a small fishing village he did not say how small, the word "dinky" comes to mind.

The view down to the sea from the City Limits Sign.

The view of Santa Elia from Santa Flavia

I would categorize Santa Elia as the town where the local fishermen live and the harbor of the town of Santa Flavia, about 300 meters east of the Santa Elia City Limits Sign, where they ply their trade.

The Harbor at Santa Flavia

Santa Elia's Tyrrhenian Sea Coast

Santa Elia has plenty of satellite dishes to go around! 

Santa Elia's main Piazza

Santa Elia's favorite sons hanging out in the Piazza.

Hey, is that guy looking at us wearing an Austin H.S. vest?

The View from Santa Elia's Piazza

Going over our adjustments for the Bergamo game.

We only had five of the "West Coast" Elephants with us tonight as one has moved to Catania and another one was home with a fever.  We got some good work in that made the trip worth while.  The only bad note was that my passing arm was at it's all-time worst!

Another GREAT day in Sicily!

3 comments:

michaelcontreras32 said...

Your passing arm was worse than Nerf football in the street! Oh no!

DPLassen said...

That passing arm may explain your fondness for the Wing-T.

George said...

As Woody Hayes probably said, "There is no coincidence in the fact that the start of decline of the American civilization and the legalization of the forward pass both happened in the same year."