Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Rare Tuesday in Palermo

Because this Friday, May 1st is the Labor Day National Holiday in Italy, we will not practice on Friday for our Saturday night game in Bologna against the Doves.  Instead we will work on Wednesday and Thursday nights in Catania thus necessitating that we meet with the West Coast Elephants in Palermo on Tuesday.

Rookie Linebacker Davide Leotta

Davide has drawn a 24 hour shift this Wednesday at work so he asked to come with us to Palermo on Tuesday to get in some work.  We got to find out a lot about him during our day together.

Davide is 30 years old and has been married for almost three years to Alessandra, a lovely Roman girl.  He is a sargeant in the Italian Air Force who works security at the U.S. Naval Air Station in nearby Sigonella.  A Catania native, this is his 12th year in the Air Force, having previously been stationed in Pisa and Rome where he met Alessandra.  As a teen-ager he played water polo at a very high level in Catania for six years.

Although he had never seen an Elephants' game until this season, he had heard about the team and decided to give American football a try.  He got into his first game last Saturday against the IFL's top team at the moment, the 5-1 Bolzano Giants.  On his first play ever, he actually made the tackle!  Of course he had to use the running back's face mask to do it, earning a 15 yard penalty.

Al Davis heard about it and picked Davide in the last round of the NFL draft for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.  Al reportedly said "The one thing you can't coach is cheating! This Davide kid is a natural!"

Davide told us that he is still weighing his options.

Palermo Architecture

It ranges from the very old...

... to the recent old...

... to the Mussolini era style of the Poste e Telegrafi Building...

... to God knows what in the modern era...

Spinnato Pasticcheria

Spinnato's is one of Palermo's oldest and best eating spots, it first opened it's doors in 1860!  The mandorla and ananas gelato REALLY hit the spot after a nice sausage pasta and swordfish steak lunch at Trattoria Basile, one of my favorite eating places in Palermo for a hearty lunch.

Cruise Ship Girls from Austria

These two youngsters from Salzburg are on a one week cruise of the Mediterranian sailing out of Genoa and were enjoying a caffe' and the sun at Spinnato's.

Paul struck up a conversation with them, weaved his magic and eventually got them to pose for this picture.

He also got my elbow.

I wonder if he used his famous "cuisine" setting on his new camera?

1 on 1 Blitz Pick-Up Drill

LB Davide Leotta about to use one of his dirty Raider tricks on unsuspecting OT Andrea Specchiarello.

Two Blurs out of the Chutes

RB/WR and newly recruited DB Roberto Paderni in the white jersey and DB Emanuele "Manolo" Gariffo racing each other during their conditioning at the end of practice.

Another good day in Palermo for food, friendship and football!

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