Friday, August 12, 2011

EuroBall News and a Week in Las Vegas

The past week visiting Andy, Jenn and Kevin "Tank Ranger" in Las Vegas has been so exciting! Still our lives were full of news from Europe during this eventful week.


Over the last ten days I was in serious negotiations for a coaching job with Julien Urgenti of the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons based in the suburbs of Lyon, the famous culinary capital of France. Football and food, now that would have been a natural for me!

Julien and I became good friends via Facebook and e-mails and worked hard on coming to an agreement to coach the Senior team starting in September. Unfortunately, when he presented his Board of Directors the idea of hiring me they voted no because of my inability to speak French which they ruled as critical in coaching the two youth teams.

Perfectly understandable . . . SACREBLEU!!!

Thus my search for a EuroBall coaching job in the near future continues.

Still meeting and talking football with Julien was a great experience. Through him I am now also friends with Olivier Rival who runs a blog about American football in France titled Le Blog ELITEFOOT. Julien posted a very kind article about me on Olivier's blog, you can link to it below and they do have an English translation tab at the upper right if you want to read it


Peppe and Valeria Strano
at the Rose Bowl for the
2008 Tennessee at UCLA game

Peppe (TE/H Back) and Valeria are two of our favorite people from our time coaching the Catania Elephants in Sicily. I got an e-mail today from Peppe about their triumphant return to California next month. Being football nuts, one of their goals is to attend a great college football doubleheader in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 17th.

First up at 12:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena is Texas at UCLA. Then, in the evening at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 5:00 p.m., USC faces Syracuse.

Now these two stadiums are only 16 miles apart but the drive through game day traffic at these two venues will be daunting to say the least. Somehow, we'll make it work.

One other option is attending the big game in Southern California that day in Thousand Oaks, the Stadium Dedication Game at Cal Lutheran University at 1:00 p.m. as the Kingsmen take on the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes. PLU's QB coach is our old Catania Elephant QB and all-around bon vivant (more French) Jason Johnson.

Anyway you slice it, it is going to be a great weekend seeing a lot of great people with EuroBall connections.

Meanwhile, back in Nevada . . .

Feeding Tank


On Friday night, August 5, 2011, Tank and I watched our first football game together on TV, Tank is the one wearing his blue rally cap. It was a Canadian Football League Game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders playing at the British Columbia Lions.

The Lions prevailed 24-11 for their first win of the season (1-5) so we were both happy . . . or hungry, I'm not sure which.

Tank's Favorite Cartoon?

Popeye, of course.

Andy feeding Kevin

Tank/Kevin sleeping

He is really good at this.

With Grandma Laurie

He seems to like sports for some reason

Nice Football Blanket

Love that forearm!

Andy sporting a Raiders binky

He needs much more sleep and a new NFL team to support now that he is a Dad.

How about the Detroit Lions?

Besides basking in the glow of being Grandparents, was their anything else going on in Las Vegas?

Why yes actually, it turns out that there are a few places to eat in Las Vegas.

Hash House A Go Go

This Fried Chicken Benedict was both huge and really good for you.

We also met our friends the FitzGeralds and the Rodriguezes for a great Asian dinner at P F Changs one night.

One day, we drove out to Henderson for lunch at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. As advertised, they make the most authentic pizzas this side of Aci Castello's Jonica Pizzeria! We laughed when they alerted us that we would have to cut our own pizzas with a knife and fork since they would not slice it American style.

As fate would have it, it turns out
that they also have casinos in Las Vegas

Lots of them.

Here I am outside of the Paris Casino.

Paris Casino Pastry Shop

Laurie and I each had one with an espresso, perfect!

We HAD to buy this for Tank
in the shopping mall next to
Planet Hollywood

At the Luxor Casino


After the Bodies exhibit, a Nathan's
Bacon Cheese Hot Dog was in order

We found good food here as well
in North Las Vegas

First Day of Practice at UNLV

On Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels opened their fall camp in preparation for their 2011 season opener on Thursday, September 1st at Camp Randall Stadium, the home of the defending Big 10 Champion Wisconsin Badgers.

It was a very mild 85˚F/29.4˚C as the team started to stretch and warm up. This is incredibly cool for this time of the year in Las Vegas. The practice was scheduled for three hours and the regimen for the first two days of practice is helmets only as you can see in the picture.

The Rebels were 2-11 in 2010 under first year Head Coach Bobby Hauck who left a similar job at the University of Montana where his record was a sparkling 80-17 that included seven Big Sky Conference championships and three National Championship Game appearences.

This year the Las Vegas sports books have the over/under line for UNLV football victories set at 2 1/2 games. Unfortunately, after watching this first practice I would have to recommend that you take the under.

That being said, there is still a lot of time to work hard to turn this into a better year for the Rebels. I hope they can do it.

Granada Hills Food Truck Wednesday

After stopping off in San Marino, California to show my mother Chuny, aunt Katie, sister Marilyn and niece Lauren a slew of pictures of Kevin/Tank, we continued our way home from Las Vegas.

Since it was Wednesday, we stopped in the San Fernando Valley for this weekly food orgy as over 20 gourmet food trucks enticed us to try their wares.

Laurie and I split three items from three different trucks. First it was an order of delicious fish tacos, followed by a half Philly cheesesteak sandwich with melted Provolone. To end our decadence, we shared a spicey Sloppy Joe sandwich.


Finally, here are two videos of the Tank, enjoy!

Tank Ranger in live action, well,
as animated as he gets at this age

Can you tell that I am a proud Grandpa?


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