Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lugano Lakers Scrimmage


The St. Gotthard Road Tunnel, connecting the town of Göschenen in Uri canton in the North to Ticino canton's city of Airolo in the South, opened in 1980. At that time it was the longest road tunnel in the world at 16.4 km/10.2 miles in length. Since then Norway's Lærdal Tunnel (24.5 km) and China's Zhongnanshan Tunnel (18 km) have surpassed the St. Gotthard Road Tunnel in length.

Today, the Thun Tigers drove through the St. Gotthard Road Tunnel twice on our way to and from our . . .

Thun Tigers at Lugano Lakers
American Football Scrimmage!

It promised to be a beautiful day for American football with a scrimmage time predicted temperature of a balmy 65ºF/18ºC. It was nice!

Ueli and I left Helvetica at 7:00 a.m. to join our mates for the long bus trip to Lugano. As always on these road trips we stopped about half way for the league mandated . . .

Player Smoke Break

Some of us actually used this time to visit the rest room facilities and to buy some supplies at the Shell mini-mart which also offered us . . .

Another view of the Alps

After four hours we were in Lugano at the Lakers practice facility for our scrimmage. As we exited the bus one player loudly declared "I NEED SOME NICOTINE!"

Well, it had been two hours since the Shell station.

Tiger Defensive Tackle Patrick Schlauri

He attended Santa Barbara City College for awhile . . . small world.

The Lakers were excited

Coach Armen is an ND fan

I'm surrounded.

Tiger Warm Up

Tigers on Defense

All but one of my pictures is of our defense, I was too busy coaching our offense today. Our defensive staff did a great job calling defenses today, the "D" played hard and I was very proud of their efforts!

Lugano Dive Play


At halftime I noticed my first real Swiss cow sighting behind the far end zone.

#57 RT Mathias Krebs
Pulling Tackle

Mathias is often mistaken for George Clooney.

He is an outstanding run blocker. The DE he is about to launch into orbit here wound up rolling and coming to a stop about 2 centmeters from my feet.

Goal Line

We need to play with lower pad level

Our swarm to the ball was very good today.

Gap Control

Good Pressure

The ball would land harmlessly very short of a receiver.

By the way, #34, Rudy Bohren, is an absolute beast!

Trench Warfare


We came away from this 108 play scrimmage with a very positive attitude.

As I said earlier, the defense played very well and forced several turnovers.

Offensively, we moved the ball much more consistently than we did in the Bern Grizzlies scrimmage a few weeks ago. Several completed passes, no sacks and no turnovers were all very good signs for our Go Team.

I can't say enough about the Lugano Lakers and their coaching staff led by Head Coach Giorgio Volpi. Great guys taking the right approach to the great game of American football. Thanks for hosting an excellent scrimmage and good luck to the Lakers in the 2012 season!

Rest Stop at the South end of
the San Gottardo Road Tunnel

San Gottardo, I thought it was St. Gotthard? Remember, we are in southern Switzerland's Italian speaking canton of Ticino.

Nice mountains.

Surprisingly, we made a second food/smoking stop on the way home at McDonalds. I must admit to liking (loving?) McDonalds back in the States, I try to avoid it here in Europe. It still tastes the same but there are so many fabulous local dishes to sample in every European country that I feel honor bound to eat local cuisine over American fast food.

Tonight was a team bonding experience exception so I ordered a Big Mac Meal.

You know the drill, one Big Mac, one order of French fries and a soda, an orange Fanta Zero in this case.

Let it be finally said, while I have found Switzerland and its people and customs to be all positive, there is one drawback to living in the Confederation Helvetica . . . it is expensive!!!

Exhibit #1
My McDonalds' Receipt

Remember, there is no such thing as free refills anywhere in Europe to my knowledge but I have onlt been in 22 European nations to date.

My Big Mac Meal cost 12.70 Swiss Francs, i.e., $13.93 USD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is the high cost of Swiss living in a nutshell.

At least it was Super-Sized.

Next up fot the Tigers Senior team is our three day/five practice camp this weekend, similar to what our Juniors experienced last weekend.

Our first game, at home against the Basel Meanmachine, is just three weeks from today. We have a lot of improving to do but still,



Dexter said...

George - I kind of had the idea of what you were doing, but now seeing this really puts it in perspective. What fun! What great experiences for you and I'm sure they guys you're working with are having the greatest experiences of their lives, too. Awesome.

David said...

Not only did you pay $13 for a Big Mac, but there's one less real Swiss cow around for you to see.

George said...


Retirement can be a lot of fun if you work it right. I'm having the time of my life in Switzerland!