Sunday, February 10, 2013

French Sports Saturday

Saturday was supposed to be a BIG football day for the Falcons.

The Cadet squad was scheduled to play their season opener at home at 2:00 p.m.

The Senior team (2-0) was more than a little anxious to resume its season after a two month layoff at Clermont-Ferrand against the Servals (0-3) at 7:00 p.m.

Unfortunately, the weather refused to cooperate. Cold temperatures and snow in both locales led the people who are in charge of the fields to postpone both contests in order to save the natural turf fields.

No date has been set for the make-up of this contest. 

This weekend should have marked the end of the first round of our eight game league schedule. Instead, we have only been able to play two of our scheduled four games. If you go all the way back to our Week #3, December 9, 2012 game against St-Cergues, we have now had our last two games snowed out.


On a positive football note, our QB, John van den Raadt, continues to be a great addition to the Falcons. His normal practice duties as both a Senior player and a Cadet and Junior team coach take up four of his nights each week. Still, John meets almost daily every afternoon with various receivers based on their work schedules to get in extra work on the passing game. As I write this, John has just left to throw with a couple of his receivers on a Field Turf field even though it is snowing lightly.

GREAT addition indeed!

Division III - Sud Poule C

Week # 5 Games
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Bron-Villeurbanne at Clermont-Ferrand postponed
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Chambéry at Lyon postponed

St-Cergues Bulldogs 3-0
Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons 2-0
Chambéry Aigles 1-2
Lyon Les Gones 1-2
Clermont-Ferrand Servals 0-3

Week #4 Make-Up Game
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Bron-Villeurbanne (2-0) at St-Cergues (3-0)
BYES: Chambéry (1-2), Lyon (1-2) and Clermont-Ferrand (0-3)

What to do about the problem of the lust in our sporting blood? Only one answer came to mind . . .

French Division I Basketball

Before the Holiday Break in our football schedule, I had endeavored to attend all four of Lyon's traditional major spectator sports.

I had already seen our local heroes win games in Division I football (soccer), Division I rugby and Division II hockey. Seeing our Division I basketball team in action had been a continuing problem. When they had a home game, we had a commitment to one of the Falcons team's games. When my calendar was clear, the basketball team had an away game on tap.

This weekend was destined to be more of the same until our game was postponed.

Thus, John and I joined Falcons WR Emrah Bayrac and LT Djamel Laib for a trip to the Astroballe Arena in nearby Villeurbanne.

The Astroballe is a cozy arena that comfortably sits 5,800 fans. We guessed that a crowd of about 4,000 was in attendance once things got started between . . .

Le Havre (7-11)
ASVEL (10-8)

Le Havre was mired in 14th place in the 16 team French Division I standings while ASVEL entered the contest in fifth place.

ASVEL is an acronym for Association Sportive Villeurbane and Éveil Lyonnais. The ASVEL club was formed in 1948.

Team Warm-Ups

ASVEL was sporting bright green uniforms while Le Havre's red garb, plus the snow outside, made for a Christmas feel to the festivities.

The view from our seats

Only 12 Euros (about $16), I wonder what you would pay for these same seats for a Lakers game at the 18,118 capacity Staples Center in Los Angeles?

When we entered the arena, we were surprised to find that every seat had a souvenir program and an artificial noise maker sitting on it. No fee, just ASVEL's way of getting the crowd into the game.

It worked. The gym was bedlam throughout the game.

ASVEL Starting Five

The guy on the left is ASVEL's Center. He is a rebounding machine! He hails from the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl.

ASVEL at the Charity Stripe

ASVEL hitting the open man

Le Havre on the run 

It was a good game! Our boys in green led most of the way comfortably but had to survive a furious fourth quarter comeback attempt by Le Havre that saw them tie the game up with less than four minutes left in regulation.

ASVEL 70 - Le Havre 66

When the game was over, the fans surrounded the court and the ASVEL players circled around High Fiving all of their supporters.

Now, that's something you don't see in the NBA.

After the game, the four of us headed to the Vieux Lyon and the Baràgones Cantine to meet with another half dozen Falcons for a few beers and some fun times.

Both were accomplished easily.

We went to this particular watering hole with an ulterior motive in mind. Shannon (Blake) Tesseyr works the bar there and she is a certified athletic trainer. If you recall, I ran into her by accident during December's Festival of Lights and we discussed her possibly helping the Falcons during our home games. I knew that she was from Danville, California and today found out last night that she graduated from Seattle Pacific University and that the Cal Bears are her favorite PAC-12 team.

No one is perfect.

Besides her other skills, Shannon is a great waitress with very good people skills.

Brrrrrr . . . Still Snowing

We were getting a ride back to The Villa with Emrah in his toasty Citroën automobile after a very enjoyable evening.

Good Times Indeed!!!

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