Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Busy Week All Over SoCal

As this blogpost's title implies, we did a lot of worthwhile driving the past few days . . .

Stephen Wohlert Visits California

Stephen was our Defensive Coordinator during our Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons National Championship season back in 2012-13.

He is an interesting man to say the least. Born and raised in Germany where he earned a PhD in Chemistry, worked in Lyon, France and now living and working in New Jersey. He is fluent in at least German, French and English and I suspect that he may know another language or two as well.

As a football coach, I found him to be a fantastic asset to our club as he brought a great combination of knowledge, competitiveness and passion to the field every day.

He instilled a toughness in our defense that year that was one of the main reasons that we reached perfection ending in a 12-0 record. The job he did getting our squad ready to take on the Wing-T offense in the National Championship game was remarkable.

To this day, the Falcons continue to play with great defensive pride and that is in no small measure a result of Stephen's efforts.

We picked Stephen up at the airport in Los Angeles and headed towards Orange County. The main reason for his visit was a work-related conference to be held in Anaheim.

 Lunch at the Crab Cooker


A trip on the Balboa Ferry

We had a great visit with a good friend . . .


A Hike

I opted to go for a three mile nature hike in Santa Rosa Valley. Good for my complexion.

I saw Horses and a Dog

Green Hills
thanks to the recent rains

 A Rattlesnake

He was as afraid of me as I was of him.

Regardless, I gave him a WIDE berth.

Belated Easter

Since we had spent Easter Sunday in Las Vegas with Kevin, Jenn and Andy, it was only fitting that we held another Easter, albeit a week or so late, with Jacob on Saturday.

Jacob's Easter Egg Hunt

There were "treasures"
inside those eggs

Easter Basket Madness

Too much excitement for one day

Traditional Contreras
Pancake Toss

It has been a long standing tradition in our household that when we make pancakes for breakfast, the kids have to catch the first flying hotcake of the day on their plate.

 Today would be Jacob's
first ever attempt to catch one

He may have been a bit unclear on the concept . . .


It was too late, the first one hit the ground but I invoked the "Three Second Rule" and ate it myself later.

The second hot cake of the day
was of the lay-up variety for safety

He liked it and will do better
next time I'm sure

EuroBall Beckons

Normally, my EuroBall talks are made to college Seniors who are looking to extend their careers with a season or two overseas.

This week I met with two coaches.

 Aaron Snyder

Aaron is a Latin teacher and football coach at the Thacher School in Ojai, California.

He and his wife, who also teaches at Thacher, are taking a year's sabbatical leave starting next Fall. They will spend the next academic year living in Zaragoza, Spain.

There are two American football clubs in Zaragoza, the Hornets and the Hurricanes. I think that I convinced him of the joys of coaching in España.

I hope he pulls the trigger.

Dale Widolff

Dale was the highly successful and well respected Head Football Coach at Occidental College in Los Angeles for 30 years (1982-2011).

One of the good guys in coaching, he always was cordial in allowing me to talk to his Seniors about football in Europe.

Since leaving Occidental he has coached as a volunteer with friends and former players all over the country with a season each at Oregon's Lewis and Clark College (2012), California Lutheran University (2013), Minnesota's College of St. Scholastica (2014) and California's Chapman University (2015).

So, in reality, he has been preparing himself over the last four seasons for the logical next step, EuroBall.

I am attempting to hook him up with Vienna's Danube Dragons for a two month, quality control type job next Fall during the Austrian League's off-season. I think it would be a good way for Dale to get his feet wet in the EuroBall experience.

Field Trip to Olvera Street

Rio Mesa H.S. teacher Ben Todd asked me to join him and fellow Spartan teachers Mary Wayne and Ingrid Brennan as a chaperone on a field trip to the heart of the old pueblo of Los Angeles, Olvera Street.

Why not. A good chance to be around positive young people and catch up on Rio Mesa life.

Olvera Street's Main Plaza

 Felipe De Neve 1728-84
Spanish Governor
of the Californias 1775-82

No idea who the guy is seated behind the Governor.

 Typical Olvera Street Shop

Interesting Mural in Olvera Street
painted by David Siqueiros in 1932

 I liked the mural

 The mural was not the only thing
going on in Los Angeles in 1932

Homeboy Industries Tour
near Olivera Street

Father Greg Boyle founded Homeboy Industries as a positive way to get young people out of gang life. Our tour guide, Connie, told us her amazing story.

Father Boyle is on the fast track to sainthood I'm sure.

Michael Turns 40


 Jacob was ready
to help open presents


Mary helped blow out the . . .

. . . candles

How can he possibly be 40 years old?

Lunch with Mike and Paul

I had a really fun lunch date with old University of Washington friends Mike D'Antuono and Paul Sabolic last Friday.

Paul brought four years worth
of Husky Christmas ornaments

He gives us one every year but because of our European Adventures we had not been able to get our last four ornaments until last Friday's lunch.

Thank You Paul!

Boston College vs. Georgia Tech
Dublin, Ireland
September 3, 2016

What the hell, I bought a ticket

You only live once. 

Reading Is FUNdamental

Jack Reacher may have had his
all-time lowest body count

Mike D'Antuono hooked me on this Lee Child inspired series of action novels.

On our field trip to Olvera Street, fellow chaperone Ingrid Brennan talked me into reading the first of yet another Italian based series of detective novels.

This series are set in Venice with Detective Guido Brunetti being the reasonable lead character.

I liked it.

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