Friday, December 23, 2016

Three Fun Filled Weeks in the USA

We've been home for about three weeks now and although nothing major has happened, we have experienced a bunch of good things that we really need to share.

Good friend Paul Sabolic e-mailed me today pleading for a new blogpost so who am I to deny him any longer.

 I got the chance to be a Grandfather
at the local park many times

Jacob would be perfectly content if I propelled him on this swing 24/7.

The Huskies made the cover
of Sports Illustrated

S.I. Curse?

What S.I. Curse?

 The Paul Sabolic inspired UW Husky
ornaments were properly put on display

Gracias Pablo!

 A Road Trip to Surf City U.S.A.

Huntington Beach IS Surf City U.S.A.

Why did we travel all the way into into notorious Orange County you ask?

To see our French Friends of course!
L. to R.: Me, Laurie, Alida, PJ,
Vivien, Louis and Olivier

Because of a bit of surreal timing, a whole bunch of our friends from our 2012-13 days with the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons in Lyon, France were in SoCal at the same time.

Alida Campbell and her son PJ were in France the year after we left as her husband Gregg was the Head Coach of the Falcons in 2014. Alida is now a confirmed Francophile who someday wants to return to Lyon to live out the rest of her days, as near as I can tell.

Not a bad idea if you ask me.

Vivien Villard is a Fullback with the Falcons who was on vacation in the USA for the third time since I first met him. He wants to return to California to live out the rest of his life, as near as I can tell.

Not as great an idea if you ask me.

Louis Condevaux is a Tight End for Orange Coast College who is from Lyon as has been playing the past two seasons for OCC. He is mulling over an offer to play more American football at a DIII college in North Dakota rather than returning to the Falcons in 2017.

North Dakota?

Olivier Rival is just one of the best people that I have met in my eight years of coaching in EuroBall. He is my go-to source about anything related to American football in France and all things Provençal. He was in town on business.


I took Jacob to the Camarillo
Public Library where Legos and
 books are an unbeatable combination!

Jacob helped dress our
Christmas tree

 He seemed supremely satisfied
with his work

 It looked good to me too

 Playing his favorite game
that he calls "Jacob vs. Poppo"

No idea what the goal is other than to bond a bit more.

Since that is enough for him, it works for me.

The Los Angeles Rams . . .

O.K., our family as a group, son Andy and his Raider loving views being an aberration, are suffering L.A. rams fans.

As a result, we gather in spots throughout the known universe on a weekly basis praying that the American Football gods will smile on our beleaguered boys every once in awhile.

Laurie made this nice tapas
spread for us to enjoy during
the Falcons-Rams game

 Jacob was ready to be the
consulate edge pass rusher
if the Rams needed him

They did.

Me, Jacob, Mary and Mike

Three generations of NFL frustration in one picture.

Consoling Mary during the
Falcons 42-14 drubbing of our Rams

Mike ran in the Santa to the Sea
Half Marathon in Oxnard while
pushing Jacob in a stroller

Two wild and crazy kids.

More fun than watching another
Rams "effort"

One of France's more interesting
November wine traditions
arrives in California in December

LOTS more fun
than an NFL game

 A bottle of good Spanish
red La Rioja wine is a
Happy Holidays moment

Mary consoling me during the
Seahawks 24-3 drubbing of our Rams

She made me feel WAY better as the Rams dropped to 4-10 on the year, our 13th straight non-winning campaign.

Riches for the Guadalajara Stings . . .

The Stings located about 20 miles north of Madrid are easily the most equipment poor team that I have yet to coach in EuroBall.

One of my first jobs after coming back to Camarillo was to secure them some decent, used equipment from local sources.

Thank you Mike Leiben!

Thank you Doug Dagan! 

I'll be shipping these off to Guadalajara soon,
Feliz Navidad Stings!

Speaking of EuroBall . . .

Our new EuroBall sign
to help take . . .

. . . the load off of our old
California High schools sign

Otherwise the bottom two signs would have been laying on the floor.

Thanks to Sandy at Hampton Repurposed Wood for making these fun signs for us over the years and to Skip and Jan Albano who first showed us their list of similar signs.

 Always interesting with
our budding engineer

Bridge to the breakfast table

Jacob caught the pancake with improved near perfect technique when I flipped it to him.

I was disappointed that he finished everything on his plate leaving nothing for Poppo to eat.

 George and Dale Widolff

Dale is one of the good guys having been the highly successful Head Football Coach at DIII Occidental College for over a quarter of a century.

Since leaving Occidental, I have been trying to get Dale to go overseas to experience EuroBall life up close and personal.

This Fall he finally did it taking a three month job with Austria's Danube Dragons.

We got together in Pasadena to debrief each other on our latest EuroBall trips.


After my meeting with Dale was over, I took a nostalgia walk through the streets of Pasadena.

My Father's favorite bookstore

As a youngster, he would take me here a couple of time a month and buy me a book or two.

For some crazy reason I love reading to this day.


The Burger Continental was one of Pasadena's great eating spots.


 Still Open


And a pie and burger was exactly what I ordered.

It's the law.

Santa Clara Elementary School's
Christmas Pageant

 Jacob was Shepherd #3

Never Camera Shy

Dapper Look

Mrs. Vanessa Contreras'
TK Class singing up a storm

This past Tuesday we received a visitor from Murcia, Spain via Iowa's Simpson College with open arms.

Jesus Clemente and me
at Casa Contreras in Camarillo

Jesus was a great WR for us with the Murcia Cobras in Spain back in 2015.

He is currently working on his second Bachelor's Degree while also helping coach the DIII Simpson College Storm's defensive backs.

He'll be with us during his Holiday Break.


Jesus, me and Diego Renteria

We met Diego at the Cronies Sports Grill in Camarillo for lunch.

Diego played for us when I coached at Rio Mesa H.S. and he is now one of the best young football referees in our area who is now working Junior College games as well as high school contests.

His insights into what refs go through during a game were really interesting and an eye opener for Jesus.


Jesus did pretty well with
a Cronies Beer Girl too

The Spanish accent interested her greatly.

Jesus at Ventura's Busy Bee Cafe

He loved the big burger and the 1950's motif.

After lunch at the Busy Bee Cafe
we were off to Surfer's Point

Jesus today enjoying his first
sighting of the Pacific Ocean

Many a current day Spaniard consider Jesus to be the modern day Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

Reading Is FUNdamental

Suggested by our Swedish
friend Johan Hammarqvist 

A fun read with which I definitely identified.

Low body count for Reacher

Another in the long series of Jack Reacher books that Mike D'Antuono has forced me to read over the years.

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