Saturday, January 20, 2018

Blessed Sleep and a U15 and U13 Flag Football Practice


Saturday, 20 January, 2018

I don't know if it was the Jet Lag finally catching up to me or the sangria, margarita and mescal from last night's Mexican food fest, but I slept in for all of the morning and a bit of the afternoon as well today.

Fortunately for my otherwise dormant body, I had to get up and coach a U15 and U13 flag football practice at 3:30 p.m.

Enzo Petrillo, our U15 Head Coach, picked me up at the Villa Skorpion and we were off to what would turn out to be a good session of improving our American football fundamentals.

One good thing about having a team in 100% control of their training/game facility is that the snack bar is open for any and all Skorpion activities.

I have only been here for five days but it is obvious that we have an incredibly involved and dedicated support staff to go along with what appears to be a dedicated group of players.

Now, that's a GREAT combination to have on your side!

Nothing like a café before practice
at the Skorpion snack bar

The prices are quite reasonable

Warming Up

We would wind up with 21 players, both male and female, which is great when you consider that flag football at this level is played with only five players on the field at a time. 

 Scarpe Alla Moda
(Stylish Shoes)

After all, we are only a 20 minutes away from Milan, the Italian fashion capital.

3-on -3 Pattern Recognition Drill

As I inferred earlier, we had a great session with these kids. If they keep working like they did today, we'll have a top notch club at this level.

As usual, it was a GREAT day for American football!

No surprise there really . . .

Of Arancini, Varese and Mexican Food in Milan


Friday, 19 January, 2018

It would be another sunny but crisp day in northern Italy today with lots on the agenda.

A gift from Pietro one of
our amazing Skorpions

He went to the Rams-Cardinals game in London this past season and gave me this much appreciated souvenir from the 33-0 Los Angeles victory.

GRAZIE Pietro!

Dario D'Adelfio, a Sicilian by both birth and inclination, picked me up at mid-day for a drive to nearby Olgiate Comasco to visit a couple of his favorite Sicilian bars in the village.

The Arancini at Regna delle due Sicilie
 was OUTSTANDING!

And the café was perfetto too!

While the cannoli at the second spot
were HUGE!

I opted for a brioche crema at this place, at only 1€ it was a bargain.

It was still early in the day, so after a nice mini-road trip with Dario, I asked him to drop me off at the little train station near the Villa Skorpion.

This is the stop and . . .

. . . this is the station

As timing would have it, I had just missed the train and would have to wait about 20 minutes for the next one.

In 15 minutes, the train had whisked
me away to this large station in Varese

Powerful statues above a Post Office

Great architecture

I need a closer look at this
bell tower

Colorful Pedestrian Street

Monument to Heroes

Passageway to that elusive
bell tower

 Just a few more steps

There it is next to the
Church honoring St. Victor, Martyr

This tower took nearly
160 years to build!

Construction started in 1616 and ended in 1774.

They needed a Project Labor Agreement methinks.

The Divine Mother of Love

A tribute to Varese's War Casualties

A fixer-upper

New bike, old alcove

Interesting Mural

I resisted this temptation

Truth be told, the shop was closed for lunch.

This place looked good

The next time I'm in Varese, I'll eat here.

If I can find it again.

Varese Court Building

Archer riding a bull

Isn't that an Olympic event?

Vanessa would be happy

I love these narrow pedestrian
only streets

Interesting alleyway

 Christmas dies slowly
in Varese

It was time to head home, but I got a good taste of Varese today.

Bart Iaccarino's Lazio Ducks
Italian DI schedule was announced

A rugged 12 game regular season and then the National Playoffs.

You better be in shape for this campaign Ducks.

In the evening I was invited to join former Skorpion Head Coach Giorgio Nardi and his wife Barbara for a ride into Milan where we would meet up with our Offensive Coordinator Gigi Brevin and his mate Martina and their families for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Parking on Milan's narrow streets
usually means invading
pedestrian territory
  
 This must be the place

A good, fun loving group
of diners

The food was good and so were the sangria, margaritas, mescal and the company.

GREAT fun tonight!

Of course the topic of American
football came up a few times

We even used coach's stationery, i.e., placemats and napkins to illustrate a few ideas.

Good times . . .

It's GREAT to be a Skorpion!

Friday, January 19, 2018

2018 FIDAF DII Schedule Finalized!


On Thursday, our official 2018 Varese Skorpions schedule was released.

FIDAF did the announcing

The Federazione Italiana Di American Football or FIDAF is the governing body for our sport at all levels in Italy.

YOUR Skorpions will play in
the 24 team Division II this season

The 2018 Varese Skorpions Schedule

Week 1
Saturday, February 24 at Varese Gorillas

 Week 2
Saturday, March 3 vs. Cagliari Crusaders

Week 3
March 10-11 BYE

 Week 4
Saturday, March 17 vs. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms

Week 5
March 24-25 BYE

Week 6
March 31-April 1 BYE

 Week 7
Saturday, April 7 vs. Sant'Agata Knights

Week 8
Saturday, April 14 at Sarzana Red Jackets

Week 9
April 21-22 BYE

 Week 10
Saturday, April 28 vs. Varese Gorillas

Week 11
May 5-6 BYE

 Week 12
Saturday, May 12 at Cagliari Crusaders

Week 13
May 19-20 BYE

Week 14
Saturday, May 26 at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms

2018 FIDAF Division II Playoffs

June 9 or 10 Wild Card Games

June 16 or 17 Quarter-Final Games

June 23 or 24 Semi-Final Games

July 7 or 8 Championship Game

It's GREAT to be a Skorpion!

A Stroll Through Venegono Inferiore and My First Skorpions Practice


Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Since the sun ALWAYS shines in Skorpion country, it came as no surprise that I awakened to a relatively warm (53°F) day.

As usual in Europe, my morning started with a walk foraging for sustenance.

Next to the Venegono Inferiore
train station

It is only about a ten minute walk from the Villa Skorpion and the coffee and brioche were perfect!

Since it is advertised as a Sardinian and Sicilian bar we should call it a cornetto not a brioche as they call it in northern Italy.

Fully nourished, it was time to do a little more exploration in Venegono Inferiore.

City Hall

Interesting Chimneys

Venegono Inferiore's
big church

Cinema Paradiso?

The big church is named for two
Saint Jacob and Saint Philip

It was nice inside

Its altar was nice as well

As was this candle holder

Pope John Paul II

Totus Tuus is Latin for All Yours

The church's bell/clock tower

The BVM ever vigilant

Gnarly old trees

restaurant at the far end
of this serene courtyard

The BVM stepping on
a hideous snake

How old is this structure?

Airing out the shoes after a workout

Always a good idea.

Interesting Street Name

This was the first time I've ever seen a street named after blood donators. 

Two cannons just outside of
the Venegono Inferiore Cemetery

Honoring the War Dead
from the village

Two mourned from World War I

Both died in 1918, one was a Sergeant who fell Albania, the other a Private who was slain in Germany.

A Private who died in World War II
in Germany in 1944

And a Sergeant who died fighting
in Russia

These two Venegono Inferiore natives died just 15 days apart in 1944 and have the same last name, Cremona.

In a village this small they were more than likely related in some way.

There were 43 of these name plates from WWI and WWII casualties in this mini-plaza in front of the cemetery.

Sad.

As for the cemetery itself . . .

. . . it was definitely upscale

Two big family crypts

All three of these Abatini family
members died at the age of 75

Hmm . . .

Nice Mosaic

Well, it was Thursday and after an afternoon doing odds and ends at the Villa, it was time for my first . . .

. . . Skorpions Practice!

We have an actual 100 yard field
where to practice and play games

The facility includes locker rooms too.

The local Art School for kids did
these murals

Good looking football

I don't like the look in those eyes

Originally, I had a practice planned but I went to Plan B at the last minute opting to observe how the Skorpions were used to practicing first.

After watching tonight, we will definitely be making a few changes at next Tuesday's practice. 

With Defensive Line Coach
Luca Pinto

Skorpion Team President
Aristide Mangano

Skorpion GM Enzo Petrillo
and his bride Nancy

Posing at practice with the
Skorpions U15 and U13 Flag Teams

The Seniors practice Tuesdays and
Thursdays from 8:30 pm-10:30 pm

Stance and Starts with the
Offensive Line

We only had five tonight, the bare minimum.

One had to leave and missed the last 20 minute of practice while another one hurt his shoulder boy ten minutes later.

Adapt, overcome and advance.

Offensive Coordinator Gigi Bravin
at work

Team Time

Surveying the Defense

The Offense had its moments
but the Defense was clearly ahead
at this early point of the campaign

That is normal at the start of any season.

Skorpion Field

When we left tonight, the outside temperature according to the car thermometer was a balmy -2°C/28°F.

Only two words came to mind, SCORPION WEATHER!

All in all,
It was a GREAT night for American Football!