Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Looooong Super Bowl LII Monday

Monday, 5 February, 2018

It was time once again for yet another Super Bowl experience in Europe.

What is unique here is the timing of, and thus dedication to, the game that American football fans on the Continent must have on this last day of the NFL season.

You see, while the game in California kicks off at an easy to deal with 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, in Europe it starts at 12:30 a.m. on Monday.

For me, Super Bowl LII would be my fifth European experience watching the game in the wee hours of a Monday morning.

My four previous experiences were:

2008 in Catania, Italy for Super Bowl XLII, Giants 17 - Patriots 14

2009 in Catania, Italy for Super Bowl XLIII, Steelers 27 - Cardinals 23

2013 in Lyon, France for Super Bowl XLVII, Ravens 34 - 49ers 31

2015 in Murcia, Spain for Super Bowl XLIX, Patriots 28 - Seahawks 24

For this one I would be in
Gornate Superiore, Italy . . .

. . . for another great pre-game meal

I met our Skorpions Offensive Coordinator Luigi "Gigi" Bravin in the Trattoria di Torba bar for a late night café at 10:00 p.m. Sunday night before driving another five minutes to the home of Antonio Raffaele for our Super Bowl viewing party.

We were scheduled to share a late Sunday night dinner with some Milano Seamen players at the Raffaele home before kick off.

Gigi with our hosts Antonio and Anna
admiring a small portion of our food fest

Antonio plays for the defending Italian Super Bowl champion Milano Seamen and has played a wide variety of positions for the club.

He has been a large part of three Italian Super Bowl champion Seamen squads over the years.

Antonio's Father Luigi
staking an early claim to his
Super Bowl seat

Back in the day, Luigi was one of Italy's finest linebackers and actually played on the same team with Antonio years ago.

He looked like he was still good for a four more physical plays of a defensive Goal Line stand.

It was quite obvious even to
this casual observer who this
Milano Seamen, Marco "Aluz,"
was rooting for this morning

Marco arrived with two other Seamen in tow, Andrea "Louis" and Alberto "Micio."

Skorpions' RB coach, Cristian "Bumba" Bianchi also joined us for the fun and fellowship.

It seems that everybody in Italy has a nickname.

With Papa Luigi Raffaele

We shared both great bread from Naples and a good dinner table conversation, Luigi in Italian and me in Italian body language.

We understood each other perfectly!

I think.

mangia, Mangia, MANGIA!

Gigi brought a series of sauces that his Mother made to use with the fondue starters and the delicious bread from Naples.

Everyone was engaged in the lively
conversation, great food and adult beverages

While each and every morsel that we ate was good, the star of the meal was Antonio's BBQ pulled pork.

You see, Antonio, besides being a great American football player for the Seamen, has also trained to become a BBQ chef.

In his back yard he proudly showed us the fancy BBQ that he made himself to properly slow cook the pulled pork starting about 14 hours before we sat down to eat.

Now, let it be said that I've enjoyed excellent BBQ pulled pork in North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and California BBQ joints over the many years.

What Antonio made for us tonight was right there with the best I've ever had. It was so good that I said no to the BBQ sauce, the meat's flavor and tenderness stood alone for me.


On to the game . . .

Our TV feed was from the NFL network in Italy, not the one you watched at home on NBC with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth announcing.

I'm not sure who our announcers were on this feed but they gave a solid performance in English.

The only drawback was that we did not see any of the famed Super Bowl commercials. Instead we cut to a studio some where in Italy where four Italian commentators gave us their opinions of the recent plays.

The moderator looked like he had just graduated from high school.

One expert commentator was a noted Italian fashion journalist.

Another expert was a famous Italian calico (soccer) player.

Our final expert was a journalist who specializes in all American based sports.

I'm not 100% sure of what they were saying but everybody in the house was howling at the TV about their absurd and uninformed their comments.

The Fashion Journalist on the left
with the All-American sports journalist

The calcio star mercifully left the stage at halftime, it was way past his bedtime apparently.

On a happy note, our moderator received an acceptance e-mail from the University of Bologna at halftime. From what I could tell, it was his #1 college choice.

As you know, it was a great game to watch unless you are defensively oriented.

The Eagles won their first Super Bowl
in franchise history on their 3rd attempt

In the pre-Super Bowl era, Philadelphia had won NFL championships in 1948, 1949 and 1960.

The Eagles came up short in their previous two Super Bowls. 

They lost in Super Bowl XV to the Oakland Raiders 27-10 and again in Super Bowl XXXIX to the New England Patriots 24-21.

With Pietro Caprioli Saturday night

Pietro is a die hard Eagles fan and was, I'm sure, the happiest man in Italy Monday morning!

The game ended at 4:20 a.m. local time. After the 15 minute drive home I went to bed for a few hours for some much needed rest.

I opted to take an afternoon train north to the southern shore of Lake Maggiore.

Laveno was my goal city

As I said, it is on the southern
edge of Lake Maggiore
It has a solid Train station about
100 meters from . . .

. . . the Ferry Boat dock

The main attraction of this small town is its easy access via water routes to various glorious spots along this huge lake.

A ferry boat was just pulling out

Laveno's quaint little harbor

The ferry boat is way out there now

On a raw, wet Monday in early February, the town of Laveno would be quiet but still worth some exploration.

 Maria Madre della Chiesa

It was nice inside but not noteworthy in my opinion.

An Old Gate

A Warm Entryway

The fountain on
Piazza Fontana

A Rusty Door Lock

That reminds me,
two of the Murphy Clan, Ian and Cyndy,
have recently announced their engagements

Free drinking water for all!

This might be the home of the hero
of the classic Italian movie
"Cinema Paradiso"

Colorful Door

I liked this hero's mustache

Ali Baba and the 40 Pizzas

Their kebab and a Coke Zero hit the spot for my return trip to the Villa Skorpion.

Speaking of returns, Laurie and I will take a ferry boat ride from Laveno more than once I would venture later this Spring.


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