Saturday, March 31, 2018

March Ends With a Good Battle in the Milan DI American Football Derby

Saturday, 31 March, 2018

On day number . . .

. . . of my European Adventure,
I attended an American football game

Leisurely Day

I stopped in at the train station, not to ride a train but to have a cappuccino with the family that runs the Sicilian café across the street before hitting the Esselunga Supermarket for needed supplies.

GREAT people!

The rest of the day was dedicated to laundry, cleaning the Villa Skorpion and watching more video of our next opponent, the Sant'Agata Knights.

Finally, in the late afternoon I drove for about 40 minutes towards Milan to attend . . .

. . . THE DERBY!

Milan's two powerhouse DI teams were meeting for their only regular season confrontation.

In 2016, the Rhinos were the Italian DI Super Bowl Champions having edged the Seamen 35-34 in the semi-finals.

These two clubs met again in the 2017 playoffs, this time for the DI championship, with the Seamen winning 37-29, avenging a regular season 26-10 loss to the Rhinos.

 The Seamen were 1-0 in IFL play
entering tonight's game

They had defeated the Bolzano Giants (2-2) 21-0 a few weeks ago.

The Seamen are also playing in the ten team European Football League tournament this Spring. They opened EFL playing last Saturday night in Spain beating the defending Spanish DI Champion Badalona Dracs 23-10.

Their next EFL game will be at home against a traditional French powerhouse team, the Thonen Black Panthers on May 12th.
 The Rhinos were 0-2

After going undefeated the past two regular seasons, the Rhinos have fallen upon some hard times.

Their first two IFL games this season have both been losses to the Florence Guelfi (4-0) 6-2 and to the Ancona Dolphins (2-1) 28-7. 

 Home of the Rhinos

How we ever travelled anywhere before the invention of GPS is still a mystery to me.

The drive to the Rhinos home field took me through some interesting and scenic countryside and villages.


I looked but did not buy anything.

For once.

Pre-game warm-ups were
just finishing when I arrived

The Rhinos decked out their crib

Opening Kickoff

The Rhinos came to play and caught the Seamen napping a bit as they jumped out to a surprising 13-0 First Quarter lead.

The Seamen would roar back in the
second stanza to lead 20-13 at the Half

 Though trailing, the Rhinos were
playing with great enthusiasm

 Nice sports complex but . . .

With the skies threatening, why were the unique two sided stands on the auxiliary fields covered while our main field stands remained al fresco to the impending inclement weather?

Oh well . . .

Second Half action

The Seamen went back to work and at the end of three periods led comfortably 32-13.

And then they relaxed . . .

The Fourth Quarter saw a valiant
comeback attempt by the Rhinos

Midway through the final quarter, the Rhinos had made things interesting by cutting the Seamen's lead to just 32-25.

All Rhino hope faded as the Seamen went on a punishing, ground oriented, seven minute non-scoring drive. They turned the ball over on downs at about the Rhinos' ten yard line.

A subsequent Seamen interception of an errant Rhino pass ended the contest.

A nerve wracking game for the
Seamen fans and coaches to be sure

 I'll bet the Final Score made them happy

It was after the game when I got to have some fun seeing some old friends on the field.

Giulio Romano

Giulio is the starting Left Guard for the Rhinos and even played a little at Nose Guard on defense tonight.

He was our starting Left Guard as well when I coached the 2008 and 2009 Catania Elephants based in Sicily.

Giulio is just full of life and an unforgettable character too.

Most importantly tonight, he has become a tremendous blocker.


Claudio Nicola

Claudio is an exceptional Defensive Lineman for the Rhinos.

Mild mannered and polite off the field, something dark happens to him when he puts on the pads.

Claudio is a high energy player that I enjoy watching compete.

I first met him last August when I coached the Europe Warriors Senior team in our contest in Mexico City against the University of Mexico Pumas.

When all of us who ate the lasagna at the Radisson Hotel got a bit of food poisoning one night, he didn't.

When queried why he had not tried the Italian dish that night, he was the one who responded "If I ever ate lasagna in Mexico, my Grandfather in Heaven would come down and slap me in the face!"

Words to live by . . .

Mike Wood

Mike is in his first season as the Head Coach of the Milan Seamen after several European campaigns in Germany, France and Italy as well as coaching some college football in the USA.

Mike has been our Defensive Coordinator with the Europe Warriors for both the Senior team game last August in Mexico City and the U19 game in December in Texcoco, Mexico against the Mexican U19 All-Star team.

A good word to describe Europe's #1 Ohio State fan and alumnus would normally be . . . INTENSE!

But after tonight's see-saw battle he appeared overall to be quite calm and in control of his emotions.

It was this quiet, confident side of Mike that I was not used to but liked greatly.

Nevertheless Mike, think TFD!

Skorpions Game Week is finally here!

After two consecutive BYE weekends, we'll be back at it at home next Saturday for the first of four games in the month of April.

Somehow, someway we have to . . .


Friday, March 30, 2018

Another Run for the Border

Friday, 30 March, 2018

It was Good Friday and it marked only . . .

. . . more days until the
Contreras Reunification!

I decided to cross the border again into the Swiss canton of Ticino to check out a few of the Lake Lugano villages that I saw prominently displayed on postcards the other day.

But first I needed to stop into Venegono Superiore's La Pasticceria di Davide Pisano for a morning pick-me-up.

Great Chocolate Easter Eggs

IF it ever warms up,
I'll try their gelato

It indeed pick-me-up for the 40 minute
drive into the Alps

And it cost a mere 2.40€!

Extremely cheap by Swiss standards as I found out the hard way only two days ago.

A Swiss roundabout that would
appeal to Laurie, Koreen FitzGerald
and Debi Murphy, I suspect

My first Lake Lugano stop was in . . .


A small, picturesque village
on Lake Lugano

A brand new church!

By "brand new" I mean it was built recently, by European standards, in 1784.

Nice view of the Alpine foothills
in the background

It was Good Friday,
let's go inside

A different looking
baptismal font

Bernini influenced columns

A small church with a
GRAND interior

Really GRAND!

Who would have guessed?

At the church's adjoining cemetery

A view of Lake Lugano from
the church . . .

. . . and another

A Grand Tour INDEED!

Trees along the Lakefront Promenade

The Milanese Sforza family crest

Interesting buildings with . . .

. . . this view

Ode to a Washer Woman

Thin lanes next to and behind
the lakefront buildings

They just begged to be explored, so I did!

Lakeside art

A second church

For once I followed my own rules and did not enter a second church today.

Provocative lanes

Indeed I am!

Colorful back alley scene

Gnome Power!

Lots of shade provided
on hot Summer days

Pastel colors for Easter Sunday

The people of Bissone
LOVE their colors

Arcades are a concession to the
wet, cold Winter weather

On a sunny day with Laurie,
this would have been a good spot
for a coffee break

Religious art was . . .

. . . prominently displayed

We have to improve our Camarillo
front doorway's art SOON! 

"My address s #18, no, #11,
no I'm not sure, just look for
the sign with the two snakes."

The view out the front door of . . .

. . . this house which . . .

. . . is For Sale!

Watch your step onto that balcony

Wait, what balcony?

Bissone City Hall on the left

Bissone was a pleasant city to visit, I need to return here later this Spring when the weather is more favorable.

Now it was onto . . .


Smart looking Smart car

Morcote is a warren of
interesting alleyways

Easter weekend

Wine oriented curtains

Cool mailbox

Exploration Lust

Angelic window decorations

Madonna, Child and Angel

Hotel and Church

An honorable looking gentleman

Just another colorful Swiss building

What a door handle!

The Holy Family

A mossy view of Lake Lugano

A lake boat in the distance

Interesting decorative choices

Lunch sounded good until
I saw the prices on the menu

Inviting wine shop

Equally inviting alleyway

I sat here for awhile to write a
few Old School post cards

I am still a big devotee of snail mail.

By the way, the post cards that I sent to family and friends in California and Nevada from Mexico City last August while coaching the Europe Warriors just arrived last week.

Seven months, now that's snail mail!

Again, it is Good Friday

Tribute to the men who worked
fishing Lake Lugano over the years

The interesting, short
Captain's Tower

The tower dates from 1249 A.D., I had to enter.

I like heraldry and on display in the
Captain's Tower were several
local family crests . . .

Ah, the sunny Alps!

Nice look for the Testorelli Family

There is a GREAT story behind
this family crest!

But I have no clue what it is.

Anti-Sforza Family?

A blue Pegasus is
always a good, bold option

Contented milk from contented cows

Which reminds me that I need to find out if there are any of the fascinating Swiss cow fights scheduled in the Ticino canton this Spring.

Swiss cow fighting you ask? Go to this 2012 blog post to check one out:

I guess that Lake Lugano fish
put up quite the struggle

In Italian, Martelli means Hammers

We have got to get this family to sponsor our Hammer-of-the-Game award!

The view out of the
Captain's Tower door

They will re-open when the Sun
comes back out I'm sure

Morcote was also a fun diversion but now it was time to head back to . . .


The arts and crafts shows that were scheduled to start today had peaked my interest when I visited Lugano on Wednesday. Thus the reason for my return visit.

Red canopies like these were all
over the historic area of the city

What's this?

Musicians were sprinkled throughout the pedestrian only streets as well.

I liked them

EXTREMELY tempting!

Who doesn't enjoy a good cannolo on a day like today? 

Are those two kids trying to
drink that HUGE beer?

Another, more lively band

Watch out for that guy . . .

. . . in the red coat!


Easter Bunny pie

But not for me!

Looks like a Bishop once lived at
what is now a Coop City Supermarket

Coop City had fantastic, large cheese pretzels on sale at a reasonable price.

For my 1965 high school graduation
my parents gave my an
Omega Seamaster De Ville watch

One of my most precious possessions, I still use it on formal occasions.

GREAT gift!

A Lugano tobacco shop

Expensive violins I suspect

One last view of Lake Lugano before
going home to the Villa Skorpion

Though overcast and threatening all day, it only misted a few times on my walks in Switzerland today.

Of course, all of the Swiss arcades help keep me dry when it did rain a bit harder.

When I got back on Italian soil, I found an interesting link to an Italian TV segment about our Skorpion Flag Football teams.

For some TV coverage of last
Sunday's Flag Tournament click here

It's all about good Public Relations to continue to build this program!

Don't forget the mantra . . .