Monday, July 1, 2019

The Italian National Championship Tournament of Women's Flag Football: Day I


Saturday, 29 June, 2019

Game Day was upon us once again in the city of Catanzaro located near the toe of Italy's boot-like peninsula in the region of Calabria.

We were here with our Skorpion squad to play in the Sixth Annual Women's Flag Football Italian National Championship Tournament.


Even though the stadium was only a few hundred meters from the Ionian Sea, it was still sultry with temperatures in the low 90°F range that was magnified by the ancient artificial turf that was installed by Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus in 12 A.D.

Still we played on . . .

It was to be a two day tournament

Saturday would feature the top eight teams in Italy each playing three games in Pool Play. Based on Saturday's results, each team would play an additional two games to determine the final eight places in the tournament.

In a P.C. mode, even the three other Italian teams that did not qualify for the championship bracket were here to play each other once on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Our all-inclusive governing body

Our young Skorpion squad entered the day with the #3 seed in the tournament. No mean feat for a team playing in their first year as a team with at least half of the nine woman roster playing their first year of flag football ever.

The day started with a good
breakfast in the team hotel

About four other tournament teams were staying in the hotel with us.

The Grosetto Cudere squad at the near
table with the Skorpions behind them

Go Skorpions GO!

Everything was going smoothly until I noticed this woman in the hotel's lobby that just kept staring at me no matter what I was doing or where I was standing.

She creeped me out

The Grosetto Cudere's
cool logo

Game fields

The Tournament Board

Our Pool B was made up of the #2 seeded Catania Pink Elephants, our #3 seeded Varese Skorpions, the #6 seeded Trieste Ranzide and the #7 seeded Palermo Mustangs.

Getting ready for the
all-important document check

Catania Pink Elephant Coaches
Valeria and Peppe Strano
wearing cool socks as always

GREAT people who we got to know when we coached the Catania Elephants back in 2008 and 2009.

Team photo

Enzo imparting his final
words of wisdom

I was on top of my game as the
team's Head Hydration Specialist

GAME ON!

First up was the experienced squad from Trieste, the Ranzide. They finished second in this tournament last year but we had beaten them two weeks ago in the qualifying tournament in Bergamo.

That's a lot of hair

Tex with a catch

Sofia slinging the rock

Tex again with the reception

Marta had a good day

Defense!

Arianna pressuring the Ranzide QB

We just did not play well in our first game as the Ranzide's experience and poise in the heat equalled a 33-7 loss for our Skorpions.

Skorpion Coach Dario D'Adelfio
with a gift basket from his old team
the Palermo Sharks to the Skorpions

What could it be?

Arancini for EVERYONE!

A Sicilian specialty that Laurie and I love! The flag teams here are all friendly and go the extra mile for each other.

Refreshing.

Time to re-group for Game Two vs. the Palermo Mustangs.

 Arianna again on the blitz

 Laura going for the flag

Tex with a tough catch

 Always steady Agnese with a grab

Vito shows GREAT promise in
the field of Hydration Science

 It was SCORCHING!

Sofia rolling out

Tex yet again with a catch

Is anyone going to cover Tex?

The heat was getting to our feet
and was definitely in our heads

We picked a bad time to be playing our worst football of the year.

We lost to the Mustangs by a score of 39-15.

We had one more game to play and it was against the #2 seeded, defending National Champion Catania Pink Elephants.

During the break, we did a lot of things as coaches to settle our girls down and re-focus our efforts.

Catania Pink Elephants
Head Coach Peppe Strano

 Into the breech one more time!

 Tex was open in the middle

Catania DC Valeria Guglielmino with
husband and HC Peppe up the line

 Sofia under duress

Laura with the catch . . .

. . . she could go . . .

. . . ALL THE WAY!
Six points Varese!

Sofia pitching the ball to Laura

 Laura had a great game against
the Pink Elephants

 Sofia throwing with hair in her face

Four Verticals

We played our best game of the day vs. the Pink Elephants but it was not enough as the Catania squad prevailed 25-12.

Going 0-3 in Pool Play was definitely not what we planned on doing today.

On Sunday we would be playing in two games to determine fifth through eighth places in the tournament.

Laura's feet after the game
prune like from all of the
unusual shoe watering on the
hot artificial turf

In the evening we put the disappointing day behind us the only way Italians can, by meeting as a family for dinner to enjoy each others company.

What a nice, park with cool
temperatures making it a
"Good Evening!"

FIDAF had organized a huge team meal for all 11 squads at a nearby outdoor ristorante in a large park.

Any park with a Darth Vader
statue is a good one, yes?

A good meal with friends and friendly opponents was the right way to end a long day.

What will Sunday bring?

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