Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Day Dedicated to the Arts

Wednesday, 19 February, 2020

As any regular reader of this blog readily knows, while living abroad I like visiting churches and museums to admire the wonderful, ancient examples of art in its various forms that Europeans have fashioned over the millennia.

Thus, I dedicated today to the arts in general and the discipline of painting in particular.

In the morning, I headed down to the Villa Skorpion II's underground cantina art workshop to ply my craft.

Being that the building that houses the Villa Skorpion II dates from 1410 A.D., the rumors that Leonardo da Vinci once painted in this very same cantina as a young man are certainly highly possible.

 My Red Period
started in the cantina

Much of the art in Italy is, rightfully so in this most Roman Catholic of countries, of a Christian religious nature.

Instead, I opted to go pagan instead.

I titled my opus . . .

. . . Thor and His Children

I'm not quite finished yet as I think that all nine of these objects need a little more work.

Maybe the Skorpions at practice tomorrow night can inspire me further on how to finish my masterpiece.

In between my artwork, the call of laundry, some light reading, house cleaning and, finally, planning how to accomplish the final things that our football team needs in order to be ready to play our season opener in just ten more days/three more practices took up a stay at home day.

Not every day living in Italy is a series of dynamic, action packed tourist activities.

But a lot truly are thank goodness . . . 

A Drive in the Country and a Practice

Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

After finishing up the breakdown of our Lugano scrimmage video this morning, I opted for a drive in the surrounding countryside with a purpose.

Two years ago, on our way to Lugano for our scrimmage with the Rebels, I rode with Giorgio Nardi for my first trip to Switzerland as a Skorpion. At that time, I still did not have access to my own vehicle, was new to the area, really had no clue of what roads we were taking on our way into Switzerland and we were driving at night.

On that mystery road that we took that evening, we passed a lit up ristorante next to an interesting waterfall. In the two years since that drive I had never found that same road to investigate this ristorante in more detail.

Until Sunday morning . . .

This year on our way to the scrimmage, I followed Giorgio in my own car and he led us on that same road as two years ago.

Voilà! I now knew how to find the waterfall ristorante that was actually not too far from the Villa Skorpion II.

Thus, this afternoon, I drove on that mystery road to . . .

. . . this brewery/ristorante/waterfall

An interesting looking spot for a
ristorante that was closed today

The waterfall is on the left
and the grotto is on the right

I parked by this gnarly tree

Due to the lack of any measurable
precipitation the last five weeks,
the waterfall was flowing gently today
The grotto looked interesting

A palm tree in the
Alpine foothills?

The water falls from there . . .

. . . to here

I decided to continue to retrace last Sunday's drive a bit longer to the lakeside city of Lavena Ponte Tresa. 

The snow capped Alps
framed in the distance

Lavena Ponte Tresa's mini-marina

A doorway to the lake

The drive was a good mental health break for me but it was time to get ready for another night of Skorpions football.

I stopped on the way to practice at the Belforte Shopping Mall for a much deserved gelato where I saw this . . .

The Peppa Pig show is everywhere

The Women's and U17 flag teams
were scrimmaging when I arrived
at Skorpion Field

QB Sofia Petrillo going deep!

U17 defenders closing in on
WR Arianna Donati

GREAT shorts!

 U15 QB Davide
showing off his arm

 We enjoyed a spirited practice
at the Senior level tonight

 Looks like a play action
pass coming up to me

Our young Offensive Line continues
to battle every practice

We now have only three more practices until our season opener at home on 29 February against the Modena Vipers as we still have a lot of work to do to be sure.

Monday, February 17, 2020

A Little Reading, Another School Session and an Evening with HUDL

Monday, 17 February, 2020

My morning was devoted mostly to reading while I awaited yesterday's scrimmage video to be uploaded to our HUDL app for analysis.

As timing would have it, the video was finally available to me just as I was leaving the Villa Skorpion II for today's school session.

We met our two Fifth Grade
classes in the gym at
this Junior High School

 These ten year olds were
attentive as they donned their
flag belts for the first time

The lesson today was simple

The children were going to learn how to pull someone's flags and avoid getting them pulled at the same time.

Can you get across the gym
without losing a flag?

There was lots of running today
in both classes

Of course, we still threw
the ball a bit too

Pietro Caprioli posted this video
of one of our best offensive plays
of the Lugano scrimmage

TD catch by Masch!

In the evening, I started my
HUDL scrimmage video breakdown

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Any Inspector Montalbano book
is a good read in my opinion

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Solid Scrimmage in Switzerland vs. the Lugano Rebels

Sunday, 16 February, 2020

After five long and somewhat tedious weeks of practice, it was finally time to take the field against an opponent other than ourselves.

We headed north about 45 minutes by car to Switzerland for our annual scrimmage early this morning.

Italy's Varese Skorpions


Switzerland's Lugano Rebels
at 10:30 a.m.

We car pooled from a frosty
Skorpion Field at about 8:30 a.m.

Skorpions gathering for our
first road trip of 2020

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for
American football in Switzerland!

We were warming up on a synthetic
turf field next to Lugano's Soccer Stadium

FC Lugano's seventh place Swiss Super League team would be playing a home game later this afternoon against the second place BSC Young Boys from the Swiss capital city of Bern.

It was FC Lugano in an upset today, 2-1 over the BSC Young Boys.

 Always nice to have
the Alps for a backdrop

The Rebels kicking off to start things
in what would be a 95 play scrimmage

Skorpion Field Goal block team

Good pressure by #57
LB Stefano Lusuriello

Rebels on offense running
a Counter play

Skorpions on the Goal Line

 First and Ten,

Speaking of Young Boys . . .

My third annual traditional post-Lugano scrimmage photo with the legendary OL/DL Luca Pinto.

Luca is a former Skorpions player who has coached our DL the past two seasons.

Due to Italy's 48 years of age playing limit, he can no longer play with any Italian club.

Since Switzerland has no age limit for players, he has been playing for the Rebels the past three seasons.

Luca is now 51 years old and played Offensive Guard and Defensive Tackle the entire scrimmage today.

I think that it is safe to say that he is passionate about our great game of American football.

This scrimmage was a good one for us today.

We had three goals in mind for this scrimmage.

First, find out what we can do well. As it turns out, we had several strong points today.

Two highlights were outstanding hits by Sergio "Mizu" Montalbetti on a Kickoff Return and an absolute snot bubbler by LB Elia Aquilano on Defense.

Both clean hits would be $30,000 fines and three game suspensions in the NFL. Interpol may be called in to investigate.

I thought that our pass blocking was solid all day.

Many of our new, young players showed that they can contribute this season.

Second, find out where we need more work.

Better tackling and a much more consistent rushing attack come to mind.

Finally, come out of the scrimmage healthy.

Thank goodness, we suffered nothing but the usual bumps and bruises that are common with any American football practice.

On the drive home, some of us stopped off at the Grotto Bagat Ristorante and Pizzeria in Lavena Ponte Tresa, Italy for a meal.

We waited to dine until we drove back across the Swiss-Italian border as everything costs much less in Italy.

The Grotto Bagat sits next to an
arm of the huge Lago di Lugano

Ten Skorpions, Ten Pizzas

Sharing a pizza is not really a thing in Italy.

Here, everyone gets there own pizza and then it is mangia, Mangia, MANGIA!

It was another positive step forward today for the Skorpions. 

The Italian DII season starts in less than two weeks now when the Skorpions host the Modena Vipers on Saturday, the 29th of February.

Stay tuned . . .

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Scrimmage Prep Day

Saturday, 15 February, 2020

The morning was spent tying up lots of loose ends in preparation for Sunday's scrimmage against the Rebels in Lugano, Switzerland.

Once that mission was accomplished, it was off to Skorpion Field to help with our U13, U15 and U17 flag team practices.

The U13s warming up

U15s and U17s practicing
flag pulling

U13s scrimmaging

Will he catch it?

Nope, not this time.

This one was indeed complete

U17s going at it

 Somebody needs to make
a play on the ball!

On the way home after practice, I stopped off at the annual French Market in downtown Varese to get some supplies.

One jar of Dijon honey mustard,
s'il vous plait

Should make for some interesting prosciutto sandwiches in the next few days.

Two croissants and
a pain au chocolate to go,
s'il vous plait

When it comes to these two French specialties, I have absolutely no willpower.

Warm and, oh so buttery.