Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Weeks of Catching Up World Wide

It has been a few weeks since I last posted, so here goes. . .


Since we last posted, the Vikings opened Pacific View League play with two games against the Camarillo Scorpions, got rained out of two games versus the Channel Islands Raiders and took on the Pacifica Tritons yesterday.

Mike's team continues to show signs of improvement and has their moments but they still don't have a win to show for their efforts.

First Pitch vs. Camarillo

The Go-Go Vikings in Motion

Bringing the Heat

Post-Game Talk after
the first Camarillo game

Making a Play


Frozen Rope to Left Field

Cup Check at Second Base


Hustling Down the Line!!!

You've got to be thinking as a base runner

Pop Up


Trying to gun down a Triton

Pitching and Catching

St. Patrick's Day Weekend

Andy came home. . . YAHOO!!!

Holtz Murphy and Dylan Moore
Two Irishmen enjoying St. Patty's Day

Ventura County Hogs
Orange County Lawmen

Mike's Hogs lost in overtime 14-7 and Andy took all of the photos of the game with him in his AWESOME Canon camera back to Las Vegas.

I did capture one photo of Mike at the post-game get together at Ventura's Crown Plaza Hotel sporting his new. . .

. . . Broken Nose

The Camarillo Ranch Barn

Scene of last Friday's Rio Mesa H.S. International Baccalaureate Art Show, the kids showed great artistic promise.


My cousin Ernesto and his wife Alicia fron Buenos Aires are in town so we had a nice dinner at Historic Casa Contreras in San Marino on Sunday as an excuse to visit.

Mike, Aunt Katica and my sister Linda

Ernie and Laurie

A GREAT Family Dinner


George, Laurie, Alicia and Ernie


2011 Italian Football League

The Catania Elephants, brandishing a new logo, started their 2011 season two weekends ago. Their opening game was a rematch of the 2010 IFL Super Bowl as the Elephants (8-2 in 2010) traveled to Parma (9-1 in 2010) to take on the Panthers who won said Super Bowl 56-26.

The Elephants came out fired up and won their season opener in a typical IFL defensive battle, 54-51.

Up next for the 1-0 Catania squad was another road trip, this time to Italy's Adriatic Sea coast for a contest with the 0-0 Ancona Dolphins. A combination of swelled heads, injuries and a very stout Ancona effort from the opening kickoff made for a LONG afternoon for our favorite Sicilians. The final gun sounded with the Dolphins (1-0) outlasting the Elephants (1-1)

Catania Elephants
2011 IFL Nine Game Schedule
March 20 at Parma Panthers (Won 54-51, 1-0)
March 27 at Ancona Dolphins (Lost 41-60, 1-1)

April 2 Bologna Doves
April 9 BYE
April 16 Reggio Emilia Hogs
April 23 BYE
April 30 BYE

May 7 Lazio Marines
May 14 at Milan Rhinos
May 21 at Bologna Warriors
May 28 Milan Seamen

June 4 Bolzano Giants

2011 Swedish American
Football Federation
Division I Södra

The Hässleholm Hurricanes are hard at work preparing for the start of their season. This coming Saturday the 'Canes will cross the Øresund for a scrimmage with Denmark's Kronborg Knights coached by former Hurricane coach Lonnie Hursey.

Last year Ryan, Laurie and I took the ferry to Helsingør, Denmark to watch the Knights play a home game. They lost that day but looked very good. Saturday should be a stern test for the revitalized Hurricanes.

Hässleholm Hurrican QB
William Cordeiro

All the gear that Ventura County high school coaches donated to the Hurricanes arrived. Here, Hurricane President Shawn Cordeiro's oldest son William, dons the new practice look of the Hässleholm Hurricanes/Bulldogs.


Hässleholm Hurricanes 2011 SAFF
Division I Södra Ten Game Schedule
April 23 at Kristianstad Predators
April 30 BYE

May 8 at Limhamn Griffins
May 15 at Ystad Rockets
May 22 BYE
May 28 at Lugi Vikings

June 5 BYE
June 11 Kristianstad Predators
June 19 BYE
June 26 BYE

July 2 at Ekeby Greys
July 9 Summer Break
July 16 Summer Break
July 23 Summer Break
July 30 Summer Break

August 8 Limhamn Griffins
August 13 Ystad Rockets
August 20 Ekeby Greys
August 27 Lugi Vikings

NINETEEN weeks to play ten games . . . only in Sweden.

Last year's Division I Södra Champion Kristianstad C4 Lions, 8-0 in the regular season, folded as a team a few weeks ago thus creating BYES in the schedule. This leads me to believe that there may be a revision or two in store for the schedule above.

Good luck to both teams in 2011!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Baseball, Track and Chapman University

The end of the work week featured Mike's Hueneme H.S. Frosh baseball squad playing Ventura H.S. on Wednesday, a track meet at Rio Mesa H.S. against Oak Park H.S. on Thursday and another talk about playing American football in Europe to college football Seniors at Chapman University on Friday.


Nice Fungo Bat

Mike warming up his team for another game.





Major Mid-Game Pow-Wow


The mighty Vikings were not able to pull this one out as their lack of experience hurt in stretches. Still, they also had a few innings that went quite well for them.

Gaining experience and learning more about the game will be the keys as they open Pacific View League play with two games against Camarillo H.S. next week.


Girls Varsity and JV Shot Put

I ran the Girls Shot Put events at the track meet. It went smoothly with only 18 girls total in the two events. Rio Mesa won both the Boys (89-38) and Girls (67-58) Varsity meets against Oak Park.

EuroBall Talk

Chapman University
Orange, California

The city of Orange is about 90 miles from Camarillo. Chapman University is an NCAA Division III school with an enrollment of about 4,000 students.

Our niece, Amy Hicks is one of the 4,000.

Thus, before meeting with Chapman's Seniors, Amy gave me a quick campus tour and led us to a very nice place for lunch called Rutabegorz. A happy-go-lucky sort, Amy graduates in December, GOOD FOR HER!

Entering Chapman's Quad Area

Court of Flags

Those are the stands for the Panthers' Swim Stadium behind the flags. Chapman's Athletic Offices are underneath the stands at ground level. On the back side of these seats are the seats for Chapman's Wilson Field where the football Panthers play their games.

I must say that Chapman has built many new and elegant facilities in the last few years, very impressive indeed.

The Italian Tri-Color

The Swedish Flag waving proudly

An Attentive Group of Chapman Seniors

We went at it for about 90 minutes and got a lot of their questions answered. Hopefully, some of them will get to Europe in the next year.

A big thanks to Chapman Head Coach Bob Owens and his staff for setting up this session.

The Panther

Wilson Field

After the talks, I met my college friends, Loren and Sandy Brucker, who both work in Orange. While I was waiting for them to arrive in Orange's interesting old downtown area known as the Orange Circle, I walked around the area doing a little window shopping. I saw some interesting things including. . .

First it was "Jews for Jesus," now this

I'm not sure what this is all about.

The Felix Continental Café

Nice atmosphere, great Cuban/Spanish food, moderate prices but most of all, a fun two hours enjoying Loren and Sandy's company over dinner.

What a great way to end the day. . . two hours, now that is very continental!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


On a wind-swept Monday afternoon in Ojai, California, the 2011 Hueneme High School Freshman baseball team opened their season against the Nordhoff Rangers nine.

Hueneme Coach Mike Contreras, red cap, exchanging the line-up card with the Nordhoff Coach and the Umpire

Mike continues his fledgling coaching career as the Frosh Vikings head man. This level of baseball requires equal parts patience, knowledge, patience, encouragement and even more patience with a very inexperienced team.


The Vikings got off to a good start with all nine batters coming to the plate in the first inning.

Stealing Second

The Hueneme nine was aggressive on the base paths.

Mike making sure everyone knew the situation

The Vikings led 2-0 after the top of the first but left three runners on base, not a good sign.

"Coach, go over the signs again please."

Bringing the Heat

Uh-Oh, the Rangers are on the move

The Nordhoff nine tied it up in the bottom of the first, 2-2.

Making a play deep in the hole


Fortunately, this one was a long foul ball down the right field line.


The final score favored Nordhoff 14-3 but the 0-1 Vikings played hard to the end. I was really proud of the way Mike used every situation, both positive and negative, as a learning tool for his boys.

They'll get better.

Next up, the home opener on Wednesday against the always dangerous Ventura Cougars.