Sunday, December 29, 2013

San Francisco's 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl - Washington vs. BYU

On Friday, Mike and I left Camarillo just after 6:00 a.m. for the six hour drive to Burlingame, California, which is a suburb to the south of San Francisco.

The reason for this trek was to watch the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl football game featuring the BYU Cougars (8-4) against our beloved Washington Huskies (8-4) at AT&T Park.

As you may know, AT&T Park is the baseball home of the San Francisco Giants and is a somewhat unique sight for college football.

After checking in to our hotel, we decided to take the Caltrain to the game instead of driving. The roundtrip fare was only $10 each and the line ended only one block from AT&T Park.

Burlingame's Quaint Train Station

Very Quaint

We had just missed the train so we had about a 45 minute wait until the next one and therefore time to explore beautiful downtown Burlingame.

Leaves at my Feet

You would almost have to say that
it was finally Autumn

Nostalgic Baseball Field
next to Burlingame H.S.

We had time for a croissant

By American standards, it was fine.

By French standards, not so much.

We boarded the Caltrain for the 30 minute ride to the game. The train squeaked and rolled a bunch but it got us there in one piece. Definitely a step in the right direction in the history of public transportation in California.

Mike and I outside AT&T Park

Now it was time to Fight Hunger at the University of Washington Alumni Association's Pre-Game Gala at Pedro's Cantina just across the street from AT&T Park.

Unfortunately, the UWAA's gala would not open for about another 20 minutes so we headed down to the end of the same block to a corner bar to tip an alcoholic beverage with dozens of Husky supporters. No BYU Cougar fans were in this fine establishment for some reason or other.

Pedro's Cantina was ROCKING!!!

The Husky Mascot was in the House

The Husky Band Leader helped
ignite the assembled Purple Multitude

A Taste of the Madness in
Pedro's Cantina

Because I was posting our whereabouts on Facebook, I was excited to be contacted by a special friend from our days coaching in Catania, Sicily . . .

Melissa Lodato and Denver Wade

First and foremost, CUTE COUPLE!

Denver went to high school in San Francisco and was home for the holidays with Melissa who he first met in Catania. 

Denver currently is teaching and coaching at a high school in Mississippi.

GREAT Young Coach

I found Denver to be an absolutely excellent offensive line coach when we were together with the Elephants back in 2009. He continues to do good things in coaching in his current roll as Defensive Coordinator at his Mississippi high school.

Small world.

Our GREAT bartender at Pedro's

She has two tattoos, the Pentagram on her left arm came first. She followed that up eventually with a Kyrie Eleison tattoo on her right arm.

She was in perfect harmonic balance all afternoon from what we could tell.

Finally, after about 2 1/2 hours of grazing at Pedro's Cantina's taco bar, we headed across the street because, at 6:30 p.m.  It was GAME TIME!!!

I was ready for the Huskies first
ever trip to the Fight Hunger Bowl

This was my 16th trip to a Husky Bowl game and I had watched the Dawgs go 8-7 in the previous 15 games.

Here's a list of our previous UW bowl game experiences with the winning games in purple: 

Pasadena, California's Rose Bowl seven times (1978, 1981, 1982, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2001)

Anaheim. California's Freedom Bowl twice (1985 and 1989)

San Diego, California's Holiday Bowl four times (1996, 1999, 2001 and 2010)

San Antonio, Texas' Alamo Bowl once (2011)

Las Vegas, Nevada's Las Vegas Bowl once (2012)

We needed to win!

Mike by the Willie Mays Statue
with his newest pal

The Giants two World Series Trophies
from 2010 and 2012

Our seats were in the Giants Club Section, so we were exposed to tons of Giants baseball history in various. and I must say excellent, display cases.

Jerry Garcia Bobble Head Doll

I kind of liked the Garlic Fest Bobble Head Doll a bit more.


The view from the Club Level
Section 228, Row E, Seat 9

I liked the UW uniforms for once, purple and gold with no black.

Bishop Sankey rushing for the UW

Sankey would rush for 95 yards and two TDs.

BYU Shield Punt

Not my favorite formation. While these three behemoths can definitely block, this formation leaves you with three players who are a liability should the punt returner break into the open field. There are also very limited in terms of punt fakes with these three players in the backfield in my opinion.

Mike intently watching the contest

Senior Husky QB
Keith Price's Last Game

Price had a quiet night passing for 123 yards and a TD.

More on Junior RB Bishop Sankey

Will he return for his senior season?

He is now tied for the most TDs in Husky career history with 38 after scoring twice in this bowl game.

Who is he tied with you ask?

All-American George Wilson who scored his 38 TDs in the 1923-25 seasons!

BYU QB Taysom Hill

He was the best player on the field in my opinion even though his team would lose.

He passed for 293 yards and ran for 133 yards and a TD.

Keith, you forgot the ball!

The Huskies got it back.

John Ross' 100 yard Kick Off Return


His return was the turning point of the game. The Cougars had much better stats but it was the Husky kicking game combined with good Red Zone defense that carried the day for the UW.

Huskies Breaking Up A Pass

Cougars Breaking Up A Pass

Sankey's last Husky TD ever?

We'll see soon enough.


The Huskies led 21-16 at the half but the second half was all UW!

It was a great tribute to the players and coaches after Steve Sarkisian had left for the USC job that they could play with such great effort for interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo.

Final Score:
Washington (9-4) 31 - BYU (8-5) 16

Can't wait for the Huskies to kickoff the 2014 campaign, their first under new Head Coach Chris Petersen, with four rugged (????) non-conference games against Hawaii, Eastern Washington, Illinois and Georgia State.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Christmas x 3

Our wonderful Christmas Day was actually a three day event in 2013 starting on Sunday and all took place at Casa Contreras in sunny, breezy Camarillo.

Sunday, December 22nd
Hicks Family Christmas

The activities started with Laurie's sister's family, the Hicks, joining us for a great afternoon reunion that also featured our two sons and their families.

Kevin was in from Las Vegas

He was laying low before the craziness started.

Kevin attacking his Uncle Mike

Cousin Jacob was shocked by this totally unprovoked assault on his father.

Kevin Pins Uncle Mike

With more than a little help from his friends I might add!


Jenn with son Kevin on the left
and nephew Mike on the right

She was a calming influence throughout the day.

The day's best present for Jacob
might have been this empty box

 Andy, Laurie and Mike

My Unholy Trinity.

We should REALLY get
together more often

Tom Selleck Mug

Mike could not have been any more excited. 

 Kevin was pretty pleased too

"Don't worry, we can't get in trouble
for this."

Can we?  

Climbing in the ancestral
Casa Contreras tree was FUN!!!

Contreras-Hicks Families Group Photo

Monday, December 23rd
Contreras Brothers Christmas

On Monday night, we got together again to eat traditional Christmas pizza while doing another gift exchange. This time it was just our two sons and their wives and children.

Remembering our friends in Italy,
Sweden, Switzerland and France

Lots of Presents to be sure

 What could this be?

Kevin: "Jacob, you are going to
share this with me, right?" 

Jacob: "No, but we can jump
on it together!"


Reading is FUNdamental!

Jenn, Kevin, Mike and Jacob

Taking a breath before even more presents get opened.

 Laurie loved her Minion T-Shirt

Laurie and Jenn enjoying a moment

Mike enjoying his hand-made
NPHS scarf from Laurie

Engineer Kevin about to blow his
new Train Whistle

I LOVE Alphonse Mucha artwork!

He was a fabulous Czech artist whose work I first fell in love with on a visit to Prague in 2008.

Reading up on Sherlock Holmes'
Special Self-Defense Techniques

A Football + Elmo = BLISS!!!

Bye-Bye Kevin 

Kevin, Jenn and Andy would be heading back to North Las Vegas on Tuesday morning to celebrate some more with Jenn's family.

We'll see them again soon in Nevada.

Wednesday, December 25th
Contreras Family Christmas

Finally, on Wednesday, my family made the annual pilgrimage to Camarillo to celebrate the special day.

My sister Linda with cousins
Max and Jacob

Max is our sister Marilyn's grandson.

Linda, a Nerf Football and Jacob

This could be good.

I don't think he caught this pass . . .

. . . Or completed this one

"Working as one of Santa's Elves
was REALLY heard work"

Jacob explaining his difficult life with his great Aunt Katie and Great Grandmother Chuny.

My sister Marilyn with her Grandson Max

What a fun addition to our growing Contreras Clan!

Lorenzo feeding his wife Lauren
as their son Max wonders why
he is going hungry???

Laurie did a splendid job again cooking a sumptuous Christmas meal!

Jacob explaining the art of reading
to Katie and Chuny 

"It's . . .

Vanessa and Mike were happy, Jacob . . . NOT SO MUCH!

 Football Guys!!!

Now THAT'S more like it!

"It's OK for me to play with these,
isn't it Grandpa?"

Jacob teaching Linda how to use
an iPad

Three GREAT days of family, food and revelry. Christmas was truly excellent this year!