Sunday, March 31, 2013

2012-2013 Division III Sud Poule C Champions

David Lassen of the Riverside, California Press-Enterprise newspaper wrote two nice articles about Falcons' QB John van den Raadt and French football that appeared in today's paper and on their blog.

You can link up to the printed article at:

The more detailed blog article can be found at:


#21 is CB Ibel Ahidazan
French Junior National Team

Ibel plays for the Falcons Cadet team but was selected to play for the French National Junior team that played a high school all-star team from the USA yesterday near Paris.

I am very proud to say that Ibel started at CB and played most of the game. The USA squad won the match by a final score of 19-0.

The Falcons' Cadet team (2-0) played today at home and beat the Lyon Gones 27-16. Good job Cadets!

Easter Sunday the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons boarded the bus at 9:30 a.m. for the three hour bus ride to destiny and the Alpine village of St-Cergues, France near Geneva, Switzerland.

Papi Bastiand gave me a present on the bus,
what could it be? 

A DARK Chocolate Easter Egg

It never made it back to Lyon . . .

The Falcons (6-0) were playing the Bulldogs (5-1) for the right to claim the championship of the league and Poule C's #1 National Playoff seed.

France is not known worldwide for its high levels of organization and the Falcons are not immune from this cultural trait. I was excited that all 36 players who said they would be playing today did just that despite it being Easter Sunday, the morning after the change to Daylight Savings Time and such a long bus trip to the game.

One problem did come up. We counted out our white jerseys and we only had 24 in our possession, fully a dozen short of what we needed. The tradition with the Falcons is that a player who made a bonehead play in the previous game takes the jerseys home, washes them and brings them back for the next match. The Junior team last used the white jerseys last Sunday and the player in question had not returned them. A quick cell phone call to his house got our bus rolling to meet him there and pick up the much needed shirts.


Nice Goal Post Pad Cover 

 The Dawg House

 The Bulldogs Field had a nice view
of the French Alps

Maison Jeunesse Culture

The Dawg House is actually an M.J.C. which means that the roots of this building lie somewhere deep in post-WWII history when the French Communist Party was pushing for these types of structures to be built throughout France. We even have one about one km from The Villa here in Bron.


Swing Pass from
John van den Raadt to Thibaud Rontet

The Bulldogs got a nice return out to the 40 yard line on the game's opening kickoff but the Falcons' defense forced a Three and Out Punt. It was a poor punt.

The Falcons struck quickly as QB John van den Raadt exploded on 53 yard run for the games first TD. Fred "Papi" Bastiand added the PAT. The Falcons led 7-0.

The Buldogs got a first down but ended up punting.

The Falcons moved the ball but turned it over on downs at the Bulldogs' 27 yard line.

The Bulldogs picked up a second first down but turned the ball over on downs at the Falcons' 40 yard line.

John van den Raadt hit WR Pierro Theyssier with a 49 yard bullet for six points. Papi's PAT was true again and the Falcons led 14-0.

Falcons Geoff Moulton and David Ollagnier combined for a big hit on the ensuing kickoff. The Bulldogs were on the march as the First Quarter ended with the Falcons in command 14-0.


One BIG Dog!

The Bulldogs' drive is aided by a roughing the punter call and a dead ball personal foul. They finish the drive with a one yard QB sneak for a TD. The PAT is no good. The Falcons are still ahead 14-6.

The big play of the next Falcons drive is a 31 yard pass from vasn den Raadt to WR Gaetan Tafa. Short yardage specialist QB Mathieu Paredes runs a QB Wedge for a one yard TD. The PAT is wide right but the boys from Bron-Villeurbanne was rolling along with a 20-6 advantage.

The Bulldogs are threatening as the half comes to an end with the Falcons leading 20-6.

It was not our best half of football this season.


MLB #52 Matt Fayard closing in
on another tackle

Thibaud Rontet has an excellent kickoff return but the Falcons can not take advantage as we turn the ball over on downs at the Bulldogs' 28 yard line. It was on this drive that French refereeing took a decided turn for the worse.

About five yards from our sideline a very obvious Bulldog face mask penalty occurs but the side judge does not throw a flag. Our offensive coordinator yells at him for badly missing the call at which point the ref turns, says "No it was not a face mask!" and then proceeded to grab our coach around the neck and shoulder area and shake him to show how the tackle "really" happened. Needless to say, our coach went off verbally on the ref who then threw a 15 yard penalty on our coach. In the meantime, another referee with the gift of sight had called the original face mask penalty from the other side of the field.

Simply put no coach should ever grab a ref in anger and, conversely, NO REF SHOULD EVER LAY HANDS IN ANGER ON A PLAYER OR COACH!!!

It's in the Napoléonic Code. You can look it up.

Meanwhile, back at the game . . .

The Bulldogs were forced into a second Three and Out Punt. The snap sailed over the punter's head to about the 10 yard line and the punter's hurried punt went out of bounds at the 25 yard line giving the Falcons a short field.

Brice Rontet had a nice 14 yard run on fourth down to set up Mathieu Paredes' second one yard QB Wedge TD. Papi Bastiand splits the uprights and the Falcons were cruising 27-6.

On the kickoff, Falcons Special Teams Captain, Steven "Gypsy King" Berthomier made a great tackle at the Bulldogs nine yard line. The Falcons finally started playing rock 'em, sock 'em defense like they can and had a very dominant Three and Out Punt, their third one of the afternoon.

The Falcons' offense stalled and we had a dreaded Three and Out Punt of our own.

The Bulldogs suffered another Three and Out Punt. Defense is really playing well.

The Falcons go Three and Out Punt again but David Ollagnier makes a solid punt tackle on the Bulldogs' eight yard line as the Third Quarter comes to a close with the Falcons ahead 27-6.


Thibaud Rontet following his
brother Brice's block

Defense, Defense, DEFENSE!!! Bulldogs go Three and Out Punt for the fourth time in the match.

The Falcons fumble the ball after a vicious but clean hit by the Bulldogs.

On the next play, Falcons OLB David Ollagnier intercepts a Bulldogs' pass.

The big play on this drive is a 44 yard pass from van den Raadt to Gaetan Tafa. Paredes scores his third one yard QB Wedge of the day and Bastiand is perfect again on the PAT. Falcons are cruising 34-6.

Guess what? Bulldogs Three and Out Punt #5 as MLB Matthieu Fayard has a great series stopping the Bulldogs' Lead Option play all by himself.

QB Bruno Chapuis hits WR Bastien "Baba" Vincent with a 13 yard TD pass and Bastiand is good as gold again on the PAT. Bron-Villeurbanne is leading 41-6.

The Bulldogs take a knee to end the game.

The final score is Falcons (7-0) 41 - Bulldogs (5-2) 6.

With victory, the Falcons earn the title . . .
2012-2013 Division III
Sud Poule C Champions!!! 


2013 Senior Division III Playoffs
Start the Weekend of April 27-28 

Week # 9 Game Results
Bron-Villeurbanne 41 - St-Cergues 6
Clermont-Ferrand 7 - Chambéry 6
BYE: Lyon

Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons 7-0 *
St-Cergues Bulldogs 5-2 **
Chambéry Aigles 2-4
Lyon Gones 1-5
Clermont-Ferrand Servals 1-5
* Sud Poule C Champions
** #2 Sud Poule C Playoff Bid 

Week #1o Games
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Clermont -Ferrand (1-5) at Bron-Villeurbanne (7-0)
Lyon (1-5) at Chambéry (2-4)
BYE: St-Cergues (5-2)

I'm exhausted from a long day on a bus, a mentally draining game in the Sun and too much chocolate but I know that I'll be feeling better soon because I have only . . .

More Days until Paris!!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rainy Recovery Saturday

Saturday was another rainy day in Lyon. Between laundry, looking at a couple of videos that I checked out of the library, last minute game preparations and just plain being tired from the trip to Dijon on Friday, it quickly became a stay-at-home day for me.


On Sunday, the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (6-0) will leave their home by recliner bus at 9:30 a.m. for the long ride towards the Northeast to play the St-Cergues Bulldogs (5-1).

With only one game left on our regular season schedule after tomorrow, this game will decide the the champion of our league and seeding into the National Playoffs that start at the end of April.

The first game between the two clubs was back on February 17th in Bron where the Falcons prevailed 28-7.

On the plus side for this contest, we have had a very good week of practice.

The negatives are threefold.

The first issue is that teams in EuroBall tend to field smaller numbers anytime that they travel.

Second, we are playing at 2:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

Finally, Europe switches to Daylight Savings Time late tonight.

All of these issues make me hold my breath to see who is on the bus at such a relatively early hour for us.

Here is a quick recap of our seasonal results/schedule:
Falcons 21 - @Lyon Gones 7
@Falcons 18 - Chambéry Aigles 0
@Falcons 28 - St-Cergues Bulldogs 7
@Falcons 35 - Lyon Gones 6
Falcons 47 - @Clermont-Ferrand Servals 0
Falcons 34 - @ Chambéry Aigles 13
March 31, Falcons @ St-Cergues Bulldogs (5-1)
April 14, Clermont-Ferrand Servals (1-5) @ Falcons 

Long Trip

We are heading to the Alps tomorrow.

The weather predictions are for a high temperature of 39ºF/4ºC with snow-showers. In other words . . .


As you can see on this map, St-Cergues, while in the Haute-Savoie region of France, is actually Northeast of Geneva, Switzerland. Lac Léman is known as Lake Geneva in English.

More Signs of Spring

I had to make an emergency trip into Lyon to buy printer ink as our cartridges ran dry and I had a lot of charts to print out for the Bulldogs game.

So much for a relaxing stay-at-home Saturday at The Villa.

No matter, because when it was all said and done, I realized that I only have . . .

More Days Until My Paris Weekend!!!

Travel Friday: Lunch with Dijon's Two American Football Legends

Another Travel Friday and this time I opted for a trip two hours by train to the North to the Côte d'Or region. The goal city was the ancient capital of Burgundy, the beautiful city of Dijon. I was looking forward to good food, good wine, art, architecture, an interesting lunch and, of course, some mustard. 

Gare de Mâcon-Ville

I had to leave The Villa bright and early to catch the 5:00 a.m. 25 bus to Gare Part-Dieu to board the local TER train to Dijon at 6:16 a.m.

As usual, I had to wait in the lobby for the announcement as to which track my train could be found. Finally the Big Board flashed that Track E was the one I needed.

I was mildly surprised to find that the train was on the track waiting for me to board. Usually you arrive at the designated track and have to wait five to ten minutes for the train to arrive. I asked the porter if it was the train to Dijon and she said yes, so I boarded.

A few minutes later we zoomed out of the station 16 minutes early. I quickly figured out that something was amiss as no French train ever leaves early. I was heading to Dijon all right but on the high speed, more expensive TGV train!

If I got found out, who knows what medieval torture they would inflict upon me. My only hope was to get off at the first stop, Mâcon-Ville before my ticket was checked and wait about a 35 minutes for my local train to catch up to me.

My plan worked.

Beaune is near Dijon

Great, a crime film festival with Sicily prominently featured on the poster.

08h20 Arrival at Dijon's Train Station

First up, the Tourist Information Office

It didn't open until 9:30 a.m. and I didn't have a good map of the city. What to do?

OK, this is a good place to pass the time

A croissant and a cafe are always helpful in formulating a plan. I decided to explore randomly for an hour without a map.

Dijon's Victory Arch

I was scheduled to meet two new friends for lunch at the l'edito brasserie & café to the left of the arch.

Victory Arch Art

A tribute on the Arch to Thomas Jefferson
"Symbol of French-American Friendship"

View through the Victory Arch

Still have not eaten frog's legs

Gates to the Musée Archéologique

Cathédrale St-Bénigne

Good Friday in Dijon

Grapes Offering at the Cathédrale

This is Burgundy you know.

Flogging the Money Lenders

Cool Bishop


Cathédrale Floor Tomb

You kids STOP that!

St. Andrew - The X Man

Golden Altar

Flying Angel hovering over . . .

The Baptistery

Pray for me

The Back of the Cathédrale St-Bénigne

Love Gargoyle's



Red Menace

Gnarly Frog

Classic Inn

I think that Jean Valjean spent a couple of night's here.

Powerful looking church I thought

Who's statue is that on the left?

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

A 17th century bishop and theologian from Dijon, Bossuet is considered to be one of the greatest orators of all time. When I walked around the old church, I was surprised to find that the old church . . .

. . . is no longer a church

Half-Timbered House

An Aristocratic Courtyard

Strong Face

Sacred Heart in the Tourist Office

Labor Protest

It was being held just outside of the downtown Tourist Office that I had stumbled upon thus saving me a walk back to train station to the other Tourist Office we saw earlier.


I am getting hungry again

Hey, a Hat Store

Sporting my new, Made in France, beret

Missing Laurie

Colorful Fountain

And Colorful Chimneys

Statues above a Door

Carved Shields

Tiled Roof

Lots of Street Markets in Dijon

Dijon's Église Notre-Dame is well known for its gargoyle's, let's take a look. 

Oh My?

Hi, Handsome!

Having a bite

Église Notre-Dame's weathered front

Joan of Arc

Église Notre-Dame Floor

Dijon is known for its mustard

Lunch with Baptiste "Whoom" Mullot
and Guillaume "Bednarik" Beard

For the third straight Travel Friday, Olivier Rival of the French American football website had set up a lunch meeting with local football luminaries.

Our lunch would obviously include lots of EuroBall football talk but we also discussed world politics, American culture and several other topics.

Baptiste is a student in Dijon, today was actually his last day of classes, who plays QB for his hometown club, the Besançon Bisons. The Bisons are located about an hour from Dijon. Baptiste would serve as interpreter for Guillaume and myself. His stories about spending last Fall as a student at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas and making it onto the Horned Frogs squad as a walk-on QB were interesting. I enjoyed his new found perspective on the differences between football in France and inside an NCAA Division I program.

As for Guillaume, he has led a most intriguing life. A native of the old Czechoslovakia, he spent 18 months in a Communist jail as a political prisoner. For some unknown reason, the Communists offered Guillaume a deal, his choice. He could spend three more years in jail or leave the country.

Welcome to France Guillaume!

Guillaume was a life-long sportsman having enjoyed rugby, judo and fencing. As a fencer, he was the Czechoslovak National Champion in both the sabre and foil!

In 1989, at the age of 39, he took up American football and has played ever since. Yes, that is right, he is still playing as he turns 63 next week. He suffered an injury last season but is rehabbing nicely and expects to be practicing again soon. He was a linebacker but admits that he has lost some of his foot speed and will now play in the offensive line.


Musée des Beaux-Arts

It was closed today.

After lunch, Guillaume took me on an abbreviated tour of Dijon.

The Medusa

Free Slurpees???

Tempting Fate

Beautiful Bowl in the Musée Magnin

This museum contained several pieces of 19th century antiques and art objects. 

François Rude Exhibit

Noted French sculptor François Rude was a native of Dijon and was commissioned to work on Paris' iconic Arc de Triomphe de L'Étoile. This was a powerful display of his work.

Dark Man

Napoléon Napping


Departure of the Volunteers of 1792

It was this march that inspired the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise. This is a copy of Rude's work on the Arc de Triomphe deL'Étoile.

Follow Me to VICTORY!!!


It IS Good Friday today

Now Hear This!

Église St-Michele

St-Michele himself

Death in Beaune
Mayor Arrested

Tabloid fodder or a publicity stunt for Beaune's crime movie festival, I wonder?

More Dijon Mustard

I purchased two jars, can't wait to try some.

Serving great Moutarde since 1747

I bought one jar of Cassis flavored mustard here, good for salads I am told by a reliable source.


I wish, it rained most of the afternoon and we even had a few snowflakes.

The Post Office

Croissants after lunch?

This is a big No-No in French culture. Croissants are for breakfast only you see.

Rules are made to be broken.

Nope, I'm good

I avoided this café for some reason

Resistance Men Beheaded by the
Nazis in 1944

Dijon was a memorable city but it was not immune to the horrors of WWII.

Another great Travel Friday to be sure, thanks to Baptiste and Guillaume for meeting with me and making the today even more special.

WOW, as much fun as today was, in only . . .

More Days I'll start my
weekend in Paris!!!

Now, that should be an interesting four days!