Monday, August 29, 2016

The End of Summer and the Start of American Football

Summer is finally winding down and we are still in full fun mode.

Let's start by looking at my Mother's 92nd birthday/pool party.

Great-Grandmother Chuny
with little Mary

 Jacob is part fish and . . .

. . . part daredevil

A birthday cake and ice cream
were a must . . .

. . . as were great-grandchildren
Jacob, Mary and Max to help
with the candles 

The day after my Mother's birthday I was up bright and early for the drive to Culver City's Sony Studios for the taping of America's favorite quiz show . . .


No, I did not win $250,000, this was just a prop in the lobby.

With Doug, Travis and Linda Wade

Denver was our Line Coach in 2009 with the Catania Elephants in Sicily. He was a contestant on the Jeopardy show and did well.

If I gave you anymore details, I was told that show host Alex Trebek would personally come to our home and beat me within an inch of my life.

Mums the word!

First Day of
Transitional Kindergarten

 Jacob will further his
formal education starting today

He fits in nicely and 
says he loves his teacher!

His teacher also happens to be his Mother.

American Football is HERE!

I opted to spend much of the last two weeks watching high school and junior college practices as well as attending NFL pre-season and high school games too.

Fillmore H.S.

The Flashes are coached by good friends Matt Dollar and Curtis Garner.

The Flashes are running the
Wing-T out of Spread Formations

Fun to see this updated version of a fun, old school offense.

Junior College Football in the
San Fernando Valley

It was a hot day at Pierce

The Brahmas are coached by Jason Sabolic. I went to the University of Washington with Jason's Dad, Paul.

I have been asked to spot for the Brahmas on game nights from the booth.

Ventura H.S. at Newbury Park H.S.

This scrimmage was a good one as these two traditional powerhouse programs put on a good show.

Newbury Park's Junior QB Cameron Rising, a University of Oklahoma commit, looked sharp.

NFL Pre-Season Game

A First for Us

We drove down to the Expo/Sepulveda Metro Station, parked our car for $2 and bought round-trip Metro tickets for $4.50 each. Total cost for the three of us thus came to $15.50.

We had none of the headaches of bumper-to-bumper traffic going to or especially leaving the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Oh, by the way, the cost of parking a car for the game at the Coliseum was a whopping $50!

Not my hat but Christmas
is just around the corner

Jacob wanted a lift

 Tailgating on the Coliseum lawn

The ancient Jack Youngblood jersey is a family heirloom that was passed down from Mike to Jacob.

We brought our own food and drinks which turned out to be a good thing.

Once inside the Coliseum we found that a tall can of Corona beer cost $16, a bottle of water sold for $7 and a BBQ beef sandwich was a bargain at $13.

We bought nothing as we were allowed to bring our remaining food and water bottles into the stadium.

Jaco had Ram Spirit

 Jacob warming up his arm 
if the Rams needed him

 Jacob's first Ram game

Mike, a sleepy Jacob and me

My first Ram game at the
Coliseum was a 24-24 tie
with the Bears in 1958

 It was a GREAT night for
American football!

 Winning is a good thing

JV football practice
at Channel Islands H.S.

The Head Coach of this team is one of our former Rio Mesa H.S. players, Jorge Zaragoza.

With only about 25 players on the Raiders roster, depth will be a daunting task as the season wears on and on.

Pierce College at El Camino College

This scrimmage occurred about 60 miles/100 kilometers from our house. It took me three hours to get there.

How I love L.A. traffic.

Pierce has a lot of things to improve upon.

Road Trip to a H.S. Game

Laurie and I were up early for the 275 mile/445 kilometer, four hour drive to Oakhurst, California to watch the first high school game of the 2016 season.

But first . . .

A Fika break in Kingsburg which
bills itself as a Swedish Village

 Who would have guessed that
their HS's mascot would be
the Vikings?

As for us, we were headed to Yosemite H.S., home of the . . .


LeGrand Bulldogs (0-0)
Yosemite Badgers (0-0)

This would be an interesting game on several levels.

LeGrand is a traditional power in central California in the small schools division.

Just a few years ago, Yosemite played in the small schools C.I.F. Central Section Championship Playoff Game four years in a row, winning two of them.

Then a new school, Minarets HS, was opened and Yosemite's enrollment dropped drastically down to its current 600 students but the Badgers continued playing in a league with much larger student bodies with a predictable lack of success.

The home team Badgers entered the 2016 season on a 27 game losing streak. Their last win came on September 13, 2013.

In 2015, the Badgers played with mostly underclassmen, so hopes were high that all of the returning experienced players would turn the tide in the upcoming campaign.

With Yosemite Defensive
Coordinator Erik Peterson

Erik played for us at Westlake HS in the early 1980s. His son Ty, a Junior, is a two-way starting lineman for the Badgers.

On the left, Leslie Peterson

She is married to Erik and is in charge of the Badgers' two snack bars until the Varsity game starts.

End of the JV game

A hard fought, 26-14 win for LeGrand.

 Selling Badger Gear

I like the display of the different Badger helmet styles one the years.

Varsity Game Time

The Badgers looked great!

They led 14-0 at the half and ended up coasting to a 35-0 streak busting win.

Although first game penalties slowed both teams down, the Badgers ran the ball well and Erik's defense recorded nine QB Sacks.

Ty and Erik after the win

Everyone was extremely happy as you can expect and we had a great time enjoying two community schools playing each other.

Reading Is FUNdamental

Farfetched but fun

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fun in the SoCal August Sun

The last few weeks have been busy ones for us with several trips to the beach in Carpinteria to escape the heat.

Besides our visits to the Pacific Ocean, we kept busy doing a variety of things . . .

EuroBall Recruiting

Recruiting a QB for the
Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons

I'm seen here with former Georgia State University QB Nick Arbuckle after a high budget recruiting lunch at the In-N-Out in Oxnard on behalf of Falcons' GM Julien Urgenti.

Nick was the 2015 Sun Belt Conference MVP and after going undrafted, signed on as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He played his high school football locally at Ventura's St. Bonaventure H.S. and then played for two years at Pierce College before transferring to Georgia State.

At Pierce, his Offensive Coordinator was Jason Sabolic who is now Pierce's Head Coach and the son of Paul Sabolic, a teammate of mine at the University of Washington.

The small world of American football strikes again!

Even though Nick was cut by the Steelers he was given the high marks by all of my trusted sources.  He would be a great fit with everyone's favorite French team. 

Museum Visit

Laurie and I joined Helen Fujita and Koreen and Brian FitzGerald for the drive to Simi Valley to see . . .

. . . an interesting exhibit of
religious artifacts like . . .

. . . a reliquary

Nice bust

 St. Peter taking one for the team

 St. Paul losing his head

A Cardinal

 For some reason they
did not allow us to sit here

Fancy Chalice

Vatican and Gold are synonyms

Most of my books are also
covered in silver and gold

The current Republican Party
is not nearly as optimistic

It was an excellent exhibit and we all had a good day seeing the Vatican treasures and enjoying a day together.

Birthday Trip to Las Vegas

Laurie and I were on the road for the five hour drive to enjoy a long weekend with son Andrew, his bride Jenn and grandson Kevin to celebrate the little man's fifth birthday. 

Interesting beverages on sale
in Baker, California

We tasted all three which were almost equally bad.

Predictably, the Havana Banana tasted a little bit better than the other two.

Kevin opening our present

Mutant Ninja Turtles toys
were a hit!

By the way, nice soccer jersey Kevin.

Star Wars memorabilia is
HUGE in Kevin's house!

BBQ is HUGE with all of us!

 The Wäsby Warriors season looms

I needed to start practicing my game face with my new coaching hat in place.

31 Flavors is always a good
idea to combat the desert heat

 Kevin imitating his favorite
Mutant Ninja Turtle, Leonardo

If not a Turtle or a Star Wars hero,
he can always just be the King

On Saturday, Kevin had his
birthday party

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
we are not

Birthday cupcakes for everyone

A Leonardo blue cupcake

On Sunday we finally cut
his small birthday cake . . .

. . . with help from Andrew

Being a Grandpa is GREAT!

UW football is coming up soon

Speaking of Football

The Rams are back in L.A.

And the Dallas Cowboys are still in Oxnard, about 15 minutes from our house, for their Summer Training Camp.

So, I joined Michael and Jacob to watch a practice.

 Jacob and the Cowboys'
Super Bowl Trophies

1960 was the year the Cowboys
were founded

Their GREAT defense of the early '70s

 Low pad wins, Jacob

Jacob admiring Cowboy legendary running back Emmitt Smith.

Smith had 18,355 yards rushing and 164 rushing TDs in his Hall of Fame career.

You name it, they sold it

Jacob in the Kid's Zone
before the practice

with Jacob and Michael

 Cowboys practicing their
Kickoff Return schemes

 Any day with Jacob and football
is a good day for me

A good day at Cowboys camp but we
are Ram fans again after all the years

Tonight the Rams played their first pre-season game against the Cowboys in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before the largest crowd to ever see an NFL pre-season game.

A crowd of 89,140 was in attendance to see the Rams come from behind, last second win 28-24.

We did not go but Michael and I are taking Jacob to next week's game at the Coliseum.

The price is right

We bought three tickets on StubHub for $25 each for the Chiefs game. We will be sitting high up in seats in the Coliseum's closed end zone.

Tickets in that same section for tonight's game were going for $97 a piece.

For tickets in our same section for the first regular season home game next month, StubHub is asking $164 for each seat!


During today's visit to our home, Michael climbed into the attic to re-discover his childhood Legos.

After showing them to Jacob . . .

. . . Jacob staked a claim to
their ownership

Life continues to be GOOD!!!