Thursday, November 30, 2017

Annual Cal Lutheran University Senior-EuroBall Talk

One of the things that I try to do each year is to pay it forward to EuroBall by meeting with Senior football players who have just finished their college eligibility.

On Thursday I stopped by our local NCAA Division III school, California Lutheran University, to meet with six of their Seniors who are interested in continuing their playing careers overseas.

"Heading for the End Zone"

CLU's outstanding statue just outside of their stadium.

Over 50 years of football excellence

 Part of the Kinsmen's rich tradition

We met for a little over an hour exchanging information and answering questions. I hope that all six of these young men get the opportunity to enjoy a bit of the EuroBall life some day soon, that Laurie and I have grown to love.

A big THANK YOU to CLU Head Coach Ben McEnroe for being gracious as always in allowing me on campus for this EuroBall talk for about the tenth straight year.

If you need me tomorrow,
I'll be in Mexico City watching,
what else, American football

Mexico's military academy, the Heroico Colegio Military, will be hosting West Point's Sprint, under 200 lbs., team.

It should be fun and a GREAT night for American football!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Week Family Fun

A long Thanksgiving Day week full of family, football, fun and food!

But not necessarily in that order . . .

It all started the Saturday before Thanksgiving when Mike brought the kids over to the house to watch another good day of college football on TV.

We took a break in the action in the late afternoon to take the grandkids to local park.

 Mary loves slides

Jacob likes climbing things

 They both love swings

I love when the Huskies win
another exciting PAC-12 game
over the Utah Utes this time

On Monday, Mary got to
play with her favorite
nesting dolls

On Tuesday, it was back to the slides

Wednesday was a GREAT day
for miniature golf/hockey

More hockey than golf
if you ask me

We have to work on Jacob's putting I think.

 Still, he was happy

Thanksgiving Day
in San Marino at the
Ancestral Contreras Home

Jacob with his Great Grandmother Chuny

Kids Table

 Senior Citizens Table

With my Mom, sisters Linda and Marilyn, niece Lauren and grandson Kevin

Linda, in white, cooked an amazing meal for us all!

A great day for all of us on this Thanksgiving Thursday to be sure.

Back in Camarillo

Kevin, Laurie and Jacob
ready for a full Friday of
even more football on TV

They were even goofier
than their shared t-shirts

Thanksgiving was now
in the rear view mirror

Thus, it was ok to put up our Christmas University of Washington ornaments mostly due to the generosity of good friend Paul Sabolic.

We've put them on our hall tree the last couple of years as the collection grew at the same rate as our fear of them toppling our Christmas tree.

Maybe if we both push we can
make Dad/Uncle Andy face plant

 Two Rapscallions

Why are the grandkids dressed up?

Of course, it was Christmas Card
photo time

Saturday night Apple Cup Game

Should have been a good one as both teams were 9-2 coming into the contest and a Cougars win would put them in the PAC-12 Championship Game next Friday against 10-2 USC.

For some reason we were all
losing concentration watching
the Apple Cup

 Our three loves

It was not a good game to watch
but it was a GREAT day to be a Husky

The Huskies dominated the contest(?) from start to finish, if you like tearing the wings off of butterflies then you would have loved this Apple Cup.

Sunday was a great day again

Both the Rams and the Saints are 8-3 now.

The Rams leading the NFC West by one game over the Seattle Seahawks while the Saints are tied for first place in the NFC South with the Carolina Panthers.

All in all, it was a wonderful week with all of our family coming together for a great holiday!

On Monday I had to go to Ventura
and discovered this new bakery

Maple bacon croissant?


The cappuccino and maple bacon croissant were both up to European standards.

So was the pain au chocolate.

I know, I know, you will never find a maple bacon croissant on the continent.

American Football Week
in Mexico Looms 

I will be heading out Friday to coach the Europe Warriors U19 Offensive Linemen in the Mexico City suburb of Texcoco.

We will meet with the team for the first time this coming Sunday and start our practices on Monday.

But first . . .

 Friday Night Lights

Our coaching staff will be going to this game pitting Heroico Colegio Militar (HCM), Mexico's Military Academy, vs. West Point's under 200 lbs. Sprint team. 

We spent a day talking football with the HCM staff last August after our Europe Warriors Senior team played the UNAM Pumas.

Just like our military academies in the USA, the Aguiluchos face several obstacles in their quest for American football excellence but the players and coaches adapt and overcome.

The past two years the Aquiluchos have played a home-and-home game with the U.S. Naval Academy's Sprint team.

In 2018, HCM will travel to West Point to play the Cadet Sprint team again.

In 2019-20, HCM will play the U.S. Air Force Academy's Sprint team.

It should be another fun, interesting night.

On Saturday we will drive to
Toluca for the Mexican Division I
National Championship Game

The UNAM Pumas, 9-1 champions of the 22 school public university ONEFA league, will travel to play the Toluca Borregos, 9-2 champions of the 12 school private university league.

After a week of practice . . .

Our U19 Europe Warriors will play
against an all-star team of U19
players from the ONEFA league
on Saturday

But first . . .
There will be a PARADE on Friday

Who doesn't love a parade?

Our Saturday game will kickoff at 10:00 a.m. and will be followed at 1:00 p.m. by a contest between a Mexican DI all-star team hosting an NCAA DIII all-star club.

It is going to be a GREAT week for American football in Mexico!

Mi Vida es BUENA!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Las Vegas and Other Fun Things . . .

Another few days living and enjoying our family in Paradise and Sin City both . . .

Mary relaxing as only she can

As usual, lots of babysitting is a big part of our weekly routine.


Mike and Jacob

The mighty Ninja Sharks had their season ending party at Camarillo's Boulevard Burgers.
Coach Mike ran the event
on the patio

Jacob and his first ever
AYSO participation trophy

I know, I know . . .

But he WAS happy

YOUR 2017 Ninja Sharks

Mike's last Words of Wisdom
to the Ninja Sharks

Meanwhile, back to babysitting . . .

Mary at nearby Lokker Park

She likes the swings

She likes the slides too

She makes gravity look easy


A Las Vegas weekend was also on our agenda . . .

Breakfast in Victorville

Emma Jean's is about the
half way point for our drive
to Nevada

 We got to Las Vegas in time
to pick up Kevin from school!

Rated "The Best BBQ in the West"
by me

And I am an excellent judge of BBQ!

Damn it!

Signs like this make me wish I owned a Colt AR-15 Assault Rifle to go hunting for elk or deer.

Kevin is an NHL
Vegas Golden Knights fan

Someday maybe he'll
skate for them

Gramma Lo and Kevin
and Blitz

Yep, he is indeed missing
his first tooth

Back to School on Monday

Kevin and his classmates

As is usual, the weekend in Las Vegas was one revolving around watching football games, eating and playing numerous games of Sorry.

Good Times Indeed! 

 Watching the Rams win while we
were in Las Vegas was GREAT!

After that win, Sports Illustrated was
officially on the Rams Bandwagon

But today our Rams came back to
earth in Minnesota
Final Score: Vikings 24 - Rams 7

Speaking of the Rams, during the week they hosted an "NFL Play 60" event at their training site in Thousand Oaks.

Mike opted to take Jacob seeking to improve his workout regimen.

Rampage and Jacob

I believe Rampage is the Rams starting Strong Safety.

Jacob at the front of his line
ready to lay it all on the line

Gator Tackle Drill

Three Cone Drill

I still remember as a young boy in the 1950s seeing the Rams Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch talk to a group of us at San Marino H.S. as part of a Union 76 sports clinic.

I hope that for Jacob it was as good a night for him as it was for me 60 something memorable years ago.

Mary showing off the dress
I bought for her in Mexico City
last August

The 2017 UW Christmas ornament
Thank you Paul Sabolic!

Last Friday I had lunch at BJ's Brewery in Burbank with Paul, Mike D'Antuono and, surprise, Mike's sister Diana who was visiting from Seattle.

Paul has been giving Mike and I these annual University of Washington Christmas ornaments each year for at least the past decade. Laurie and I both love these wonderful gifts and happily put them on display every year after Thanksgiving.


Sleep Over Friday with Jacob
is always a weekly highlight

The cookies he and Laurie baked were delicious!

And I do mean SLEEP over!


 Still EXCITED about Italy
and the Varese Skorpions!

Were the Skorpions unveiling our
2018 schedule?

Well, NO, not until FIDAF,
our governing body releases it

My guess is that we will not have a schedule until mid-December at the earliest.

Undaunted by the lack of our schedule, I headed to the Camarillo Outlets' LIDS store to have them create my very own . . .

 Skorpions Coaching Hat!

It looks smart to me, worthy
of a Milan fashion show

Starting to get my Italian
taste buds up to speed . . .

. . . what better way to start

Football News From Mexico

 The Pumas played for the
ONEFA League Championship
on Saturday

The now 9-1 UNAM Pumas are the team that played our Europe Warriors All-Star team in an exhibition game to start their 2017 season back in August.

The Pumas beat us 35-32 that day and I was impressed by their level of play.

The Pumas entered this title contest with an 8-1 record as did their opponents the Auténticos Tigres from the Universidad Autonomy de Nuevo Leon.

ONEFA, comprised of 22 universities, is the Public University League in Mexico and these two universities were meeting for the ninth straight year. The Auténticos Tigres had won six of the previous eight title matches including the last two.

Earlier this year the Pumas handed the Autéticos Tigres their lone loss of the season 22-19.

The Pumas lone loss of 2017 was a 27-21 overtime defeat at the hands of the two time defending National Champion UDLAP Aztecas in their season opener.

On Saturday the Pumas won the day and the ONEFA Championship by just another three point, 18-15.

Next up for the Pumas on December 2nd is the Mexican National Championship Game against this coming Saturday's winner of the CONADEIP Championship. This title game will feature the 9-1 UDLAP Aztecas and the 8-2 ITESM Toluca Borregos.

CONADEIP is made up of 12 universities that form Mexico's Private University League.

Back in September, the Aztecas beat the Borregos 28-0.

The fun is just beginning for our Europe Warriors coaching staff, as we will be in Mexico City on December 2nd!

The National Championship game will be played this year at the home of the CONADEIP Champion. Toluca is about 90 minutes west of Mexico City while Puebla is about 2 hours and 30 minutes east of the capital. Either way we are going.

Unless . . . 

We opt to go to the West Point at Heroico Colegio Militar (HCM) game in Mexico City that same day. West Point is sending their Sprint Team, i.e., their squad of Cadets that are all 200 lbs. and under.

We spent a wonderful day touring the HCM facilities last August and talking football with their coaching staff. HCM, by the way, is Mexico's West Point.

Either way, it's going to be a GREAT day for American football in Mexico!

The Aztec Bowl
is now officially a Double-Header!

Our Europe Warriors U19 All-Star club will be facing a U19 All-star team made up ONEFA players at 10:00 a.m. in Texaco, Mexico.

At 1:00 p.m. an All-Star team of Mexican university players will take on an All-Star squad made up of American NCAA DIII players.


Tickets for the Double-Header
go for a whopping
$70 Mexican pesos apiece!


That's about $3.70 in American dollars.


Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!