Saturday, June 30, 2018

Season Ending Skorpions Party/Awards Ceremony

Friday, 29 June, 2018

Before we talk about today's fun filled activity, I must post a great photo from last weekend's Skorpion BBQ that we just received today. 

Laurie and Nency Besio

Nency is married to our U15 flag team Head Coach Enzo Petrillo, is the mother of Skorpion flag players Sofia (U17), Filippo (U15) and Emma (U13), has let me use her car for the past five months and, most importantly, makes the best lasagna this side of Naples!

As for picking the Big Deal of the Day, that was easy.

Our Skorpion Season Ending
Party/Awards Ceremony
was the runaway winner

The fact that this event was being held at the Skorpions team bar, the Bellavita Cafè, may have influenced the voters.

The walk from our packing spot in Varese to the Bellavita Cafè took us past several interesting store windows.


Escargot anyone?

We arrived fashionably late or as
Italian societal norms would have it,

Palio Cranchi and Teresa Confalonieri

What's with the matching t-shirts that Pacio and partially hidden Vito are wearing?

Ah, we were each given one
upon entering the Bellavita

Contreras is on there twice, once for Laurie and again for me.

Cool t-shirts to be sure! 

Copyright infringements are no problem in Italy by the way.

With QB
Gianluca "The Golden Arm" Arena

Coach Pacio and Skorpions
Team President Aristide Mangano
discussing the Fall of the Roman Empire

Selfie with DL Raffa Nardi!

Outdoor seating was a must
one a warm Lombardian night

A GREAT group of people!

Falcon Lorenzo Pizzetti and
OL Gabriele "Capo" Di Stefano
enjoying a moment

Recounting war stories

With Gigi Bravin and Giorgio Nardi
just after being told that
gelato was not being served tonight

I recovered quickly and made a note to myself to pick up a 500 grams of green apple, lemon and coconut gelato on the way home.

It was wonderful.

Vito, Enzo and DJ
The Three Amigos

With LB Marco Andreolli, DB/Coach Dario D'Adelfio and LB Ivan "Swito" Raso

Pietro Caprioli, our club's do-everything man, is our photo bomber.

Same group with Laurie and
photo bombing Pietro in a new spot

It was time to enter the Bellavita to say GRAZIE to everyone for a good year and to hand out five awards.

Giorgio setting the tone

Saying Grazie for my new
Swatch watch the team gave me

Why did I suddenly think of
Mussolini addressing the multitudes
back in the 1930s?

Maybe because of the multitudes in
front of me listening intently

Pacio just found out the we were
out of Prosecco

Just kidding, the Skorpions are NEVER out of Prosecco!

As for our awards tonight . . .

RB Alessandro Brovelli was our . . .

. . . Rookie-of-the-Year

QB Omar Passera was our
Offensive MVP

Unfortunately, he could not be here tonight.

OLB/Falcon Nicolas Principi . . .

. . . was our Defensive MVP

OC Gigi Bravin about to give . . .

. . . OLB, Kicker, Punter and Goal Line
Wingback Stefano Granelli . . .

The Team MVP Award

#26 with the Hammer,
leading our team out onto the field,
is Dario D'Adelfio

Dario was given a Special Award
for his outstanding career

This was his final year as a player having enjoyed previous stops with the Palermo Sharks and Catania Elephants before joining the Skorpions.

He has been a great ambassador for the game of American football all throughout Italy for so many great seasons.

Dario is the main reason I came
to the Skorpions as he was the
one who first contacted me last Fall

He flattered me tonight by saying that I was the best American coach that the Skorpions have ever had in our 35 year history.

Laurie then asked how many other Americans had coached the Skorpions over the past three-plus decades.

The answer was "None, George is our first one."

After some non-sober reflection, I took it as a compliment.

Thanks Dario, I think.

These two are reason enough
to return to Varese next season!

Enzo and Giorgio sharing a bottle of Prosecco by using straws just about sums up life with these two zany characters!

Helping ace WR Martino Piazzi
decide on what new helmet to purchase
before he joins the Europe Warriors
in Mexico this coming August

Speaking of characters,
Tony Mitrano is simply and
always a fond memory
about to happen

LOVE this guy!

What is Giorgio up to now
with all those straws?

Ah, it's a science experiment
involving Prosecco yet again

I think.

So you join all of these straws together,
put one end in the Prosecco and . . .

. . . no wait, Giorgio needed to
tape up a few of the joints
for a better seal . . .

DJ tried to make it work . . .

. . . but it was really Giorgio's
shining moment!

It took awhile but he got it to work.

Laurie's observation that he could have just poured the Prosecco out of the bottle more easily into the awaiting glasses was timely.

DL Andrea Gorini and
Falcon Nicolas Principi

Never a moments rest for these two Skorpion stalwarts when working behind the bar at the Bellavita on a hot June night. 

Pacio about to take on the
Bellavita's Shot Drinking
Challenge that includes a classic
helmet and a hammer hit or four

I believe that DL Coach
Pacio Cranchi survived
the Challenge

I'm not so sure that OL Coach
Leo Pozzato did though

It was another great evening in a long list of amazing events with the fun loving Skorpion Family.

We are so fortunate to be . . .


Friday, June 29, 2018

Back to Reality Aboard the 666 Train to Milano Centrale

Thursday, 28 June, 2018

We start today's blog post with some great announcements about our Skorpion players.

The Italian DII All-Star Rosters
were published today

Three of our 2018 Skorpions were named to the North squad,  

Nicolas was our Strong Safety
that led our team in tackles

As you can see in this photo, Nicolas' hard work and dedication to the game all earned him a spot on our Europe Warriors team that will play against the University of Chihuahua this coming August in Mexico.

Martino was a dominant
Wide Receiver for our Skorpions

It was just announced as well that Martino will be a Europe Warrior this Summer.


Tomas was a solid Defensive End
for us this season

I am excited for Tomas being named to the North team in only his first season of playing Defensive End.

Meanwhile, back in Venazza, it was time to head home to Venegono Superiore after our three wonderful days in the Cinque Terre.

 No, these were not all ours

One last look at Vernazza from
the train station

Our train trip home would be in four parts.

The first one was the easy, five minute ride from Venazza to the bigger train station in . . .

 . . . this bustling metropolis

A good cup of coffee and a brioche
at this sports bar in the station
helped us kill some time

We only had 30 minutes to wait until our second train arrived to whisk us to the Milano Centrale station.

But the train we needed was the 666,
a bad omen?

Why yes, yes it was!

The seats were comfortable, the ambient temperatures were also well within the allowable limits and the train was on time.

So what made this two hour and 48 minute journey the Trip from Hell you ask?

Simple, three fellow travelers from New Jersey, a Dad, Mom and the 24 year old son, a University of Maryland alum soon going to medical school, seated two rows behind us.

They spent their ride telling a poor Italian soul seated next to them both their life stories and their interpretation of the history and current events of the United States of America.

In itself, this was not a bad thing.

The fact that they did this in voices loud enough to be heard by people in both train cars adjacent to ours was indeed an issue.

Again, we were only two rows from them.

At least one person, after about an hour of their harangue, literally got up, gave up her seat and walked to some other car in search of another seat on our packed train muttering "Unbelievable. . ." to no one in particular as she walked past us.

The last 45 minutes of our ride to Milano consisted of eye contact/rolling moments with fellow passengers both Italian and American as our New Jersey family made more and more truly inane comments.

And no, they were not Trump supporters, just clueless in general.

As we queued up to leave the train in Milano an American turned to me and said, "Makes you kind of embarrassed  be an American." 


We'll be in California

The final parts of our trip consisted of two quiet, easy rides on first a Metro from Milano Centrale station to the Cadorna station and then the usual train trip from Cadorna to Venegono Superiore.

Uneventful is a good word in rail travel.

In the evening, it was back to work with the last on the field practice with the Skorpion U19 and U16 teams before we return to California.

Working the U16s on tackling
technique improvement 

U16s Bump and Run Drill

U16s having some fun

We thoroughly enjoyed our mini-vacation in Vernazza, but it is definitely time to go home to California.

We are both missing our family.