Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Another Week of American Football, Soccer and the Santa Clara Elementary School Carnival

Tuesday, October 15 -
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Life in Camarillo continued to move along at its own normal speed again this week.

First up was a trip to Simi Valley High School to talk to their coach Jim Benkert about his team in preparation for this Friday's Ventura County Star Game-of-the-Week podcast.

Simi Valley Pioneer
Blocking Drill

Here is the drill in action with
OL Coach Robert Richards
overseeing the Pioneers effort

Pass Blocking drill with a 10 lbs.
sand filled bag in each hand

A footwork drill with the sand bags

Wednesday after school Jacob
and I visited the Camarillo Air Museum

All things military are big
at this age

 An American WWII fighter
with LOTS of decals

If award decals worked in WWII for men placing their lives on the line, then they should work for our Varese Skorpions too.

 A Russian MIG fighter

 Jacob flying a combat helicopter

Article in this week's VC Reporter
featuring Varese Skorpion
Ivan "Swito" Raso in the lower left corner

 On Thursday I arrived at an empty
Oak Park H.S. field for an interview
with Eagles HC Casey Webb

Coach Webb had forgotten when we scheduled our interview that he had a Junior High flag football game to coach. Casey teaches at the local Junior High that feeds Oak Park.

 Casey is the OC for the Junior High team

Thus we did our interview while his team, in blue, was on defense.

After the interview, I hot footed it over to Santa Clarita to take in the Moorpark College Raiders (1-4) at College of the Canyons Cougars (4-1) game

I was told that the game started at
6:00 p.m. but it really kicked off at 7:00 p.m.

I had time to kill and I was hungry so I headed to the nearby Fatburger for dinner.

 Interesting new fashion look at Fatburger

Action from the MC-COC game

After playing a solid first half in which they only trailed Canyons 7-0, Moorpark eventually succumbed to the Cougars 34-7 despite giving the best effort that I've seen from the Raiders in the last two seasons.

Friday Night Lights
Simi Valley (5-2) at Oak Park (7-0)

Our son Michael accompanied me to the evening's podcast between the two Canyon League favorites on the opening night of league play.

Simi Valley was on a five game winning streak, so this figured to be a good one.

Me doing color commentary,
Kent Brown doing the play-by-play
and Anthony Placencia working the camera

Oak Park's Alex Jones
showing off his agility

Oak Park Gang Tackling

 Gianni Smith had a GREAT night
at QB/K/P for Oak Park

Excellent pass rush by Oak Park's
DE Luca Sarac

What we all thought would be a close game was won easily by Oak Park by the final tally of 31-7.

 Oak Park singing the Alma Mater
after their big Canyon League victory

Jacob chasing down the ball
at Saturday morning soccer

 An Open Goal

 Kick that thing Jacob!

Laurie and Mary at the
Santa Clara Elementary School Carnival

Mary ridding down the purple
slide on the right

She, a thrill seeker, had a blast
and rode down the slide at least
a dozen times non-stop

Jacob allowing his inner Braveheart
to shine at the Carnival

Jacob at Soup Plantation today
after school

Weekend News from EuroBall

Another HUGE game for Team Italy
last weekend


All of the Italian American football community is both surprised and ecstatic over Team Italy's 2-0 start in the European Championship qualifying tournament!

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Never disappointed in her
Venetian crime tales

 Equally contented with his
Sicilian crime yarns

The ONLY way to travel
through Tuscany!

"Why didn't we have the good luck to be born Italian, Paul? Is it something we did in a previous life? Something that led to bad karma?"

"Don't fall in love with this place," said Onesto, "Italy is a seductress. Remember that."


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Fond Arrivederci to Baffo and Jack and Yet Another American Football Weekend

Monday, October 7 -
Monday, October 14, 2019

While the start of the week was quiet for Laurie and I, it was a busy one for our two Skorpions, Giacomo and Nicola, to say the least.

While we had headed back to Camarillo on Sunday after the Washington-Stanford game, "Jack" and "Baffo", as they are known in Varese, stayed in the Bay Area for the main purpose of their trip to California, the Monday Night NFL game featuring Jack's Baker Mayfield led Cleveland Browns (2-2) vs. Baffo's San Francisco 49ers (3-0) at Santa Clara's beautiful Levi's Stadium.

At our Husky tailgate on Saturday Jack and Baffo met our nephew-in-law John Tidwell and his friend Tom Garry who both work for Hewlett Packard in the greater Silicon Valley area.

As Jack is a Computer Science major, it was a fortuitous meeting to be sure.

Jack and Baffo visited the Hewlett Packard
headquarters on Monday afternoon

Baffo and Jack at Levi's Stadium

 In the Hewlett Packard luxury box
at Levi's Stadium

John, Jack, Baffo and Tom
with Joe Montana photo-bombing

The HP gang and our two Italians
 enjoying the luxury box

By all reports, they had a great time as the 49ers took home a dominating 31-3 victory on national TV.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Giacomo and Nicola headed inland to view the majestic beauty that is California's Sequoia National Park and the exotic city of Kernville before returning to Camarillo.

Thursday was hectic as I had to attend my weekly Italian Conversation class in Thousand Oaks while Jack and Baffo continued to support our local economy with a few more purchases at the Camarillo Outlets.

In the afternoon, we headed up the Conejo Grade to Newbury Park High School to watch some of the Panthers day before a game practice and tour their facilities. My son Mike who teaches at NPHS also wanted Jack and Baffo to connect with one of the Panther defensive linemen, Alessandro Zazzetta, who moved to the USA from Roma last year.

The Italian Connection
Baffo, Alessandro and Jack

In the evening we headed to Cronies in Ventura to watch the New England Patriots (6-0) destroy the hapless New York Giants (2-4) 35-14.

After the game we remained at Cronies and met with Diego Renteria who played for the Rio Mesa Spartans back in the day and is currently an up and coming referee in our local high school and junior college ranks. 

The main purpose of this meeting was for Diego and Nicola/Baffo to exchange information as to their shared vocation, nursing.

It was an eye opening discussion for me as they compared notes on how the job requirements differed in Italy and the USA. They exchanged their contact information and promised to keep up their dialogue in the months ahead.

Thus both Giacomo/Jack and Nicola/Baffo made unexpected professional contacts in California on their American Football vacation.

On Friday, we headed to LAX for our two Skorpions' evening flight back home Milano.

We took the scenic coast route
via Malibu

Another stop on the bluff overlooking
the beach at Santa Monica

We just had to take a walk
on the famed Santa Monicas Pier

 Sun Worshipers

The end of historic Route 66
from Chicago to Santa Monica

After a good Mexican lunch
in Santa Monica, we headed
to the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Two muscular Italians posing at Muscle Beach.

We now had but one last stop before arriving at the airport for . . .

. . . two donuts for Nicola's
wonderful wife Vanessa

Randy's is yet another iconic SoCal spot that is near LAX. Note the airplane on its landing approach in the big donut's hole.

As it turns out, Vanessa is crazy about American donuts so, with the aid of one of Laurie's Tuperware containers, Baffo brought her not one but two of Randy's delicious creations.

What a husband!

After saying our good-byes, I sped back up the coast to meet up with son Mike and grandson Jacob in Ventura to watch the Channel Islands Raiders (0-6) play the Buena Bulldogs (3-3) coached by our former Buena player and Hässleholm Hurricanes/Rio Mesa Spartans coach Ryan Bolland.

Jacob watching the Buena Band
take the field

 Jacob with the Bulldog mascots

Pre-game with Jacob
and a HUGE tire

 "Poppo, what is this tire for?"

"Jacob, the Bulldog football players
flip it to show how strong they are."

 "Poppo, I think I'll just sit in it instead."

The game is afoot!

Channel Islands offense in white

Jacob checking out
the line of scrimmage

Diego Renteria was working the game
as a ref and gave Jacob a penalty flag

We had another good time at Buena
together enjoying the Bulldog's 14-13 win

 Saturday morning soccer with Jacob
pursuing the ball

Everyone has to sit out a quarter

During Jacob's sit out quarter he made this Go Sharks! mini-sign to encourage the team on to another win.

Post game with the grandkids
and a photo-bombing Michael

Nothing like a family post-soccer
celebration breakfast at Cronies

Saturday night, Mike and I
took in a DIII game

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags (2-2)
California Lutheran Kingsmen (2-2)

The Kingsmen were entering the game with a 1-0 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record while the Stags were 0-1 in SCIAC play. 

It was a BEAUTIFUL night for
American football!

 More family bonding time

 I really liked the Stags helmet decal

The Kingsmen used a dominant
Second Half to win this SCIAC game 37-7

While we were at CLU, the Huskies (4-2)
were playing the Arizona Wildcats (4-1)

Nice rebound win after last
Saturday's clunker at Stanford

On Monday, after visiting my Mother at midday, Laurie and I stopped off at her alma mater, Crescenta Vally High School, to watch the Falcons (6-0) host the Glendale Dynamiters (1-6) at 3:15 p.m.


Glendale H.S. is also known as the Nitros which I think made for easier, shorter sports headlines back in the day.

This game was originally scheduled to be played last Friday night at Glendale H.S. as a CVHS home game but local wildfires led to poor air quality and the game was postponement to Monday.

Glendale H.S. has the only stadium in the Glendale School District and it shares it with both Crescenta Valley and Hoover high schools.

For some reason, the game was shifted from Glendale to CVHS which has a nice artificial turf field but stands for only 200 people more or less.

Crescenta Valley in Columbia blue
kicking off

A nice setting for the Falcons 28-0 win

Meanwhile, back in Italy . . .

The Skorpions 2019 U16 and U19
nine-man tackle seasons were
about to start with . . .

. . . a double header at home

The U16s beat the Balangero Blitz

The U19s did not fare so well against
the Milano Seamen

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Berry and his Cotton Malone
character never disappoint