Saturday, November 30, 2019

EuroBall Experience XVI Starts with a Red-Eye Flight to Mexico City

Saturday, November 30, 2019

A huge shout out to son Michael for giving me a ride to LAX for the 12:05 a.m. red-eye flight to Mexico City!

Our Volaris Air flight took off on time and four hours later I arrived a bit worse for wear in Mexico's capital city at 6:10 a.m. Central Standard Time.


Dreaming of Milano while enjoying
my first cup Mexican coffee at the
Benito Juarez Airport in CDMX

I was waiting for UNAM Pumas and Team Mexico Women's Head Coach Raúl "Yoyo" Rivera to pick me up for what would become an exciting, busy day, a BEAUTIFUL day for American football at that!

The first thing that we did was drive to the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), home of the 2019 Mexican Collegiate American Football National Champion Burros Blancos.

Yoyo wanted me to see our Europe Warriors Women's team in action at their morning workout today at IPN. Now that was definitely a far cry from our recent experience in paranoid Austria.

As we both agreed, there really are no secrets in football.

If you are wondering about the Yoyo nickname, it came about because as a young man whenever something needed to be done, Raúl would "Yo lo hago, Yo lo hago." Which means "I'll do it, I'll do it." Thus the Yoyo monicker.

After their warm-up, Team Mexico
broke into group fundamentals

 Offensive Line Women going
through their fundamental drills

OL working on body mechanics

A Tackle ready for the drill

Team Mexico QB slinging it

Team Mexico DB working
on her ball skills

The DB coach, Gabriel Cuevas, allowed me to help throw in a few of his drills.

I also got the chance to work with the long snappers on their fundamentals.

Yoyo even gave me the opportunity
to talk to Team Mexico after practice

After this practice, Yoyo drove us to the city of Texcoco to the University of Chapingo where we trained and played with the 2017 Europe Warriors U19 team against Team Mexico.

It brought back a lot of good memories to be back on the Chapingo campus, Home of the Toros Salvajes (Wild Bulls).

We were going to Texcoco because one of the four Mexican U18 Conference Championship games was being played there today.

Before we entered the raucous, packed
stadium we passed some vendors

That used helmet can be yours for only 1,500 Mexican pesos or about $75 USD.

Cool face mask.

This fine dining experience was tempting
but Yoyo said he had a place for
lunch for us after the game

I trusted his judgement.

The Halftime entertainment
getting ready to perform

The University of Chapingo Toros Salvajes
vs. the Siglo XXI Panteras in orange

A Toro Salvaje turning the corner

University of Chapingo on Offense

 Pantera Interception

Playing under the shadow
of the goal posts

Chapingo's Field Goal attempt
was good just before Halftime giving
the Toros Salvajes a 3-0 lead at
the intermission

The Halftime Show was in full swing

Good balance!

Great lasso skills to be sure

 Of course Chapingo had a
masked flag waver

Viva La Luche Libra!

The Conference Championship Trophy

Close up of the two school's logos

Lots of turnovers in the Third Quarter

In the Fourth Quarter, the Toros Salvajes flinched while holding on to their 3-0 lead. They ran an option play and the QB was dealt a savage hit forcing a fumble on the pitch that the Panteras' CB scooped and scored for a 25 yard Defensive TD. The PAT kick was good and suddenly the Panteras led for the first time 7-3.

A brilliant Panteras third down
quick kick traveled a good 50+ yards
with a good roll

That was, for all intents and purposes, the end of the contest giving the Siglo XXI Panteras the Conference title thanks to its 7-3 win today.

Coach Raúl "Yoyo" Rivera
is a man in perpetual motion

Yoyo and I got back into his car to meet up with his family for that promised amazing lunch experience.


Oh, My!

It was a street taco feast of the highest
order and I even liked the tongue
quesadilla quite a bit

It was INDEED a non-fancy but yet AMAZING meal!

When it comes to food in Mexico City, Yoyo is THE MAN!

Karen, Raúl Jr. and Maria Fernanda

Karen is Yoyo's wife and their children.

What a GREAT family!

I did not want to eat dessert but Maria Fernanda is an amazingly persuasive young lady.

After our meal, I headed to my hotel room for the night as my batteries were in great need of recharging.

Meanwhile, in Madrid . . .

The Europe Warriors Women's
team was at the airports ready to
board their red-eye flight to Mexico City

They are scheduled to arrive in Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday.

After a 7:00 a.m. breakfast, we'll practice at IPN at 10:00 a.m. with Team Mexico as I understand it.

On a final note, I just found out this evening that for the second time in Europe Warriors history, I have received a battle field, last second promotion to Head Coach for this game.

Team first.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving Day and More . . .

Thursday and Friday,
November 28-29, 2019

Thanksgiving, a day for family, football and food in the USA!

Our Thursday began early when visitors from Oxnard arrived at our house.

Cousins Kevin and Jacob
starting a fun two days together

Brothers Andy and Mike
enjoyed the last two days as well

On Thursday afternoon, we all dressed up and headed to my Mother's home in San Marino, California for our traditional Contreras Family Thanksgiving Feast.

With the grandkids at my
Mother's home

From left to right: Kevin, Poppo, Mary, Gigi and Jacob

 Andy lifting out the moist
bacon wrapped
Thanksgiving Turkey

The grandkids were joined by
their second cousins Max and Leo

 My Mother Chuny was the
first one seated for dinner

Jacob, Mary,
Great-grandmother Chuny and Kevin

Sharing a moment with
Princess Mary

Laurie and my sister Linda
with Max seated for dinner

My sister Linda does most of the work every year for Thanksgiving. Tonight's meal might have been her best ever.

Love couple in the kitchen

Mary with one of the cookies
that Aunt Jenn had specially made
for each child

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving indeed!

As if we had not had enough to eat,
we stopped at Rolling Pin Donuts
in Camarillo on the way home

Such decadence!

 Friday morning breakfast at
Cronies in Camarillo

Their breakfast burritos never disappoint us.

Michael and I decided to walk
home from Cronies to work off
a few of the accumulated calories
we absorbed the last two days

We past this museum on the
way home

It had a nice mural depicting
Old Town Camarillo

Kevin and Jacob playing
video games together

More cousin bonding later
in the day during the
Washington-Washington State
Apple Cup Game broadcast

The Huskies won the Apple Cup
for the 7th straight year

Italian DII is now up to 20
teams in 2020

The current total includes one team that is dropping down from DI, five teams that are moving up from DIII and 14 clubs who return from the 2019 DII circuit.

The 20 teams that have declared to be part of the 2020 DII season is one more than what we had for DII play in 2019.

EuroBall Experience XVI
starts late tonight

Our son Mike will be driving me to the Los Angeles International Airport late tonight so that I can catch a 12:05 a.m. Saturday flight to Mexico City for yet another American football experience.

This time I'll be helping coach the first ever Women's Europe Warriors team that will face the Mexican National Women's team in Mexico City on Saturday, December 7th at Estadio Wilfrido Massieu.

This Warriors team will be composed of 35 women from seven different countries.

This should be an interesting week, stay tuned . . .