Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Trip to Ventura's Golf N' Stuff and an Action Packed EuroBall Weekend

Thurs.-Sun., May 27-30, 2021

As another week of Third Grade via Zoom meetings mercifully came to a close, we decided to take Jacob on a mini-road trip for an afternoon of miniature golf at Ventura's Golf N' Stuff facility.

It quickly became apparent
that Jacob was more into the
Stuff than the Golf

We opted not to fight it and
entered the world of clandestine
arcade life hesitantly

By inserting a $10 bill into a machine we purchased 48 game tokens and then the fun began. 

I was Jacob's wing man on
this Halo game

He killed a lot of strange looking bad guys. I would later join him in keeping Ventura free for " . . . truth, justice and the American way of life!"

Laurie looked good on a more
traditional Skee-Ball game

A bit pedestrian for the newest
arcade generation but . . .

. . . still, Jacob liked it, especially
when he realized that he beat
Laurie's score

Although Jacob saw no problem in buying another 48 tokens, the old folks were hungry.

Begrudgingly, he agreed to leave Golf N' Stuff for some lunch. 

Marshall's Bodacious BBQ
brought a smile back on his face

We had fun. Hopefully, the next time we'll play a round of miniature golf.

I continue walking and getting my body back into some semblance of shape. One sees some interesting things on these strolls like . . .

. . . the Pink's Hot Dog stand in the
Camarillo Outlet Mall . . .

. . . or a cool old surf mobile
in our neighborhood

May has been a MUCH better
physical fitness month than any
I've had since the start of the pandemic

EuroBall Action from
Spain and Italy

Barberá Rookies (5-2)
Pioners L'Hospitalet (7-0)

This game was played on Saturday with the winner becoming the 2021 Spanish Serie B National Champions.

The Pioners, coached by good friend Bart Iaccarino, is the team I've helped by doing an Analytics Study of their game videos and breaking down their Offensive blocking techniques seen in their practice videos.
It would be the third meeting
between the two Barcelona area
rivals this season

The first two contests accounted for the Rookies only two losses of the 2021 regular season as the Pioners won 34-16 on the road in January and again took the return game at home 54-35 in February.

It was a well fought championship game as the Pioners kicked a short field goal with about 20 seconds left in the game to win 24-21.


The Varese Skorpions (3-0) hosted
the Bergamo Lions (1-2) on Saturday

These two clubs met in Bergamo in the opening game of the season with the Skorpions claiming a 51-0 victory in a game shortened due to the invocation of the Mercy Rule.

It was a lackluster offensive effort
but 4-0 is better than 3-1

I'm sure that the Skorpions were a bit overconfident going into the game but it must be said that the Lions looked like a MUCH improved team.

All 13 points were scored in the Second Quarter on two nice pass plays. The Skorpions Defense did come to play and their combination of hard hitting and effort led to three interceptions and a fumble recovery.

The Skorpions will have to play at a much higher level next week when they hit the road for a game with the 3-1 Cernusco Daemons. In their first game back in April, the Skorpions trailed 14-13 before scoring twice late in the game to eke out a 28-14 victory.

Our original EuroBall club,
the Catania Elephants were playing
in the Sicilian Derby on Sunday
against the Palermo squad

When we were with the Elephants in 2008 and 2009 they were in Italy's First Division.

For the past few years they have played in Italy's Third Division which plays the nine-man version of the game.

Sicily belongs to the Elephants!

The teams played earlier this month in Palermo with the Elephants winning that one too, 50-23.

In the city of Grosetto, the Italian National Championship Women's Flag Football Tournament was played.

The Catania Pink Elephants
won it all by beating the
defending champion Parma Panthers!

So who came in Third?

All of Varese was excited that in only their second season of play, the Lady Skorpions brought home the Third Place hardware from the National Championship Tournament

Word on the street is that all the ladies need to win it all in 2022, are two really efficient Water Boys.

Reading Is FUNdamental!

With this interesting tome, I have now
read all 30 of Donna Leon's "Commissario
Guido Brunetti Mystery" series

I highly recommend all of these books that give great insights into life and crime in Venice.

I have just ordered this new book

Written by my former Westlake H.S. QB, Steve Chopp, and his son Matt, this book addresses a part of the game that one sees some teams poorly execute almost every weekend at the high school, college, NFL and EuroBall levels.

I think that it should become a part of every American football coach's library throughout the globe.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Stroll Through Colorful, Old Town Ventura

Mon.-Wed., May 24-26, 2021

The biggest accomplishment of the last three days is that I have somehow continued my long distance walking program that started under the guidance of physical fitness guru Mark Johnson at his ashram in Maui.

After walking solely through the neighborhood near our home in Camarillo the past week, I opted to drive up to Ventura for a stroll through their Old Town district, along the seashore and onto their 149 year old pier.

Along the route I would see lots of interesting things.

It all started after parking at . . .

Ventura's funky
Cemetery Memorial Park

The top of the park offers a nice view of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands in the distance.

Even though it is indeed a public park, more than 3,000 of Ventura's original settlers from the late 19th-century and early 20th-century are still permanent residents with an eternally excellent view.

More on this park at the end of today's walk.

This old church is for sale

A few years ago, it served as a B&B.

A park that is also a cemetery, a church that was a B&B . . . Ventura is an interesting beach community INDEED!

This pink building is part of
the church property

The church's side entry doors
have a lot of character

I wonder what the asking price might be?

Ventura's Elk's Lodge
was having a remodeling

In response to the pandemic, Ventura
turned its Old Town Main Street into
a pedestrian only thoroughfare

Apparently, the merchants and city liked it so much that it may remain as pedestrian only once Covid-19 is finally behind us.

There are lots of murals in Ventura

This is my favorite one.

The Limón y Sal Restaurant
is housed in one of Ventura's
great old buildings

Old by California standards but it would be considered in the brand spanking new caliber by most Europeans. 

Interesting scenery

The Bank of Italy would morph
into the Bank of America one day

I needed some fuel, a cup of coffee sounded perfect.

WHAT THE . . .

I ordered my cup of Joe and then looked to my left.


The young lady behind the counter informed me that they were Maple Bacon Almond Croissants. She insisted that they were non-sugar, low carb and low calorie pastries made on the premises.

I may or may not have eaten one but I'm not sure, it was a long time ago.

I coached in Catania in 2008 and 2009.
Palermo was our Sicilian rival city
in everything from sports to cannoli

On a side street, it caught my eye
as I had never noticed it before

I know someone who love Suns

These columns were of interest

He would look AWESOME
in our backyard

Whirlpool fountain


Mission San Buenaventura

Ventura's venerable Italian deli

I love these colorful bowls
that were for sale next to the deli

Large public fountains are pleasing

One big, old tree across
from the deli and the mission

Another public fountain on what
was once called "China Alley"

The mural behind the "China Alley"
fountain includes this little fellow

If you like pizza, then this
is the spot for you in Ventura!

I was getting closer to the beach and Ventura's famed Surfer's Point.

And, NO, I did not get a slice of pizza because I remembered that My Body is a TEMPLE!

Ventura has a rich sports history

One of the greatest athletes in USA
history was reduced to racing a
quarter horse in Ventura in the 1950s


A map of old Ventura

Finally, I arrived at the seashore . . .

Modest Driftwood and Rock Art . . .

. . . can also be created
on a grander scale

A lone surfer contemplating
his entry into the water


Where beach artists shop for materials

Some rocks are too
big and rugged for sand art

I opted to walk out to the end
of the Ventura Pier

The end of the pier was quiet

Looking back at Ventura
from the end of the pier

I started working my way back to my car.

I made it to Cemetery Memorial Park
without too much trouble

See, I wasn't kidding about the more than 3,000 souls still interred in the park.

This gravestone in the Park
was of interest so I Googled him

James Sumner was born in London, England in 1840.

On October 20, 1869, he was serving as a Private in the U.S. Army's First Cavalry as part of Company G.

On that fateful day, Sumner's Cavalry unit was charged with rescuing a settler's child who had been kidnapped by the famous Chief Cochise and a band of his Apaches.

Apparently, Cochise kidnapped the child solely to draw the Cavalry into a box canyon for the purpose of an ambush.

When the Cavalry arrived, the firefight broke out and Private Sumner led a charge of his fellow troopers that at first held off their attackers and then drove them off into the hills.

There was no mention of the fate of the settler's child after the skirmish.

For his heroics, Private James Sumner received our country's highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, on February 20, 1970.

At some point, our hero migrated to Ventura until he passed away.

The 10,000+ steps goal was
met once again

Thanks to Laurie's strict diet plan for me, combined with walking over four miles per day, I have lost 3.4 kilos = 7.5 lbs. since returning from Maui seven days ago!

Good to be sure but I have a long way to go to get back to my pre-Covid-19 fighting weight.

Reading Is FUNdamental!

A fun, easy read

The combination of the colorful cover and witty title made me want to buy it on a recent trip to Barnes and Noble.

Stephanie Cole is the pen name of one Shelley Costa who has also written books under her real moniker.

I love some of her other catchy book names which include: "Crime of the Ancient Marinara," "You Cannoli Die Once" and "Basil Instincts."

I remember now, I DID eat that Maple Bacon Almond Croissant, thank goodness that it was made of healthy ingredients!