Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Ebb and Flow of the EuroClothes Shipping Business

Mon.-Thurs., April 25-28, 2022 

The week started with a cool blast from the past in the form of an e-mail from an old friend Dan Spriesterbach.

Dan had received an e-mail from another of our old friends, Paul Marguglio, about having found an old photo in a box hidden away in his home for years apparently.

Dan wanted to know if any of us wanted a copy?


University of Washington
Football Media Day
August, 1967

Standing from left to right: DB Dan Spriesterbach, RB Gary James, RB/OLB Tom Verti, RB Terry Newlin, C George Contreras and OT Paul Marguglio

Kneeling: Washington Huskies DB Coach Jack Friedman

The reason for this photo was our two common bonds.

The first is obvious as we were all part of the 1967 UW Husky football team.

The second is that all of us also played together on some excellent St. Francis H.S. Golden Knights' teams based in La Cañada-Flintridge, California.

The six players in this photo were all coached at St. Francis by the then Head Coach of the Golden Knights, none other than Jack Friedman.

Good times indeed from when we were all much younger.

Thank you Paul and Dan!

We picked up more orders for our donated, used football gear this week.

Italy's Catania Elephants were
shipped a box of 75 pants

A new contact for us, Lithuania's
Klaipėda Curonians received
these jerseys and . . .

. . . these pants and socks

Klaipėda is a Lithuanian city located on the Baltic Sea coast.

The Curonians were an ancient Baltic Sea tribe dating back to the 13th-Century who were noted for being fierce warriors, excellent sailors and accomplished pirates.

The official score sheet from last
Sunday's Varese Skorpions 
Women's Flag Football Tournament
finally arrived

As stated in our last post, the Lady Skorpions are now 5-1 after competing in two of these tournaments this Spring. That 43-42 loss to the Milano Sirene hurts.

The Spanish LNFA Serie A Playoffs
will start on May 7th

I have, over the years, helped four different clubs that were part of this year's Spanish Serie A.

It all started for me on the Iberian Peninsula when I was the Head Coach of the Murcia Cobras in the Winter and Spring of 2015. The Cobras finished the 2022 season with a 2-6 record good for fourth place in the Serie A's Western Conference.

In 2016, I spent two months with Madrid's Osos Rivas coaching Offensive Line fundamentals and coaching the coaches at all levels of their program. This year the Osos are 8-0, Champions of the Serie A Western Conference and the Playoffs #1 seed.

In the Spring of 2021, I was the Analytics Coach for the L'Hospitalet Pioners who were the undefeated Champions of Serie B that campaign. The Pioners found the going in Serie A this Spring much tougher in notching a 2-6 record which translated into fifth place in the Serie A Eastern Conference.

This Spring, I have been serving as the Mallorca Voltors Analytics Coach. The Voltors' season has ended with a mark of 3-5 which meant a third place final standing in Serie A's Eastern Conference. The highlight of the Voltors' season was their 26-19 victory over the Eastern Conference Champion Barberà Rookies. It was the Rookies only loss of the regular season.

In the upcoming Serie A Playoff Semi-Finals the Osos Rivas (8-0), the Western Conference Champions, will host the traditional Spanish top dogs, the Badalona Dracs (6-2) who this year were the Eastern Confernce's second best club.

The other Semi-Final game sees the Barberà Rookies (7-1), the Eastern Conference Champions hosting the Western Conference's runner-up squad, the Las Rozas Black Demons (5-3).

Our old Swiss team, the Thun Tigers,
 will be in action this weekend at
home against the Geneva Seahawks
in an SAFV League A contest

Currently the standings in Switzerland's top league look like this:
1T. Bern Grizzlies 4-0
1T. Colanda Broncos 4-0
3. Thun Tigers 2-2
4. Geneva Seahawks 1-3
5T. Basel Gladiators 0-2
5T. Zurich Renegades 0-2
7. Winterthur Warriors 0-3

On to Italy's DII schedule this coming weekend . . .

Only eight of the 12 DII clubs
have games, the first two on Saturday
and the last two on Sunday

Our beloved Skorpions kickoff at
5:00 a.m. California time on Saturday

It's being live streamed via Facebook. I'll being making a lot of coffee early this Saturday morning it would appear.

The Skorpions (3-1) beat the Frogs (1-3) 42-0 last Sunday and just need to avoid massive potential cockiness and also not looking past the Legnano eleven to their all important regular season finale on May 15th on the road against the 5-0 Bergamo Lions.

The Lions beat the Skorpions 31-28 on April 9th in Varese.

Do you want to win a bar bet anytime soon?

I'm betting that most people can not
name the leading single season passer
in San Francisco 49ers history

Probably not the Cleveland Browns or Chicago Bears pass yardage leading QBs either.

Hard to read, but the Baskin-Robbins
31 Flavors ice cream shop in Camarillo
now offers an Ube Coconut Swirl flavor

We fell in love with all sorts of Ube flavored delicacies in our recent trips to Maui. Ube is a delicious purple sweet potato from the Philippines.

I tried a taster and it wasn't bad, the problem was that my mind entered 31 Flavors craving Rocky Road.

There was no turning back at that point, maybe next time.

Monday, April 25, 2022

News from the Varese Skorpions Front

Sunday, April 24, 2022

While it was a quiet day in Camarillo, back in the Milano suburb of Legnano, our beloved Varese Skorpions were back in action trying to rebound from their first loss of the season a couple of weeks ago against the undefeated Bergamo Lions.

Varese Skorpions (2-1)
Legnano Frogs (1-2)

As the Frogs do not live stream their games, I would have to rely on Facebook updates this day to find out how things were going for our favorite Italian DII franchise.

The first word I finally received was the Halftime score, Skorpions 35 - Frogs 0!

That score meant two things, the Skorpions came to Legnano ready to play and there would be a running clock soon in the Second Half by all indications.

And mercifully, there was.

These two clubs play again
next Saturday in Varese

As for the Skorpions, their four team conference, Girone B, shapes up like this coming down the stretch of the six game regular season:

1. Bergamo Lions 5-0
2. Varese Skorpions 3-1
3. Legnano Frogs 1-3
4. Verona Redskins 0-5

April 30
Frogs (1-3) at Skorpions (3-1)

May 7-8
Skorpions (3-1) at Lions (5-0)
Redskins (0-5) at Frogs (1-3)

The 2022 DII Playoffs will start with games on May 27-28.

There are currently four top contenders from the other two conferences in the hunt for good seedings in the playoffs.

In Girone A, we have the two Torino clubs, the Giaguari at 4-0 and the Reapers sporting a 2-1 record.

Girone C's two top elevens are the 3-1 Padova Saints and the surprising Isonzo Sentinels who are 2-1 after their 21-18 win over the Saints yesterday.

The 2022 DII Championship Game, the Silver Bowl, will be contested on June 26th.

The Skorpions Women's Flag
team also played on Sunday

The Skorpions Women played in their first mini-tournament at home back on April 10th defeating all three of their opponents. Those victories came at the expense of the squads representing the Bergamo Lions, the Busto Arsizio Tempeste and the Milano Sirene.

On Sunday, they travelled to Bergamo to play another three game mini-tournament against the same three opponents. The purpose of these regional get-togethers is to help determine the seeding for the eventual National Championship Tournament in June.

There are a total of 14 Women's flag teams, including the Skorpions, competing in similar mini-tournaments all over the Boot this Spring.

Although I have not heard or seen any of the exact scores, I have been led to believe that the Skorpions won two of the three games today bringing their overall record this Spring to 5-1 which should get them a good seed in the Big Dance.

Good Times!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

About a FABULOUS Dinner, Basketball, the Super Bowl Trophy, Street Tacos and an Outdoor Movie

 Thurs.-Sat., April 21-23, 2022

As you may recall, for the past two seasons I have worked as the Analytics Coach for Head Coach Jason Sabolic's El Camino Real H.S. Royals American football team.

Jason's parents, Joanne and Paul, are dear, longtime friends of ours so the fit is a good one for both Laurie and myself.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Elco as the Royals are often referred to, had their Fall 2020 season postponed until the Spring of 2021. The following, normal Fall 2021 season made for a lot of Elco football in a relatively short amount of time but it all paid off in the end.

The Royals swept through the 2021 Los Angeles City DII playoffs in dominating fashion outscoring their four opponents 126-48. That translates into winning their playoff games by an average of 19.5 points per game.

Paul Sabolic promised to take us all out to dinner to celebrate the championship season but life kept getting in the way until Friday night.

As it turned out, we would have more than just one thing to celebrate.

Now, where to eat?


Paul decided to treat us to a most amazing meal in one of the finest restaurants in Ventura County, the incredibly luxurious Mastro's Steakhouse.

I had heard so many good things about his fine dining spot but never dreamed of ever actually dining at this high end establishment.

We had a party of eight joining in the festivities including our hosts Paul and Joanne, Jason and his wife Teri, the Sabolic's daughter Nicole and her husband Nick plus Laurie and I.

Besides the Elco season, we were also celebrating the announcement that Nicole and Nick are now expecting their first child which means that Joanne and Paul will be grandparents for the third time.


As for the meal at Mastro's . . .

The seafood tower appetizer

Of course, Mastro's is a STEAKHOUSE after all so our main courses consisted of a variety of wonderful, delicious, juicy cuts of animal flesh prepared to absolute perfection.

Mastro's easily lived up to its well earned reputation.

Yes, the desserts were out of this
world as well!

We can not begin to thank the Sabolic family for this never to be forgotten, three hour dining experience.

Oh, there was one more thing to make the night even more memorable.

Jason had a surprise for Paul and I.

We both received our
2021 Los Angeles City DII Championship
rings during the dinner

Truly a beautiful ring that celebrates a wild season.

After Friday night's feast, we had a Feast of another kind on Saturday. 

Saturday was the Feast of St. George
as Facebook gladly reminded me

In Barcelona, the Catalan version of
St. George is Sant Jordi

We had a full plate on our schedule on this Feast day that started with Jacob's Camarillo YMCA basketball game.

Will the opening tip EVER come down?

Jacob inbounding the ball

There was lots of running
during the game

But not enough to come even close to wearing down Jacob's batteries.

Jacob about to join in double teaming
the lad with the ball

Running to help on defense again

I was extremely proud of the effort and hustle that Jacob gave in the game.

About to steal the ball from
the big woman in the paint

The exact moment when Jacob broke
the all-time Contreras family record
in the vertical jump

It was officially recorded at a whopping 4.75 inches!

Homeric to say the least.

Jacob reaching in yet again

Team joy after scoring a rare bucket
by the big fella on the right

Attacking yet again, he did
have a lot of steals today . . .

. . . like this one that . . .

. . . led to this fast break opportunity

About to earn a foul
That ball draws a lot of attention
and a hack or two

Running the floor

Fighting for position

Jacob's turn to get hacked

His team's half court trap was on

Smothering the ball led to . . .

. . . another steal

Trying to find an open teammate

Forcing a turnover

After the game we headed to Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

Thousand Oaks was the first stop
on the L.A. Rams Super Bowl Trophy
Tour throughout Southern California

As Jacob is now a ten year-old, die hard Rams fan so we simply had to go see the trophy.

Jacob made a quick change
into his Aaron Donald jersey
for the occasion

I got into the long line to see the trophy while Jacob and Mike explored the activities that had been set up.

After they left me, an official informed me that it would be a 90 minute wait from my place in the queue to actually seeing the trophy.

WR Jacob interacting with
a random DB on a highly
contested pass play

When Mike and Jacob returned we all agreed that the 90 minute wait was simply too long so I got out of line.

We did find Rampage the
team's mascot with the Super Bowl
Trophy in the distance

That black tape behind Jacob
keeps people like us away from
the people in that long line we left

We were close enough to the Super Bowl LVI Vince Lombardi Trophy to satisfy our needs.

Only one thing to do now . . .


No where near the level of Mastro's Steakhouse just down the street but still good in its own right for a solid lunch.

In the evening, we were off to Tierra Linda Elementary School in Camarillo to attend an outdoor showing of the movie WALL E which was being viewed in conjunction with the recent Earth Day festivities.

Mary was excited to show us her
Tierra Linda first grade classroom

Go Hawks GO!

The screen was ready but the
setting Sun was not on the Hawks'
playground/grass field areas

Jacob who also is a Hawk was all over the place alternately playing basketball, passing a football and generally running around with his classmates and friends for about two hours before the film started.

Finally it was dark enough
to start this quirky, environmentally
oriented animated movie from both 2008
and the far distant future

My Saint's Feast Day was truly a fun filled, wholesome family oriented day.

Reading Is FUNdamental!

An informative, historical piece
that I found quite interesting

Paul Sabolic has counseled me to read more non-fiction tomes like this one as opposed to my usually fictional mysteries.

I have to say that it was a good departure from my usual mainstream reading appetites.