Monday, February 20, 2023

Back to Grade 5 Boys Basketball

Wed.-Sun., February 15-19, 2023

We start with the laying to rest and celebration of the life of Rio Mesa High school's revered football coach, John Reardon, this past Wednesday.

The funeral Mass held at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Camarillo was one that captured the essence of JR. The church was packed which was not a surprise to anyone who knew the far reaching and long lasting effect that John's character had on people.

The priest's homily touched well on JR's spiritual side as a long standing, active member of the parish. John's son, Barry, gave an absolutely perfect eulogy that gave us all a loving, caring lift as he recounted John as teacher and coach to thousands of us in the community.

His was truly a well lived life. 

With Mike Muro and Paul Petrich
at the Spanish Hills Country Club

It was here that so many of us met after the funeral Mass to relive stories of our beloved friend, colleague and mentor.

The three of us were all assistant coaches for John at Rio Mesa H.S. for many years and we were all the better for it.

We are all going to miss JR greatly but like so many others, he will live in our hearts for as long as we're still upright.

Fun with Mary before
school on a chilly Thursday

I have no idea how she got her tiger to stick to my beanie.

On Saturday, we headed back to Las Colinas Middle School's gymnasium for Jacob's last Wildcats (3-3) basketball game of the regular season against the always dangerous Blue Devils (1-5) squad.

Warming up before the game

"Rebound that basketball!"

Both clubs started slow with the score at the end of the First Quarter being Blue Devils 3 - Wildcats 2.

Working to get open

Sometimes rebounds are retrieved
on the hardwood floor

Jacob showing off  his
inbounds passing skills

At the Halftime break, points were still hard to come by as the underdog Blue Devils still clung on to a narrow one point lead, Blue Devils 7 - Wildcats 6.

Wild hair day for our favorite Wildcat

Matching up at the point

Hurry Jacob, HURRY!

The Third Quarter was a good one for the Wildcats as they now led, Wildcats 13 - Blue Devils 10.

Watch that forearm shiver #14!

Back to one-on-one defense

Basketball can be fun!

Especially when you are winning!

The Final Score was Wildcats 17 - Blue Devils 14.

The playoffs will start next Saturday.

Camarillo Youth Basketball Association
Grade 5 Wildcats Regular Season Results
4 Wins - 3 Losses
January 7, Beat the Buckeyes 20-19
January 14, Beat the Orange 33-13
January 21, Lost to the Trojans 14-30
January 28, Lost to the Tigers 21-22
February 4, Beat the Deacons 33-15
February 11, Lost to the Bruins 8-19
February 18, Beat the Blue Devils 17-14 

Mary preparing for her
First Communion in May

On Saturday, she was in church for a Reconciliation Service.

What sins could this angelic face have possibly committed?

Still, come to think of it, that trick with the tiger in my beanie sure smacks of witchcraft . . .

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Art Fraud, Murder and tales of dining
in Italy's famed region of Tuscany

What more could you want from a book?

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

An Award, a Play, a Clinic, Fun with Family in Las Vegas and Coffee with Cops in Camarillo


Mon.-Tue., February 6-14, 2023

An eventful week to be sure . . .

It started with a surprise honor for young Jacob.

Just as his Father and Uncle did years ago,
Jacob competed in the
Camarillo Academic Olympics

Not only competed, he took
FIRST PLACE in the U.S. History exam!

Pardon me for the shameless, proud Grandparent moment.

It wasn't just Jacob who made us proud this week.

Mary's performance in her
Second Grade Class Play
was equally exhilarating! 

It was a musical dealing with
all parts of grammar

Her role was both epic and challenging. 

Mary was not just any Quotation Mark,
she was the END Quotation Mark

I am sure that all of us remember being told, years ago, by our teachers that the end quotation mark was THE most important individual part of English language grammar. 

The Second Graders were READY!

Unfortunately, Mary's segment of the play which lasted two minutes and ten seconds, is too big of a video file for uploading to this blogpost.

Mary's class taking their much
deserved applause after the play

The day after Mary's tour de force play we headed East by car to . . .

. . . SIN CITY!

It was a dual purpose road trip, part to visit Andrew, Jenn and Kevin and part to learn more about American football.

The Las Vegas Glazier Clinic
turned out to be as good as I had hoped

The Las Vegas Strip
is indeed impressive

The Paris Hotel and Casino
adjoined the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino
that housed the Glazier Clinic

Not the real Eiffel Tower

I think.


Beautiful ceiling in the corridor that joins the Paris and Horseshoe casinos.

Even famous food expert
Guy Fieri was into the weekend's
Football Clinic/Super Bowl mood

The Glazier Clinic is a huge one with as many as eight different speakers holding court on a wide variety of topics at the same time.

The Head Coach of Southern Utah University
was my first lecturer

His topic was "How to Win Where You Shouldn't."


His approach to the first 90 days
on a new coaching job

In these days of the Transfer Portal,
both in college and high school,
this is an important consideration

Besides Coach DeLane FitzGerald, the other speakers who caught my interest were:
Josh Floyd - Head Coach
Hewitt-Trussville H.S., Alabama

Brian Belles - Head Coach
Cactus H.S., Arizona

Patrick Toney - Defensive Coordinator
University of Florida

Nick Eason - Defensive Line Coach
Clemson University

Aaron Whitecotton - Defensive Line Coach
New York Jets

Mason Hughes - Head Coach
Central Valley Christian H.S., California

On top of getting lots of new ideas at the Glazier Clinic, I also got to reconnect with California coaching friends Jason Sabolic of El Camino Real H.S. and Ryan Bolland of Buena H.S. It was great to see Rick Shoup of Las Vegas' Cimarron-Memorial H.S. too.

All three of these good coaches are much younger than me, I actually coached Ryan and Rick as high school athletes. Jason is the son of one of our best friends from our days at the University of Washington.

In the old days, I knew a lot more coaches at these clinics.

I wonder where they all went?

I also had a surprise meeting at the clinic as a coach who was a stranger to me on sight approached me between coaching sessions.

With Frank Lautt the
Head Coach at Goldwater H.S.
in Phoenix, Arizona

Frank and I had communicated on-line and by phone about eight years ago in regards to his desire to coach in EuroBall.

Since he was already fluent in French, his desire for a job in France sounded perfect.

Whatever information and guidance that I was able to give him did indeed help land him a Head Coaching position in 2015 with the Chambery Aigles in, you guessed it, southeastern France.

It was the first time that Frank and I had met in person.

Small world, good guy.

All in all, it was a great clinic experience in the desert.

On Saturday night, I joined Laurie,
Jenn and Andrew for an AMAZING meal

This Mexican-Italian fusion trattoria is located far from the Las Vegas Strip making it much more of a locals hang out with few tourists.

The New York steak in a cognac sauce pasta was indeed memorable.

Watching Sunday's Big Game
at the Desert Casa Contreras with
family was just perfect!

It was also MUCH cheaper than
being at the stadium in Glendale live

It was good to see that these tickets as well as Andrew's living room both offered Unrestricted Views.

Both QBs had fine outings

Kansas City Chiefs (17-3) 38
Philadelphia Eagles (16-4) 35

A good, entertaining game.

Speaking once again of being a proud Grandparent . . .

Grandson Kevin seen here with
his dog Biscuit

He beat me like the proverbial drum in our chess games over the weekend.

He also won the family Uno game on Sunday night after the Super Bowl.

Proud yet again to say that there really is no stopping our three grandkids.


Mary ready for school
on Valentine's Day

Not only was it Valentine's Day today, it was also Coffee with a Cop Day at school as kids arrived on campus.

Not many kids had a cup of coffee
but many had a donut hole or six
to get the Valentine's day sugar rush
off to a huge start

A good looking police vehicle

Mary preparing to break up any
possible riotors at the donut table

Jacob was asked to take photos
for the school yearbook

He was extremely excited as he accepted his assignment.

Mary Contreras
Camarillo SWAT Team Member

Mary poking her head out of
the SWAT Team Assault Vehicle

If Mary can do it,
so can Jacob

Ever the Photo Journalist

Jacob handed this Officer
his school camera

He then asked the Officer to take his picture in the patrol car.

There are other acceptable possibilities
on Valentine's Day

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Another well crafted mystery set
in post-WWI England

I have enjoyed the way this author interweaves history into her fictional crime scenarios in both of her books that I've read recently.

I highly recommend her works.