Monday, May 29, 2023

EuroBall News and the 39th Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner


Fri.-Sun., May 26-28, 2023

good start to the long Memorial Day weekend began with another trip to Pasadena for the latest round of the Mother/Son Dominoes Tournament.

To play at my best, I absolutely needed to nourish my body at another new dining spot in Highland Park.

Via-Mar Restaurant Express
5111 N. Figueroa Street
Highland Park

The specialty here is fish tacos

Battered and deep fried,
I went with two shrimp and
two asadas

They were all large and delicious.

I was ready for Dominoes!

Or so I thought.

What I found out on Friday was that one can get out of The Zone as easily and mysteriously as one gets into it.

Split Decision Final Score: Mom edged me on games, 21-20, while I beat her on points, 398-359.

I should have had another fish taco.

On to the Wonderful World of American Football . . .

The European League of Football
has taken the next step to legitimacy

There will, for the first time,
be a set of ELF trading cards
for sale issued by the top-notch
Panini Company

It got me to thinking . . .

Could our friend Jan Honza Raus
be in this new set of cards?

I first met Honza when he played for our Europe Warriors team that battled the University of Chihuahua in Chihuahua, Mexico in August, 2018.

In November of 2019, we met again as we co-coached the Offensive Line for the Europe Warriors U-18 team that took on the Austrian National Team in Vienna.

A month later, in December of 2019, we were re-united once again when our Europe Warriors Women's team journeyed to Mexico City to take on the Mexican National Team. I was the Head Coach of the team this time and Honza did a great job as the Warriors Offensive Coordinator.

Honza is a rugged looking Offensive
Lineman for the Czech National Team

Now he is a photogenic OL for one of
the ELF's 2023 expansion teams,
the Prague Lions

Now about that Panini ELF trading card . . .

This Facebook post got me
to thinking about . . .

. . . this old truism

Did you know that there are two
Cuban born players on ELF rosters?

A big MERCI! to our friend in Lyon, France, Julien Urgenti for letting us know who they both are and which German clubs they will be aiding during the ELF campaigns.

Felix Delgado
Defensive End, Leipzig Kings
6'-4" - 235 lbs.
Born in Santa Clara, Cuba

Jahn Perez
Defensive End, Cologne Centurions
6'-0" - 270 lbs.
Born in Cárdenas, Cuba

It should prove fun to follow their progress in the ELF season that starts next weekend.

Final 2023 Regular Season
weekend in the IFL
The Varese Skorpions (3-5) were
hosting the Milano Rhinos (4-3)

This was a key game in settling the final seedings for the six team IFL playoffs which start the weekend of June 10-11.

Italian Football League
Week #12 Results
Skorpions (4-4) 42 - Rhinos (4-4) 7
Stainless Steel Warriors (2-6) 28 - Mastini (0-8) 7
Panthers (7-1) 41 - Ducks (3-5) 21
Byes: Guelfi (7-1), Dolphins (6-2) & Frogs (3-5)

The Skorpions are in the DI Playoffs!

But what would their seeding be . . .

Final 2023 IFL Standings

Now, as to the playoff seeding tie-breakers based on head-to-head confrontations during the season:

The Parma Panthers (7-1) beat the Fienze Guelfi (7-1) 25-7 on April 22nd.

Thus, Parma earns the #1 Seed while the Guelfi will be the #2 Seed. Both clubs get the next two weekends off as their seedings mean Wild Card Round Byes. They have the straight route to the Playoff Semi-Finals on June 17-18.

The #3 Seed is the Ancona Dolphins (6-2) and has a home Wild Card Round game against the #6 Seed.

The Varese Skorpions (4-4) beat the Milano Rhinos (4-4) 42-7 on Sunday.

The Skorpions will be the #4 Seed and the Rhinos will be the #5 Seed. Both clubs now have a Wild Card weekend game against each other that again will be played in Varese.

The Lazio Ducks (3-5) beat the Legnano Frogs (3-5) 38-14 on May 21st.

By virtue of this victory, Lazio becomes the #6 Seed in the ILF Playoffs. The Ducks will travel to Ancona to play the #3 Seed Dolphins in a Wild Card Game.

The Frogs join the Emilia Stainless Steel Warriors (2-6) and the Verona Mastini (0-8) in their off-season preparations for the 2024 season.

Italian Football League
Wild Card Playoff Games
June 10-11, 2023
#6 Lazio Ducks (3-5) at #3 Ancona Dolphins (3-5)
#5 Milano Rhinos (4-4) at #4 Varese Skorpions (4-4)
#1 Parma Panthers (7-1)
#2 Seed Firenze Guelfi (7-1)

We can't leave the Italian Front without checking in on our original EuroBall team (2008 7 2009), the now DIII Catania Elephants.

A HUGE win for the Elephants!

The final regular season game victory raised the Elephants' record to 5-1. While the vanquished United Palermo Eagles record drops to 5-1. The win gave the Catania the #1 ranking out of Girone A going into the CIF9 playoffs that start in two weeks.

The CIF9 had 28 teams this year playing in five girones or leagues. As I write this, there still has been no announcement as to the CIF9 playoff brackets.

The 39th Annual Induction Dinner
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Serra Center, Camarillo, CA

This big, end of the school year event is always a highlight for our county's sports enthusiasts.

The Induction Dinner honors five distinguished inductees to the Hall of Fame and the 55 High School and College Male and Female Athletes of the Year for their respective schools.

It is a long night with over 360 people in attendance but a truly worthwhile one I assure you.

I am honored to be part of this Hall of Fame's Board of Directors.

Our 2023 Hall of Fame Inductees

Derry Eads
High School Sports Reporter and
Records Keeper

Michael Enfield
Ventura H.S., MLS Soccer Player

Samantha Fischer
Simi Valley H.S., All-American Softball Player

Rick Stewart
Fillmore H.S., All-American Baseball Player

Marlene Harmon-Wilcox
Thousand Oaks H.S., Olympic Track Athlete

There have been several Ventura County
athletes representing the USA in the
Olympics over the years.

The outdoor display of all of the
previous Hall of Fame Inductees
drew interest from attendees

Let's take a closer look at
some of these plaques . . .

"Bud" Hauser still holds the Shot Put
record at Oxnard H.S. 100 years
after he graduated!

With nicknames like "Moose" . . .

. . . "Stud" . . .

. . . and "Brick" . . .

How could they possibly not be in our Hall of Fame?

With this year's Inductees, the Ventura County Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1983, now has 197 members. We should have ten more members but the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled our 2020 and 2021 Induction Dinners.

Most of the inductees, whether as players or coaches, have found their path to the Hall due to success in the more traditional scholastic sports.

Still, almost every sport imaginable including rodeo, karate, kick boxing, competitive pistol & rifle shooting, auto drag racing, boat drag racing, boxing, canoeing, cycling and ultra-marathon is represented among the 197 Hall of Famers found in these plaques.

We also have several journalists, sports referees and contributors in the Hall. It is indeed a place to renew memories of some of the great names in Ventura County sports history.

The absence of any Dominoes players is a bit of an oversight in my opinion, just saying . . .

Pre-Dinner beverages on the
Serra Center patio

The Serra Center was packed!

It was a good night enjoyed by all in attendance.

For more information on the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame, go to:

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Contreras Family Dominoes Tournament Starts Its Third Week and the Wacky World of the Italian Football League

Wed. & Thurs., May 24-25, 2023
It has only only been two days since our last post but LOTS has happened.

We'll start with the magical, mystical world of Dominoes.

Calle 8 is the heartbeat area of
Miami, Florida's intense
Cuban-American Community

Cubans, as we've reported before, are deeply into the game of Dominoes. Cuban-Americans are too as it turns out as this wall testifies.

Miami's Máximo Gómez Park,
a.k.a, "Domino Park"

This park is the hotbed hub of Miami's Cuban-American passionate Dominoes playing culture.

Of course, Domino Park has strict rules that all Dominoes players MUST adhere to if they are going to compete. 

* Being Shirtless
* Throwing Trash on the Floor
* Yelling
* Spitting on the Floor
* Obscene Words (Bad Words)
* Wearing T-Shirts or Flip Flops
* Knives or Firearms

Violators of these rules
will be subject to suspensions
of 2 to 4 weeks 

My Mother and I have followed most of these rules while battling in our one-on-one Dominoes Tournament the past two weeks.

As I've reported before, until last Friday's games, she has been dominant. On that last day of competition, I finally broke through with a narrow victory.

On Wednesday, it happened.

Athletes at times talk about being in "The Zone."

This Zone is a mysterious thing where an incredible set of circumstances positively coalesce. Everything seems to slow down and the game becomes incredibly simple as it comes to you in easy to understand, and execute, bits and pieces.

On Wednesday's first day of Week #3 of our Dominoes Tournament, I was inexplicably in "The Zone."

We played 40 games and I won 26 of them. I outscored my Mother 585-218 in these games. It was an interesting feeling and, overall, my Mother took it quite well.

If we had played in Miami's Domino Park, she might have been suspended for a short period of time due to uttering a few . . .
* Obscene Words (Bad Words)

The Tea Mums

On Thursday my Mother's skilled nursing facility hosted a Tea Party/Lunch at Noon.

We enjoyed a classical guitarist who serenaded us all during the entire two hour affair. The food was top notch too, including . . .

. . . Mom's favorite, a rich dessert!

We had a really good time even if we were not able to play Dominoes today.

We'll be back at it on Friday I'm sure.

American Football News from around the Globe . . .

On the way home on Wednesday
I stopped at Thousand Oaks H.S.

The Lancers were in full Spring
Practice mode working on
Zone Blocking Techniques

The Lancers won the 2022
Canyon League Championship with
a sparkling 10-1 record

As with most teams nowadays, the
Lancers were passing most of the time

Nice catch

Looks like I'll be back at
Pacifica H.S. next Tuesday

The Pacifica H.S. Tritons will host the Channel Islands H.S. Raiders, the Ventura H.S. Cougars and the Hueneme H.S. Vikings in this extravaganza.

The European League of Football
rightfully prides itself on having
players and coaches from
45 countries on its 17 teams' rosters

I'd really like to know which club has a Cuban on their team.

Big Game in Girone A of
Italy's CIF-9 Division

Our old club, the Catania Elephants (4-1), close out their regular season at home versus the United Palermo Eagles (5-0) on Sunday.

In their first meeting of this Sicilian Derby to start the 2023 season, the Eagles prevailed in Palermo on March 19th by a final tally of 33-20.

CIF-9 is Italy's third division and plays nine-man football.

Sunday will also be the day that
our Varese Skorpions (3-4) host the
Milano Rhinos (4-3) in a key IFL game

Speaking about Italy's oft times wacky IFL . . .

The IFL had a re-scheduling
issue to deal with because of
the recent floods in the north

Italian Football League
Week #10 Re-Scheduled Game
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Frogs (3-4) at Stainless Steel Warriors (0-6)

Some background is needed. As far as I can tell, this is what transpired . . .

1. This game was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 14th as an Emilia Stainless Steel Warriors' home game.

2. Due to some unspecified scheduling problem with their home field, the Stainless Steel Warriors belatedly asked to move the game from Sunday, May 14th to Saturday, May 13th.

3. The Legnano Warriors said they could not agree to the change because they could not find an available bus to rent on such short notice to make the 280 mile round trip.

4. The Emilia club found a bus company in Bologna that was available for 2,200 Euros, an exceedingly high amount.

5. The Frogs said fine if the S.S. Warriors picked up the tab for the entire 2,200 Euros.

6. The S.S. Warriors said no and instead counter-proposed to pay for a small part of the recliner bus rental.

7. The Frogs said no to the counter-proposal.

8. The deadly deluge arrived making all of the above a moot point as the game was wisely postponed due to the serious flooding in the Bologna area.

9. FIDAF, Italy's governing body for American football, had to come up with a date for the game's re-scheduling.

10. FIDAF opted for Wednesday, May 24th ay 8:30 p.m. at the S.S. Warriors' home field about 20 miles outside of Bologna.

11. It must be remembered that the vast majority of players on EuroBall teams, regardless of country, are men with jobs and families or are full time high school/college students.

12. The bus trip from Legnano to the S.S. Warriors home field normally takes about 2:30 to cover the 140 miles.

13. With a scheduled 8:30 p.m. kickoff, a team would want to start its entire pre-game routine no later than 7:00 p.m. This would require the Frogs' bus to leave Legnano near Milano no later than 4:30 p.m. which meant that the players would need to leave work/school by about 3:00 p.m.

14. If the game took the usual two hours to play and the players showered after the game as is customary in EuroBall, then the bus would not be leaving the greater Bologna megalopolis until about 11:30 p.m. This return trip would put the team back in Legnano at about 2:00 a.m. on Thursday.

15. Players would face a tough day at work/school on Thursday with little sleep after the game.

16. The Frogs made their concerns known to FIDAF.

17. The IFL schedule has a built in Bye Week on June 3-4, the weekend between the last weekend of regular season games and the first weekend of the playoffs. Couldn't they play the re-scheduled game that weekend?

18. FIDAF's response was IMPOSSIBLE! 

19. The Frogs were told by FIDAF that if they did not show up on Wednesday, the game would be forfeited to the S.S. Warriors and that the Frogs would be assessed the usual 5,000 Euro fine that is clearly specified in the FIDAF rules for forfeiting a game before it starts.

20. The Frogs opted to make the trip and play the game even though their American QB was injured in last week's game and would not be able to play.

On line, I went to the FIDAF website
to see the result of the game

Oh my goodness, the Stainless Steel Warriors (1-6) beat the Frogs (3-5) by a score of 6-0.

Then I looked at my watch and realized that something was amiss. The game should have kicked off only about 45 minutes before I checked into the FIDAF website.

I clicked on the blue panel that says "View Details."

This is what I found

Reading from the bottom up it says:

8:32 p.m, Start First Quarter

8:34 p.m., SS Warriors Kickoff Return for a TD from the 22 yd line by #19, STW Vigorito

8:34 p.m., End of Game


 21. The Frogs had arrived with only 12 players suited up, the bare minimum allowed under FIDAF rules to safely play a game.

22. On the opening Kickoff of the game that resulted in the stunning S.S. Warriors TD, one of the Frogs got "injured."

23. With only 11 suited up Frogs now healthy enough to play, the FIDAF rules are again clear. The game must be stopped for safety concerns and the Stainless Steel Warriors were awarded their first win of the 2023 season.

24. The Frogs thus miraculously avoided the huge 5,000 Euro fine for forfeiting before the game started.

Yes, Uncle Sam,
my head is spinning too!

American football in Italy is indeed wacky and interesting if nothing else.

Stay tuned, FIDAF is apparently not done looking into the outcome of this game . . .

These IFL shenanigans just would
NOT have flown back in the day!

Italian Football League
1. Firenze Guelfi 7-1 *+
2. Parma Panthers 6-1 +
3. Ancona Dolphins 6-2 *#  
4. Milano Rhinos 4-3 #
5t. Lazio Ducks 3-4
5t. Varese Skorpions 3-4
7. Legnano Frogs 3-5 *
8. Emilia Stainless Steel Warriors 1-6
9. Verona Mastini 0-7

Regular Season Finished

+ Wild Card Playoff Bye Secured

# Wild Card Playoff Berth Secured

Italian Football League
Week #12 Scheduled Games
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Rhinos (4-3) at Skorpions (3-4)
Mastini (0-7) at Stainless Steel Warriors (1-6)
Ducks (3-4) at Panthers (6-1)
Byes: Guelfi (7-1), Dolphins (6-2) & Frogs (3-5)

Wacky, just plain

Recently, I have experienced this a