Thursday, November 30, 2023

Three Days of Football, Health Care and Christmas Decorating

Mon.-Weds., Nov. 27-29, 2023

I have a wide variety of experiences to share with you today.

Let's start at the beginning . . .


Our friend Doug Dagan had been contacted by John Perez who is the Head Football Coach at Paraclete H.S. in the beautiful desert community of Lancaster, California.

Coach Perez had mentioned that 35 used but still in good condition shoulder pads that he wanted to donate to a worthy cause, did Doug know of anyone who might want them?

What could be a more worthy cause than needy EuroBall teams?

Thus I borrowed our friend Debi Murphy's old but ever reliable pick-up truck for the 90 minute, 95 mile drive out to the High Desert of the Antelope Valley and Paraclete H.S.

Paraclete H.S Spirits
7-4 in Football in 2023

A great John Wooden saying
in the Spirits' Locker Room

Coach Perez and his most generous
donation of shoulder pads

Subliminal Internet Message #1

There needed to be a breakdown of 
these donations once we got them home

I had already been contacted by four different Spanish teams that would like to receive at least some of these 18 Riddell, nine Schutt and/or eight Gunther shoulder pads.

THANK YOU, Coach Perez!

Speaking of donations . . .


I mailed this box to Spain's
Guadalajara Stings

The box contained five helmets, four pairs of football shoes, 11 receivers gloves and a bag of high quality flags for the Stings' flag football teams to use.

As always over the now 13 years that we have been shipping gear overseas, all of these donations are free to our EuroBall teams other than the reimbursement for the shipping costs.

While out buying duct tape used
to seal the box above, I purchased
this relaxing wind chime

The gentle sounds it makes in our sweet Camarillo breezes somehow just soothes me.

Subliminal Internet Message #2

The new College Football Playoff
rankings were announced tonight

#3 is nice for the Dawgs but . . .

The UW still has to beat #5 Oregon on Friday in Las Vegas in the final PAC-12 Conference Championship Game in order to make the Final Four.

Still, #3 is flattering and a worthy
reward for the Huskies 12-0 record

It won't be this friendly on Friday

Even though the Huskies beat the Ducks 36-33 back on October 14th in Seattle, Oregon is a 9 1/2 point favorite in the rematch.

Subliminal Internet Message #3
A reminder that the South American
Football Tournament starts on Wednesday

Originally there were four teams committed to these games with each getting to play two games. National teams from Brazil, Chile and Colombia were still ready to do battle but Team Panama had opted not to participate.

Thus on Wednesday, Team Colombia and Team Chile would skirmish with Team Brazil having the bye.

Friday's schedule will see Team Brazil against Team Colombia with Team Chile resting.

Saturday will be a difficult day for Team Brazil having to play its second game in two days this time versus Team Chile while Team Colombia's tournament is finished.

This is the tournament that I had agreed to be a part of as Team Brazil's Special Teams Coach.

Then life sadly got in the way.

The Rams and the Browns
at SoFi on Sunday

Hmmm . . .

Words to live by in my opinion

Subliminal Internet Message #4

Words that more than a few of our
friends believe correct when cooking

Lots of truth here again

For some strange and unexplainable
reason, Laurie and I went to Ruby's
Mexican Restaurant on today for tacos

Where do these weekly urges come from I wonder?


Mary proudly posing in front of her
elementary school's message sign

I think that her Poppo and Gigi were prouder of her than she was for herself.


I may be a bit biased.

After dropping off Mary and Jacob at their respective schools, I headed up to the city of Oxnard for a minor surgical procedure on my decidedly prominent nose.

It was a rousing success according to my dermatologist, so I felt the need to celebrate by taking a walk through Oxnard's nearby Collection Shopping Center.

The Collection has an artsy feel

Axe Throwing in The Collection

This is new. We have to try our hand at this soon!

I wonder if they sell alcohol?

One of two HUGE Christmas
trees on display in The Collection

Most of The Collection's shops
were still closed as I strolled


I love burrata Italian cheese.


They were not open yet and I had to start heading home.

I liked the color scheme

Mosaics are always
a big hit with me

When I got home, Laurie was hard at work transitioning our home from her Thanksgiving decor to her Christmas cheer.

That meant for but one thing for me.

Time to put up our ornaments
celebrating our beloved adopted
country of Italy and . . .

. . . as well setting out our treasured
University of Washington ornaments

These UW Huskies ornaments are hand crafted each year by Paul Sabolić, a world famous potter whose workshop and kiln are located in the exotic San Fernando Valley village of Northridge.

Paul's wife, Joanne, is equally renowned for her amazing glass blowing skills.

Colombia (1-0) had little trouble
defeating Chile (0-1) in last night's
first South American Tournament game

Italy's DI League is now
set for the 2024 season

That Lazio Ducks logo, bottom row middle, doesn't look anything like any duck that I've ever seen.


A total of nine teams, including our Varese Skorpions, will be in the IFL this coming Spring.

Note that the Torino Giaguari played in Italy's DII in 2023.

The other eight clubs all competed in DI last season with the Parma Panthers earning the IFL Championship crown.

Here they are listed alphabetically with their 2023 records.

Ancona Dolphins 7-3
Bologna Warriors 2-6
Firenze Guelfi 8-2

Lazio Ducks 3-6
Legnano Frogs 3-5
Milano Rhinos 4-5

Parma Panthers 9-1
Torino Giaguari 7-3 in DII
Varese Skorpions 5-5

The European League of Football (ELF) was also busy with the announcements today of their 2024 Conference alignments for their 17 teams.

The Western Conference has
six teams in three countries

The nations of France, Germany and Spain have ties to the Western Conference. The Madrid Bravos are the lone, brand new expansion team in the ELF this season.

The Central Conference includes
six teams in FIVE countries

The national interests of Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland all lie in the Central Conference
The Eastern Conference only
has five teams and they are
also based in FIVE counties

This 100% internationally diverse conference has squads representing the countries of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Poland.

Geographically, this map
shows how the ELF's three
conferences are set up

At least one random ELF aficionado
posted his thoughts on a more
geographically feasible ELF in 2024

The ELF not having Spain's Barcelona Dragons and Madrid Bravos in the same conference seems a tad silly to me.

The results of this weekend's ten
NCAA FCS Conference Championship
Games will go a long way . . .

. . . to fleshing out all of these
post-season bowl games

Here we go again, let the
merry-g0-round start turning . . .

The college Transfer Portal officially opens again this coming Saturday.

Notre Dame's starting Center will be in the hopper when it does and he most definitely will not be alone.

At 12:30 p.m., I had an on-line meeting with veteran EuroBall coach, Gavin Campbell, for the first of his off-season podcasts focusing primarily on Special Teams play.

Gavin is currently a coach in Poland with the Silesia Rebels and is deservedly known as a Special Teams guru in European circles.

Coach Campbell with one
of his Rebels players last season

I was asked to discus two topics, Building a Winning Culture and Aggressive Special Teams.

We were going to treat this as if we were two friends in a bar just talking football casually over a beer or two for about 90 minutes.

We had a ton of fun and when we finished, I looked at my watch and three hours and fifteen minutes had too quickly elapsed.

Apparently, we emptied the entire keg at that Polish bar of his during our delightful exchange of ideas.

Now, that was fun!


Last minute news from the net . . .

Klimt Eastwood

A small part of why Laurie and I
consider Italy our second home

Italian food, STAT!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Play's the Thing

Sunday, November 26, 2023
We have had so much American football the last few months, I felt that it was time for a totally different date with my bride.

Thus we headed over to Santa Paula for a lunch date.

If you want fine dining in
Santa Paula, this is the spot

It is in the old Mupu Grill building

A BBQ chicken salad for me and an Aloha burger for Laurie while watching some NFL football on The Draft's big screen TVs hit the spot.

OK, we couldn't just quit football cold turkey style.

A good after lunch caramel latte
at Rabalais' Bakery was a good call

Santa Paula has lots
of good murals like these

Santa Paula's Presbyterian Church
is quite photogenic

We didn't drive all the way out to Santa Paula just for the food, we had an artistic itch that needed scratching. 

Thus we headed to the
Santa Paula Theater Center

We've seen several plays at this wonderful community theater over the last few years and have always come away elated by our experiences there.

The Santa Paula Theater was
winding up their five play 2023 season

This was the comedy spoof of the
Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same
name that we wanted to see today

The theater's intimate setting with seats for only 95 patrons was packed.

We had seen this play twice over the years on the London stage and had thoroughly enjoyed its fast paced zaniness.

As usual, today's version was just as enjoyable, funny, entertaining and well crafted as we expected.


While we were laughing in
Santa Paula, the Rams were
winning in the desert

The Rams are still in third place in the NFC West with a 5-6 record. At the start of the season, I honestly did not think that the Rams would win five games all season.

Only five remain out of the
133 NCAA FCS colleges

These last five 12-0 ball clubs standing are Florida State, Georgia, Liberty, Michigan and your Washington Huskies.

I've stated that the Huskies have been skating on thin ice in their last eight games but still, finding the grit and determination to win all of these close games is impressive.

Friday night's game between the
12-0 Huskies and 11-1 Oregon
may become an instant classic

This pretty much sums up
some of the best people I know