Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fun in the SoCal August Sun

The last few weeks have been busy ones for us with several trips to the beach in Carpinteria to escape the heat.

Besides our visits to the Pacific Ocean, we kept busy doing a variety of things . . .

EuroBall Recruiting

Recruiting a QB for the
Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons

I'm seen here with former Georgia State University QB Nick Arbuckle after a high budget recruiting lunch at the In-N-Out in Oxnard on behalf of Falcons' GM Julien Urgenti.

Nick was the 2015 Sun Belt Conference MVP and after going undrafted, signed on as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He played his high school football locally at Ventura's St. Bonaventure H.S. and then played for two years at Pierce College before transferring to Georgia State.

At Pierce, his Offensive Coordinator was Jason Sabolic who is now Pierce's Head Coach and the son of Paul Sabolic, a teammate of mine at the University of Washington.

The small world of American football strikes again!

Even though Nick was cut by the Steelers he was given the high marks by all of my trusted sources.  He would be a great fit with everyone's favorite French team. 

Museum Visit

Laurie and I joined Helen Fujita and Koreen and Brian FitzGerald for the drive to Simi Valley to see . . .

. . . an interesting exhibit of
religious artifacts like . . .

. . . a reliquary

Nice bust

 St. Peter taking one for the team

 St. Paul losing his head

A Cardinal

 For some reason they
did not allow us to sit here

Fancy Chalice

Vatican and Gold are synonyms

Most of my books are also
covered in silver and gold

The current Republican Party
is not nearly as optimistic

It was an excellent exhibit and we all had a good day seeing the Vatican treasures and enjoying a day together.

Birthday Trip to Las Vegas

Laurie and I were on the road for the five hour drive to enjoy a long weekend with son Andrew, his bride Jenn and grandson Kevin to celebrate the little man's fifth birthday. 

Interesting beverages on sale
in Baker, California

We tasted all three which were almost equally bad.

Predictably, the Havana Banana tasted a little bit better than the other two.

Kevin opening our present

Mutant Ninja Turtles toys
were a hit!

By the way, nice soccer jersey Kevin.

Star Wars memorabilia is
HUGE in Kevin's house!

BBQ is HUGE with all of us!

 The Wäsby Warriors season looms

I needed to start practicing my game face with my new coaching hat in place.

31 Flavors is always a good
idea to combat the desert heat

 Kevin imitating his favorite
Mutant Ninja Turtle, Leonardo

If not a Turtle or a Star Wars hero,
he can always just be the King

On Saturday, Kevin had his
birthday party

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
we are not

Birthday cupcakes for everyone

A Leonardo blue cupcake

On Sunday we finally cut
his small birthday cake . . .

. . . with help from Andrew

Being a Grandpa is GREAT!

UW football is coming up soon

Speaking of Football

The Rams are back in L.A.

And the Dallas Cowboys are still in Oxnard, about 15 minutes from our house, for their Summer Training Camp.

So, I joined Michael and Jacob to watch a practice.

 Jacob and the Cowboys'
Super Bowl Trophies

1960 was the year the Cowboys
were founded

Their GREAT defense of the early '70s

 Low pad wins, Jacob

Jacob admiring Cowboy legendary running back Emmitt Smith.

Smith had 18,355 yards rushing and 164 rushing TDs in his Hall of Fame career.

You name it, they sold it

Jacob in the Kid's Zone
before the practice

with Jacob and Michael

 Cowboys practicing their
Kickoff Return schemes

 Any day with Jacob and football
is a good day for me

A good day at Cowboys camp but we
are Ram fans again after all the years

Tonight the Rams played their first pre-season game against the Cowboys in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before the largest crowd to ever see an NFL pre-season game.

A crowd of 89,140 was in attendance to see the Rams come from behind, last second win 28-24.

We did not go but Michael and I are taking Jacob to next week's game at the Coliseum.

The price is right

We bought three tickets on StubHub for $25 each for the Chiefs game. We will be sitting high up in seats in the Coliseum's closed end zone.

Tickets in that same section for tonight's game were going for $97 a piece.

For tickets in our same section for the first regular season home game next month, StubHub is asking $164 for each seat!


During today's visit to our home, Michael climbed into the attic to re-discover his childhood Legos.

After showing them to Jacob . . .

. . . Jacob staked a claim to
their ownership

Life continues to be GOOD!!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sebastian Serrano and the Small World of American Football

It never ceases to amaze me just how small the world of American football truly is.

As many of you know, I will
soon be working again in EuroBall

In October and November of this year I will again be heading overseas to work in Madrid with the Osos Rivas club seen in red and yellow in the picture above.

As stated in a previous post, it will be the Osos' off-season when I arrive. I have been charged with the dual tasks of coaching the coaches and teaching fundamentals to all of the members of the Osos' roster and the rosters of their feeder clubs as well.

With this as background, let me introduce you to . . .

 . . . Coach Sebastian Serrano

Sebastian and I have been Facebook friends for a long time although we have never actually met in person.

While I coached Spain's DII Murcia Cobras in 2015, Sebastian was coaching the Barberà Rookies team near Barcelona. While the Rookies were also a DII club, we did not play them because we were in different conferences.

The Rookies had a great team in 2015 going 10-1 with their only loss coming in the DII National Championship game against the undefeated Reus Imperials.

Because of that great season, the Rookies were promoted to DI for the 2016 campaign.

Besides Spain, Sebastian's coaching career includes successful stops in Germany, Croatia, Florida and soon in Portugal.

What made this, previously unbeknownst to me, a small world was that Sebastian had been both an Assistant Coach (1996-2010) and Head Coach (2011-2013) of your Osos Rivas!

 And to make an even smaller world . . .

Sebastian had been an assistant with the Osos in 2001 when they won their only National Championship with SoCal coaches Vince and Chris Pagliaro at the helm.

Without knowing it, I even have a couple of pictures of him stalking the sidelines as the Osos' Head Coach in 2012 when I saw the Osos host the Sueca Ricers.

 The 2011 Osos, under Sebastian's
leadership, made it to the DI Finals

He has also been a fixture as an Assistant Coach with the Spanish Mens and Womens National Teams at both the Junior and Senior levels.

Bottom line, Sebastian is an American football junkie in the best sense of the term!

After sitting out the 2016 season, he is back with a vengeance as the new Head Coach of . . .

. . . Team Portugal!

I am confidant that Team Portugal will show marked improvement in all of their international games next season under his tutelage.

Hopefully, I will be able to swing down to Lisbon while I'm in Madrid to finally meet this Euro legend coach face-to-face after all of these years.

Reading Is FUNdamental

Three good ones in the last few weeks starting with two from Visby, Sweden's own Mari Jungstead.



I found both of these books in the Camarillo Library.

By the way, sick and depraved are really good things when reading Nordic Noir books like Juingstead's.

From the Las Vegas Library
of Andrew Contreras

We were visiting Andrew and Jenn over the past weekend to celebrate grandson Kevin's fifth birthday.

This Berry book made it an even dozen of his books that Andrew has given me to read. For the 12th consecutive time, I was thoroughly entertained.