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Sunday, March 28, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 17: CATANIA...THE OLD AND THE NEW

IF YOU WANT TO WITNESS A CIRCUS WATCH A PROFESSONAL FOOTBALL TEAM TRAVEL THROUGH AN AIRPORT TO PLAY A GAME...J. LO, BRAD PITT, PARIS HILTON, GEORGE CLOONEY CAN'T HOLD THE CANDLE OF ATTENTION TO WHAT PIETRO, NUMA, CHRISTAIN AND LUCA DID GOING THROUGH ITALIAN SECURITY ON SATURDAY MORNING...NO NO NO..THE STARES...THE GASPS...THE OMG'S...WERE IN FULL DISPLAY..ANIMALS IN THE CIRCUS..


                         THE CIRCUS COMING THROUGH THE AIRPORT

OF COURSE WE ARE JUST OVERGROWN KIDS..THEY CAN BE A COACHES  NIGHTMARE..WHO WOULD SHOW?..WHO WOULD MISS THE PLANE?..PASSPORTS?..ANYONE LEAVE THE CRIB WITHOUT THEIR'S?...RESPONSIBLE FOR PACKING YOUR OWN GEAR..WHO WOULD FORGET THEIR HELMET?..THE SHOULDER PADS?..KINDA HARD TO DELIVER A BlOW ON THE GRIDIRON WITHOUT THOSE...SECURITY LINES AROUND THE CORNER?..WHAT THE HECK..CUT IN FRONT..WHO'S TO ARGUE?..NOTHING LIKE SEEING A DEFESIVE LINEMAN'S MUG SQUEEZED INTO A MIDDLE SEAT IN COACH CLASS..AREN'T THOSE SEATS RESERVED FOR THE GOATS AND CHICKENS..OR THE MIDGETS OF THE WORLD?

THE MORNING TRAVEL WOULD PRODUCE NO ISSUES...NO SURPRISES..ALL HANDS ON DECK...WE ALMOST APPEARED LIKE A PROFESSIONAL OUTFIT..COULD THIS REALLY BE THE BERGAMO LIONS EMBARKING ON A TRIP TO PLAY A GAME THAT DAY WITH NO ONE MISSING?

OUR DESTINATION WOULD BE A LAND OF ULTIMATE CONTRASTS...FROM THE AIR YOU CAN SEE A SNOWCAPPED MOUNTAIN ON A SUNDRENCHED ISLAND...THATS A CONTRAST..THE LARGEST ISLAND IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA IS SEPARATED BY LESS THAN 10 MILES OF SEA TO HER MOTHERLAND..HOW COULD THIS LAND PRODUCE BOTH A BLOODTHRSTY LA COSA NOSTRA (OUR BUSINESS) THE MAFFIOSA BORN OF MONREALE AND CLOSE TO THE CITY OF CORLEONE, POPULARIZED BY MAURIO PUZZO'S IL PADRINO...AND YET MAKE THE SWEETEST PASTRY KNOWN TO MANKIND..THE CANOLI?...WHERE CITRUS FRUITS OF BLOOD ORANGES, LEMONS, AND LIMES ARE AS PLENTIFUL AS THE THE SOUND OF HORNS HONKING IN MIDDAY CITY TRAFFIC....WHERE PEOPLE ARE SHORT AND THE DAYS ARE LONG...WHERE THE NARROW CITY STREETS OF PALERMO, CATANIA AND MESSINA ARE CHOKED WITH BUMBER TO BUMPER TRAFFIC, WHERE RULES AND LAWS ARE MERELY A SUGGESTION WHILE THE COASTLINE IS DOTTED WITH COUNTLESS COLORFUL PEACEFUL FISHING BOATS THAT HAVE NEVER GONE FASTER THAN THE OAR CAN ROW...THIS IS SICILY........THIS WAS OUR DESTINATION..

CATANIA, SICILY TO BE EXACT...WARM AIR AND BRIGHT SUNSHINE GREETED US UPON LANDING..ALREADY THE MOODS BRIGHTENED...IF THIS IS GAMEDAY TRAVEL THEN LET THE CONTRAST TO WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SURVING IN, AN EXTENDED MISERABLE INVERNO IN BERGAMO, CONTINUE..


                         MT ETNA TOWERS OVER CATANIA AT ALL TIMES

BUT HERE IS WHERE THE ITALIAN LEAGUE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL AND THE "ITS JUST ITALY" TOOK OVER..THE STADIUM WE WOULD PLAY IN, 2 1/2 HOURS FROM KICKOFF WAS 15 MINUTES AWAY..SO WHAT DID WE DO?..OUR BUSDRIVER WOULD TAKE US 10 KM IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION THROUGH THE CENTER OF TOWN AROUND THEIR PORT OF CATANIA IN PARKING LOT TRAFFIC..WHICH WOULD TAKE 1 1/2 HOURS SO WE COULD GET A GOOD LUNCH AT A TRATTORIA WITH TYPICO SICILIANI  CIBO...CROQUETTES OF FRIED RICE  WITH MOZZARELLA AND TOMATO SAUCE WAS TO DIE FOR...ARANCINI....BUT FOR A PREGAME MEAL WITH KICKOFF TO TAKE PLACE IN AN HOUR?..I CAN JUST IMAGINE THE BLOOD VESSELS THAT WOULD POP IN BILL PARCELLS' BRAIN IF THE NEW YORK GIANTS TRIED SOMETHING LIKE THIS BACK IN HIS HEYDAY.

BUT IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS WORLD FAMOUS BLOG YOU KNOW THAT THE BERGAMO LIONS DO NOT COMPLAIN..NEVER...EVER..ABOUT ANYTHING..NOT FROM MY EARS ANYWAY..AMAZING, AND ITS THE QUALITY I LOVE MOST ABOUT THE TEAM..THERE WERE PLAYERS THAT STARTED THE DAYS JOURNEY IN THE SOUTH OF ROME AT 1AM  IN THE MORNING AND WOULD DRIVE OVER 5 HOURS TO REACH THE BERGAMO AIRPORT TO TRAVEL WITH THE TEAM...SO A GOOD LUNCH ON WHAT FELT LIKE A SIGHT SEEING TOUR OF DOWNTOWN CATANIA DIDN'T SHAKE ANYONE UP



                   KICKOFF CAN WAIT...PREGAME MEAL TO ENJOY FIRST


OF COURSE OUR BUS DRIVER DID THE ITALIAN THING OF MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME..REDLIGHTS?...STOP SIGNS?...THEY ADHERE TO ONLY 1 RULE..NO PEDONALE...NO FERMATA...TRANSLATED...NO PEOPLE..NO STOP..ONCE AT CUS STADIUM ON THE CAMPUS OF CATANIA UNIVERSITY WE WOULD CHAT WITH THE OFFICIALS WHO WOULD BEND THE STARTING TIME FROM 1:30...TO A NEW START TIME OF 2:15..LOCKERROOMS UNDERSIZED..ILL-EQUIPED FOR 45 FOOTBALL PLAYERS..NO PROBLEM..JUST TAKE THE UNI'S OUTSIDE AND CHANGE IN BROAD-DAY-LIGHT..MAKESHIFT TRAINING ROOM ..VOILLA..PREPARATION WAS UNDERWAY..US AMERICAN COACHES WERE CONCERNED...ARRIVE LATE..PREGAME MEAL OF SICILAIN FAVORITES...80 DEGREES IN STRONG SUNSHINE...PLAYING AFTER TRAVELING ALL-DAY..WHO WOULDN'T BE CONCERNED??..


                     NO TRAINING ROOM..NO PROB..FLOOR IS PERFECT

CUS STADIUM WAS A GARDEN SPOT....IT APPEARED TO BE WEDGED BETWEEN THE MAR MEDITERRANEAN AND THE SNOWCAPPED MOUNTAIN OF MT ETNA...AT NIGHT THE VLCANO THAT IS AT THE PEAK OF MT ETNA WOULD BE BILLOWNG SMOKE , REMAINS FROM  AN ACTIVE VOLCANO THAT OVERFLOWS WITH LAVA INTO THE NEIGHBORING TOWNS EVERY DECADE OR SO..


               MT. ETNA SNOWCAPPED VOLCANO RISES IN BACKDROP

OH YEAH ANOTHER WORRISOME THOUGHT HAD CREEPED INTO OUR EXECUTIVE BRANCHES ALL WEEK LONG..THE CATANIA ELEPHANTS HAD JUST SET AN ITALIAN LEAGUE RECORD OF SCORING 81 POINTS THE PREVIOUS WEEK VS BOLZANO GIANTS, LAST YEAR'S LEAGUE CHAMP..81 POINTS..NOT AN NBA SCORE...OR AN ARENA LEAGUE SCORE..NO NO..BOLZANO WOULD FIRE THEIR DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR AFTER THAT DEBACLE..WE WITNESSED ALL 81 POINTS IN GAMEPLANNING FOR THIS WEEKS CONTEST


                     CATANIA SCORED A RECORD 81 PNTS A WEEK AGO

IT WOULD BECOME A FABLE OF THE OLD AND THE NEW...IL VECCHIO E' IL NUEVO...JOINING THE RANKS WOULD BE SOME BERGAMO VETS WHO WERE PART OF 12 STRAIGHT ITALIAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS...LUCCA AND ROBERTO WOULD TRAVEL, DRESS. AND PLAY...LUCCA IS 45 YEARS OLD..I FIRST MET HIM AS A SPRY, SUPERHUMANSTRONGMAN WITH THE BARCELONA DRAGONS OF THE WORLD LEAGUE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL IN 1997..THAT YEAR THE DRAGONS, COACHED BY JACK BICKNELL, AND LEAD BY NFL GREATS JON KITNA AT QB AND BY LA'ROI GLOVER AT DT WOULD WIN THAT LEAGUE'S CHAMPIONSHIP ON A GREAT NIGHT IN OLYMPIC STADIUM HIGH ABOVE MONJUIC VS THE RHEIN FIRE..LUCCA WASA RESERVE DT BUT A CHAMPIONS HEART..AT 45 HE STILL CAN SQUAT AND DEADLIFT WITH SOME OF THE WORLDS STRONGEST...BUT HIS SMILE AND FRIENDLY NATURE IS INFECTIOUS...HE WOULD PROVIDE STRENGTH IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR DEFENSIVE WALL


                       LUCCA...45 YEARS YOUNG..SMILE NEVER GOES AWAY

THEN THERE IS ROBERTO, AGE 42...WANTS TO RETIRE..BUT THE GAME STILL SUCKS HIM BACK INTO IT..BY DAY HE WORKS IN A STEEL FACTORY..HATES IT...WHO WOULD ENJOY..WHEN HE SPEAKS SPARKS OF IRON SPIT OUT..PURE GRAVEL...BUT HE HAS TWIN 8 YEAR OLD DAUGHTERS THAT HAVE TO BE LOOKED AFTER..CARED FOR AND LOVED...SO HE DRAGS HIMSELF TO THE FACTORY EACH DAY...REMINDS ME OF MY FATHER'S ILK...STRAIGHT FROM THE STEELMLLS OF PITTSBURGH WHERE FOOTBALL IS THE GREATEST RELEASE AND THE HEALTHIEST DISTRACTION..ROBERTO IS ALSO OUR DEFENSIVE LNE COACH..BUT ON THIS WEEK WITH THIS OPPONENT..IT WAS TIME TO STRAP IT UP ONE MORE TIME..WHAT A PERFORMANCE..ONE OF OF BEST 1ST STEPS  FROM ANY 42 YEAR OLD I HAVE EVER WITNESSED


                      ROBERTO 42...DREAMING OF THE WAY HE USED TO DO IT

IT WAS ALSO A DAY OF THE NEW..OUR DEFENSE GAVE UP 49 POINTS THE FIRST WEEK IN A LOSS..IT WOULD SURRENDER 42 POINTS VS ROME IN A WIN..COULD WE CONTINUE TO IMPROVE WHILE TRAVELLING TO CATANIA TO PLAY AN OFFENSE THAT BLISTERED ITS OPPONENT 6 DAYS AGO FOR 81?...WELCOME RICH BROWN..RICH HAS ASSUMED DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DUTIES SHARED WITH DAVIDE'..RICH HAS PUT A FOUNDATION IN PLACE..HE SPENT HOURS PREVIEWING CATANIA'S OFFNESE..A FORMER DEFENSIVE STALLWORT AT END FOR SANTA CLARA AND A TEAMMATE TO COACH COS..HE WOULD PUT INTO PLACE A MASTERFUL GAMEPLAN...PICKING UP ON KEY TENDENCIES, IT WAS TIME TO MAKE THEIR QB NO LONGER IMITATE DAN MARINO..HE WOULD RUN FOR HIS LIFE WITH THE RELENTLESS PRESSURE OFF THE EDGE.


                         RICH  BROWN AND COS..SANTA CLARA REUNITED

BUT THIS OFFENSE WOULD NOT SURRENDER TO RICH BROWN'S SCHEME ALONE..IT NEEDED A "SHUT DOWN" CORNER...SOMEONE WHO COULD TRAIL, FOLLOW, AND HARRASS THEIR ACE AMERICAN RECEIVER..THIS WAS THE KEY INGREIDIENT TO COACH BROWN'S FORMULA..

BENVENUTO TERRELL..IF I NEW HIS LAST NAME I WOULD PRINT FOR YOU TO READ, EXCEPT I DON'T KNOW IT..NOR DOES ANYONE ELSE ON THE TEAM..YOU SEE, HE JUST ARRIVED ON LUNEDI..LAST PLAYED FOR THE LA TEAM IN THE NEWLY ERRECTED UFL THAT WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN NOVEMBER...AT PRACTICE ON MONDAY,  HOURS AFTER LANDING FROM AN 18 HOUR TRAVEL DAY FROM LA,  HE APPEARED BOTH JETLAGGED AND QUIET..BUT SWEET..EASY SMILE..ACTUALLY 5 DAYS LATER HIS DEMEANOR DIDN'T CHANGE AT ALL..


                      TERRELL...WARMING UP TO A SENSATIONAL DEBUT

ONE OF THOSE PLAYERS WHO YOU NEVER KNOW IS THERE UNTIL THE GAME STARTS..PREFERS TO LET HIS PLAY DO THE TALKING....LONG BONEY CALVES...SPAGHETTI LIKE SINEWY ARMS..SLEPT FROM THE AIRPLANE RIDE TO THE BUSRIDE THROGUH THE AIRPORTS AND TO THE STADIUM...GOT THE BODYFAT OF A HUMMINGBIRD..WOULD HE WAKE UP INTIME FOR THE KICKOFF?..OUR FOOTBALL LIVES RESTED IN HIS GIFTED HANDS AND FEET.


                   TERRELL...PREFERS TO LET HIS PLAY DO THE TALKING

HIS PLAY WAS SMOOTH...AND NATURAL..BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL..THE STAR AMERICAN RECEIVER FROM CATANIA WAS A NONFACTOR...ON OFFENSE WITH PLAYS HE HAD NEVER PRACTICED , HIS HANDS CAUGHT EVERYTHING..THE PARTY WOULD ONLY GET STARTED ONCE HE CUPPED THE BALL IN HIS HANDS..IT WAS A REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE..DOMINANT..NOT AN ECHO OF GLOAT..NO PRAISING THE HIGHER POWERS..NO ENDZONE CELEBRATIONS...AS QUIET IN A STUNNING VICTORY AS HE WAS GETTING OFF A JETLAGGED PLANERIDE FROM SOME OTHER PART OF THE WORLD JUST CINQUE GIORNI FA.

WE WERE DOWN 12-0 AND NOT A SPECK OF PANIC...WE HAD EM RIGHT WHERE WE WANTED THEM...FOOTBALL IS AN AMAZING GAME..WHEN  YOU DON'T CATCH THE BALL AND YOU DON'T TACKLE YOU DON'T PLAY WELL..NEVER CHANGES NO MATTER WHAT CONTINENT YOU ARE PLAYING ON..AND WE WERE AWFUL THE FIRST QUARTER..BUT WE DECIDED THAT TACKLING AND CATCHING AND BLOCKING WERE IMPORTANT BY THE START OF THE 2ND QUARTER AND WE WOULD TAKE A HALFTIME LEAD OF 13-12..WE DOMINATED THE 3RD QUARTER AND WOULD STRETCH THE LEAD TO 34-12

VAN PELT CONTINUED HIS WARRIOR WAYS..HIS STORY IS COMING IN THIS BLOGOSHERE..ENOUGH CAN'T BE SAID ABOUT HIS GAMESMANSHIP, LEADERSHIP AND ABOVE ALL HIS TOUGHNESS..HE NEVER FLINCHES..HE ALWAYS TAKES A LITTLE BLOOD BEFORE HE HITS THE GROUND..FINGERS WERE SWOLLEN..GOT A 2ND AND 3RD CHIN TODAY..WASN'T PERFECT ON THE DAY ...BUT SOMETHING ABOUT QB'S FROM ANY ERA THAT WILL STAY IN THE POCKET, WAITING TO THE VERY LAST POSSIBLE SECOND TO RIFLE A BALL AT A MOVING TARGET THAT HE BARELY CAN SEE, AND AFTER HE IS SANDWICHED BY A LINEBACKER PARTY WILL, NEVER KNOW IF THE BALL IS CAUGHT UNTIL HE HEARS THE ROAR OF THE CROWD...HARD TO BELIEVE THAT EVEN AT AGE 30 HE ISN'T ONE OF THE TOP 100 QB'S IN AMERICA RIGHT NOW..I REFUSE TO BELEIVE DAVID CARR OR AJ FEELEY OR CHARLIE WHITEHURST COULD DREAM OF THIS KIDS TOUGHNESS.


                        VAN PELT....FINAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM  COS

THE FEELING OF VICTORY NEVER GETS OLD...IT NEVER TIRES..AND THE FEELING OF A GROWING TEAM SPIRIT IS WHAT KEEPS THE VECCHIO COMING BACK FOR MORE..TO ROBERTO AND TO LUCCA..THANKS..IT IS NSPIRING TO SEE 42 AND 45 YEAR OLD MEN GO OUT AND PLAY A BOYS GAME...TO THE NUOVO, RICH AND DARRELL..NOTHING LIKE SEEING YOUR WORK..YOUR EFFORT PAYOFF IN SUCH A NEEDED SPOT


                     VAN PELT AND OFFENSE BEGINNING TO CLICK

WHAT'S NEXT IS ALWAYS THE QUESTION..AT 2-1 AND A GREAT 2 GAME WIN STREAK ITS NOW TIME TO SET OUR ULTIMATE GOAL..TO BE THE BEST TEAM ON THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT THIS YEAR..ITS BEEN AWHILE SINCE BERGAMO COULD LAY THAT CLAIM..BUT IT IS IN OUR GRASP..THIS TEAM IS A TEAM..IT HAS A HEART..IT HAS CHEMISTRY..WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO FROM HERE?..THOSE QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED IN COMING BLOGS..KEEP COMNG BACK..IT IS ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 16: NUMA....THE BLIND SIDE 2

THROUGHOUT HISTORY THEIR HAS BEEN A SMATTERING OF TRULY GREAT "ONE-NAME" WONDERS....SOME HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME ..FROM THIS PART OF THE WORLD,  HERE IN BELL'ITALIA,   THERE WAS MICHAELANGELO....DOES ANYONE EVEN KNOW HE HAD A LAST NAME?...EVEN IF HE DID, CAN ANYONE SPELL IT?

IN THE SOCCER WORLD, THERE WERE THE MAGICAL PEDI OF PELE'..NO ONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WIDE SPORT OF CALCIO WAS EVER MORE POPULAR THAN PELE"..AT THE END OF HIS BRILLIANT CAREER HE BROUGHT SOCCER TO THE US of A...THE NEW YORK COSMOS WERE BORN AND THERE WAS STILL SOME MAGIC DUST LEFT IN HIS FEET..CAN ANYONE RECALL EVER SEEING A LAST NAME ASSOCIATED WITH THE BRAZILLIAN STAR?

IN THE POP WORLD WE HAVE WATCHED THE MATERIAL GIRL REINVENT HERSELF MANY TIMES OVER THE PAST 30 YEARS. MADONNA HAS BEEN POP SINGER, LOUSY ACTRESS, WIFE TO AN ASSORTMENT OF BOYTOYS, AND A CONSTANT LIGHTNING ROD TO THE WORLD WIDE PAPPAROZZI...DOES ANYONE HAVE AN IDEA OF HER LAST NAME?...DIDN'T THINK SO.

EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE WE TRY TO GIVE STARS THE "ONE NAME" TREATMENT TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT THEY ARE REALLY "BIG-STARS."..IN BASKETBALL THERE HAS BEEN "BIRD"..."MAGIC"..."SHAQ"...BUT REALLY?....WE ALWAYS NEW IT WAS SIMPLY larry BIRD...MAGIC johnson AND SHAQ o'neill...NO ONE WAS FOOLED....THEY NEVER DESERVED THE "ONE-NAME' TREATMENT.

BUT.....HERE IN BERGAMO...THERE TRULY IS SOMEONE WITH THE CACHE' TO BE A "ONE NAME " WONDER..HE GOES BUY THE NAME ,,,NUMA....HE IS SIMPLY THE LARGEST ITALIAN EVER..CERTAINLY THERE ARE SOME MEATBALL CHEFFS WHO HAVE MANGIATO THEMSELVES OUT OF THE LA CUCINA...AND THERE IS THE PHENOM BASKETBALL SENSATION WITH THE NEW YORK KNICKS NAMED DANILO GALLINARI..ALL 6'9"BEANSTALK THIN CORPO WHO CAN HOOP.


                                                                       "NUMA"

NO NO NO...THIS NUMA WITH THE LIONS IS 6'9" AND 350 PLUS POUNDS...NOT FAT...NOT A BEANSTALK..JUST MASSIVE...BUT MUCH MORE THAN LARGE..OH YEAH THERE ARE THE SIZE 18 SHOES...HE HAS TO DUCK SIDEWAYS TO FIT THROUGH THE FRAME OF MOST DOORS..HE IS THE BUTT TO MANY BIGMAN JOKES...IN FACT NOT MUCH BOTHERS NUMA..ALL EXCEPT FOR ONE THING WHICH I WILL GET TO IN A LITTLE WHILE..


                                   ON HIS WAY TO TO PATROL BLIND SIDE

YOU SEE NUMA IS THE TYPE OF ATHLETE THAT NFL SCOUTS DROOL ABOUT...PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF ONE FOOTBALL AXIOM THAT NEVER GETS OLD..."YOU CAN'T COACH SIZE."...HOWEVER, IF HE JUST HAD SIZE I WOULDN'T BE WRITING THIS BLOG RIGHT NOW

NUMA IS AN ATHLETE..WHAT KIND YOU ASK?..HE PLAYED PROFESSIOANL BASKETBALL HERE IN ITALY FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS..AND BY ALL ACCOUNTS HE WAS REMARKABLE...NIMBLE LIGHT FEET,...DEFT SOFT BIG HANDS...VERY COORDINATED...NATURAL...AND A THE SAME WEIGHT HE IS NOW...THE 2ND NFL AXIOM ABOUT SIZE IS THIS..IF HE CAN'T MOVE IT THEN HE CAN'T CARRY IT...MEANING, PLENTY OF FAT SLOBS OUT THERE WHO CAN'T GET THE JOB DONE.

NUMA CARRIES HIS WEIGHT WELL....

 JUST RECENTLY THE NFL FINISHED THE SCOUTING COMBINE IN INDIANAPOLIS...THE VERY PLACE WHERE MANY TEAMS HAVE A LONG AND TORRID HISTORY OF OVEREVALUATING TALENT BECAUSE OF HOW GUYS RUN AROUND IN SHORTS AND THEY SEE HOW HIGH GUYS CAN JUMP...ALARMINGLY, HOW STUPID NFL SCOUTS ARE WHEN IT COMES TIME TO MEASURING THE MEASURABLES....THE VERTICAL JUMP IS JUST AN EXAMPLE.....THE MOST EXPLOSIVE PLAYER I EVER PLAYED WITH, AND THAT  IS WHAT THE VERTICAL JUMP IS DESIGNED TO MEASURE---EXPLOSION,  WAS A FIRST BALLOT HALL OF FAMER...DT OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS FOR 15 YEARS BY THE NAME OF RANDY WHITE..HE COULDN'T HIGH JUMP OVER HIS HOME TOWN OF WILMINGTON, DELAWARE'S PHONE BOOK.

THEY MAKE THE COMBINE INTO A MEAT MARKET...THEY ALSO ADMINISTER THE WONDERLIC TEST DESIGNED TO SEE HOW SMART PLAYERS ARE..I WONDER WHAT LT#56 OF THE NY GIANTS SCORED ON THE TEST?...OH AND THE QUESTIONS AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING...AND THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT BOYSCOUT IS ALL PART OF THE PROCESS..NONSENSE..ITS THE MOST VIOLENT SPORT ON THE PLANET PLAYED BY VIOLENT PEOPLE..NOT MANY ARE INTO STUDYING THE VIOLIN..KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

ANYWAYS I DIGRESSED TO MAKE A POINT..IF YOU PLOPPED NUMA INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE COMBINE AND LET HIM RUN AROUND FOR 3 DAYS WITH THE REST OF THE OFFENSIVE LINEMAN...HE WOULD BLOW THE PLACE UP WITH SUCH A BUZZ...THIS YEAR OT IS THE POSITION THAT IS THE DEEPEST IN THE DRAFT..AS MANY AS 6 OR 7 GUYS WILL GO IN THE FIRST ROUND...I REMEMBER LAST YEARS #2 OVERALL PICK,  JASON SMITH FROM BAYLOR. WATCHED HIM PLAY A COUPLE OF PRESEASON GAMES..COULDN'T BREAK AN EGG...YOU COULD PUT NUMA SIDE BY SIDE AND THE KID WILL HOLD HIS OWN.


                                    NUMA AND GROS....MY GUYS

WHEN I RUN HIM BEFORE PRACTICE THROUGH A SERIES OF INDIVIDUAL DRILLS..THE SIZE 18 HOOFERS DANCE OVER AND IN AND AROUND OBJECTS LIKE HE IS A 7 YEAR OLD PLAYING HOP-SCOTCH IN THE STREET..NEVER A STUMBLE..NEVER A FALL..NEVER A TRIP.


                        SO NIMBLE THAT HE IS A BLUR TO THE CAMERA

NOW HE IS NOT WITHOUT FLAWS...YES, HE WOULD BE A SENSATION AT THE COMBINE..WHILE HE IS A TALENTED PLAYER, HE HAS ONLY PLAYED FOOTBALL FOR 2 YEARS...HE IS RAW..HE NEEDS TO PLAY..HE NEEDS TO WORK...

MY JOB THIS YEAR IS TO SEE HOW FAR I CAN DEVELOP HIM..HE IS NOT NATURALLY AGGRESSIVE..NOT UNUSUAL FOR BIG GUYS...THE PASSIVITY CAN BE COUNTERED WITH WORK ON TECHNIQUE..

BIG PEOPLE THAT ARE TALENTED AND CAN MOVE ARE A COACHES DREAM..JOHNATHAN OGDEN WAS THE BEST IN RECENT HISTORY...FREAKISHLY LARGE, BUT NIMBLE..COULD SURF...6'9", UNLESS THE AFRO WAS STANDING TALL..HE COULD APPEAR ALMOST 7"...THE SCALE AT THE RAVENS TRAINING CAMP WAS AN OLD MEAT LOCKER SCALE AND TOPPED OFF AT 350.."J.O." WOULD STEP ON AND OFF JUST TO MAKE SURE HE WAS STILL OVER 350..BUT AS PASSIVE AND NICE AND SOFT SPOKEN AS ANY NERD YOU HAVE EVER MET

NUMA IS SIMILAR.....

I ASKED HIM LAST SUNDAY BEFORE OUR GAME WITH THE LAZIO MARINES IF HE EVER GETS PISSED OFF?...HE GLANCED DOWN AT ME WITH HIS MENACING FURROWED BROW...HE PAUSED...FOR A LONG TIME...HE PONDERED...I PATIENTLY WAITED ON WONDERING IF HE HAD A HOT BUTTON I COULD PUSH TO GET HIM MORE AGRESSIVE...THEN HE SPOKE...FIRST THEIR WAS THE TWINKLE IN HIS OCHIALLI...THEN THE CORNER OF HIS MOUTH WAS PIERCED...THEN HE BREATHED DEEPLY AND SAID...FINALLY..."YES, THERE IS ONE THING THAT REALLY UPSETS ME..WHEN PEOPLE TOUCH MY BIKE."..YOU SEE ITS A HARLEY DAVIDSON...AND ITS HIS PRIDE AND JOY..AND NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO LAY THEIR GRUBBY  MANI  ON IT.


                              
                                       ITALIAN HABITS ARE HARD TO BREAK

OFFENSIVE TACKLES ARE HARD TO FIND...THE REALLY GOOD ONES ARE QUIETLY AGRESSIVE...THEY DON'T START CAMP FIGHTS..THEY MAY FINISH THEM..QUICKLY..BUT THEY DON'T START..THEY DON'T TALK ALOT..THEY LET THEIR PLAYING DO THE TALKING..

THEY ARE BASICALLY GRAZERS...THEY GUARD AND PATROL A 3 BY 3 YARD AREA...THEY WALK A LOT TO AND FROM THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE...THEY KEEP THEIR YARD CLEAN...QB PROTECTION IS THEIR GAME..THEY ARE LIKE ELEPHANTS IN THE SERENGHETTI...FAMILY MEMBERS..HANG WITH THEIR GROUP..NEVER IN TOO MUCH OF HURRY..SNACK ON BRUSH..BUSHES...HERBIVORES...CARRY PEOPLE EFFORTLESSLY ON THEIR ENORMOUS BACKS..FUN..AND PLAYFUL....UNTIL...THERE IS DANGER...AND INSTANTLY THEY CAN RUN SWIFTLY WITH ALMOST ANY ANIMAL IN THE KINGDOM..AND TRUCK ANYTHING IN THEIR WAY

THIS IS THE MINDSET OF OFFENSIVE TACKLES ...THE GOOD ONES IN THE NFL...JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE...COACHES LOVE THIS MENTALITY..THE GOOD ONES DON'T LIVE IN THE WEIGHT ROOM TRYING TO BUILD UP THEIR BODIES..TRYING TO LOOK PRETTY..THE SZE AND STRENGTH AND DISPOSITION IS NATURAL..THINK OF OGDEN...RUNYAN..TRA THOMAS...AND PERHAPS THE BEST EVER..WALTER JONES..PEACEKEEPERS..UNTIL DANGER STRIKES..THEN WATCH OUT..NUMA IS EXACTLY LIKE THIS


                  
                                  NUMA.....OUR PEACEKEEPER

HOLLYWOOD MADE A VERY GOOD MOVIE THIS YEAR CALLED THE "BLIND SIDE."..VERY GOOD MOVIE ABOUT A LARGE ATHLETIC KID FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS..GETS AN UNUSUAL OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRACKS WITH A FAMILY WHO GIVES HIM AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE COACHED AND LOVED AND VOILA!...A STAR WAS BORN..HE NAME IS MICHAEL OHRER..

HE PLAYED COLLEGE FOOTBALL AT OLE MISS..I ANNOUNCED HIS FINAL COLLEGE GAME WHEN OLE MISS PLAYED TEXAS TECH IN THE COTTON BOWL..I HAD A CHANCE TO MEET AND TALK WITH HIM...SOFT SPOKEN..ARTICULATE..SMART..AND FIERCELY COMPETITIVE..WHEN OZZIE NEWSOME MOVED TO DRAFT HIM WITH THE RAVENS 1ST PICK LAST SPRING IT WAS CLASSIC OZZIE...HARDLY EVER A MISTAKE WITH THEIR FIRST PICK..AND OHRER WAS VERY VERY GOOD IN HIS ROOKIE CAMPAIGN..

NUMA WILL NEVER BE A 1ST ROUND PICK...AND HOLLYWOOD WILL NOT COME  TO BERGAMO LOOKING TO MAKE A SEQUAL..NUMA IS NOW 29 YEARS OLD...IS A PHYSICAL THERAPISTS HELPING PEOPLE RETURN FROM INJURIES...HE IS PLAYING FOR THE LIONS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE ...FOR FUN ..FOR COMPETITION...FOR COMRADERIE..


                        VERY VERY COACHABLE......A NATURAL

BUT TO ME...HE IS MY BLIND SIDE PROJECT....THERE IS A PART OF ME THAT WONDERS WHAT IF THE NFL GOT A HOLD OF THIS FREAKISH ATHLETE 10 YEARS AGO...BEFORE BASKETBALL...IN HIS YOUNG PRIME..WITH HIS RARE SKILLS...COULD HE HAVE BEEN THE PRODUCT OF A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE..WE WILL NEVER KNOW....FOR NOW I WANT HIM TO GET READY FOR, IRONICALLY ENOUGH,  THE CATANIA ELEPHANTS..


                             NUMA....PREGAME..NEED HIM TO PLAY BIG

OH YEAH....HE HAS A LAST NAME...NUMA MALGARINI.....AND LEAVE YOUR HANDS OFF HIS BIKE...

Monday, March 22, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 15: OUR FIRST WIN

I COULD FILL THIS BLOG TODAY WITH NOTHING ELSE BUT QUOTES PASSED ON THROUGH THE ERAS ABOUT WINNING..WE HAVE HEARD THEM SO MANY TIMES FROM SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE BEYOND CLICHES'..HERE ARE A FEW AT THE TOP OF THE NOGGIN' AS I WRITE, "WINNING ISN'T THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, ITS THE ONLY THING."..."WINNING IS THE BEST DEODORANT."..."WINNING ISN'T A SOMETIME THING, ITS AN ALL-TIME THING."...GOERGE S. PATTON WAS QUOTED ONCE SAYING, "WARS MAY BE FOUGHT WITH WEAPONS, BUT THEY ARE WON BY MEN. IT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE MEN WHO FOLLOW AND OF THE MAN WHO LEADS THAT GAINS THE VICTORY.'"

I AM LOOKING FOR PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT SUNDAYS VICTORY VS THE LAZIO MARINES MEANS...IT WAS BEYOND THRILLING..DOWN 8 WITH UNDER 3 MINUTES TO GO IN THE GAME, WE WOULD SCORE TWICE, A TOTAL OF 9 POINTS, TO SQUEAK OUT A 43-42 VICTORY FOR OUR SEASONS FIRST WIN...WHEN THE 1-MAN BAND OF BRADLEY VAN PELT KICKED THE 25 YARD WINNER THE CLOCKS READ ZERO...THE JOY AND JUBILATION THAT IMMEDIATELY ENSUED RIVALED ANY UPSET WIN YOU HAVE WATCHED IN THE NCAA'S MEN BASKETBALL TOURNEY.








I STRUGGLE WITH PERSPECTIVE TODAY BECAUSE WHAT DOES IT MEAN?..ITS FOOTBALL AMERICANO-ITALIA..MAYBE 400 FANS WERE THERE AT OSSIO SOTTO TO WATCH ON THE FIRST DAY OF LA PRIMAVERA, WHEN THE WEATHER LOOKED LIKE WHAT WOULD BE FORECASTED FOR ARMEGGEDON....THE FIELD WASN'T  EXACTLY NFL DIMENSIONS..CHIARA, A REGAZZA, WAS THE LINE JUDGE...BARELY A SPECK OF WRITEUP ABOUT THE GAME IN ANY OF THE LOCAL GIORNALI...IF WE HAD LOST WOULD ANY OF OUR LIVES BE ANY DIFFERENT?...NO, OF COURSE NOT.


                       CHIARA...OUR LINE JUDGE..THANKS FOR THE HELP

BUT THATS NOT THE ESSENCE OF SPORT..THE ESSENCE OF SPORT IS STRICTLY THIS...TO COMPETE..PERIOD..TO THE BEST OF YOUR CAPABILITY...PERIOD!...REMEBER THE DAYS AT THE LOCAL SCHOOL GROUND WHEN IT WAS PICKUP BALL?..US VS THEM..ME VS YOU..YOU THINK YOU GOT GAME?..THEN BRING IT.. SUCKA!!

RECALL THE DEFEATS... WHEN ALL YOU COULD SAY WAS.." GIMME A REMATCH."..ANYPLACE..ANYWHERE..ANYTIME. AND..NEXT TIME YOU WON'T BE SO LUCKY... SUCKA!!!

THAT WAS YESTERDAY..ANYPLACE..ANYWHERE..ANYTIME..IT WAS ON A LONELY FILED LOST IN SOME LONELY SUBERB OF BERGAMO..WITH A ROAR OF THE LAZIO MARINES MARCHING INTO TOWN...LETS PLAY SOME BALL...JUST FOR THE SAKE OF COMPETITION.

THATS WHERE IT GOT A HELLUVA LOT OF FUN..THE TYPE OF FUN WHERE YOUR MIND AND BODY ARE STRICTLY IN THAT MOMENT...AND THE MOMENTS..AH THE MOMENTS...SOMETIMES THEY LAST A LIFETIME..

AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORLD FAMOUS BLOG, ALLOW ME TO TAKE YOU BACK TO HOW IT ALL STARTED ON GAMEDAY..

I WASN'T SURE IF IT WAS THE STRIKEUP OF THE BAND THAT I HEARD FIRST...OR...THE RINGING OF THE CHURCHBELLS...OR THE POP OF A GUN..THAT FIRST WOKE ME UP ON THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING. BUT WHEN MY EYELIDS CLEARED, THE TICK-TOCK OF THE ALARM CLOCK...IL TEMPO, WAS  7AM...A TAD EARLIER THAN I HOPED TO ARISE..HOWEVER SUNDAY MORNING WAS THE FIRST DAY OF WAKING UP IN MIO NUEVO LA CASA..VILLA MORONI...AND I THOUGHT IN THE SLEEPY VILLAGE OF STEZZANO, ITALIA PERHAPS I COULD SLEEP IN A LITTLE TO BE WELL RESTED FOR GAMEDAY...MAYBE ON MOST DAYS, BUT NOT ON A DAY THAT THERE IS A MASSIVE BIKE RACE STARTING IN FRONT OF THE VILLA; AND WITH NO LESS THAN 1000 PARTICIPANTS...THERE WAS PLENTY OF ACTION GOING ON...

            
                            CASA DELLA TRAVELDOG..VILLA MORONI

BUT GAMEDAY IS SPECIAL..THE FOCUS..THE WALK..THE MIND..ITS ALL DIFFERENT...FOR ALL PERFORMERS AND COACHES OF PERFORMERS; WHAT IS MOST DIFFERENT IS THE BODY...ITS BUILT INTO COMPETITORS..I FELT SHARP YESTERDAY..ITS A GOOD FEELING..I WAS READY AND EXCITED..

BUT AS A FIRST TIME COACH IN A LITTLE LEAGUE FAR FAR FROM HOME...IT IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANYTHING I AM DOING..WHY?..BECAUSE A SMALL LEGION OF COACHES AND PLAYERS ARE COUNTING ON ME..ITS A SIMPLE RESPONSIBILITY..TO BE READY..TO BE PREPARED..TO BE SHARP..

THE DRIVE TO THE STADIUM WAS LIKE MOST DRIVES IN ITALY...FULL OF ROUNDABOUTS AND UNCERTAINTY AND FAST RECKLESS DRIVERS EVERYWHERE..THEY SAY THAT TO DRIVE WELL IN ITALY YOU KEEP ONE HAND ON THE WHEEL AND LA OLTRE MANI ON THE HORN....GARMIN HASN'T INVENTED A GPS SYSTEM YET THAT CAN GET YOU FROM A TO B IN ITALY WITHOUT BEING DIVERTED..

EVEN WITH THE DIRECTION PROBLEMS, WE WERE AMONG THE FIRST TO ARRIVE..REMEMBER WE ARE SHARP GUYS..US AMERICAN COACHES...COACH COS WANTED A SPECIAL SESSION WITH THE RB'S TO REVIEW PASS PROTECTION FROM A NEW 2 BACK SET..

ITS AMAZING HOW QUICKLY TIME PASSES HANGING AROUND A STADIUM ON GAMEDAY..WE ARE ALL CHATTY CATHY'S AND WILL TALK TO ANYONE..BROCK OLIVO, IS A FRIEND,  WHO IS ALSO THE COACH OF THE LAZIO MARINES...WE SHARED COACHES SPEAK WITH THE ISSUES THEY HAVE THAT ARE SIMILAR TO OUR OWN..PLAYERS PASSED BY..WE EYE-BALLED THEIR STAR DEFENSIVE END...THEIR QB ARRIVED FROM THE STATES ONLY ON MONDAY..HOW READY WOULD HE BE ?..THEIR AMERICAN WIDE RECEIVER PLAYED AT WAKE FOREST, WHERE MY 2 BROTHERS STARRED, AND WAS A FRIEND OF ONE OF THE GREAT WR'S IN OUR NFL WHO ALSO IS A DEAMON DEACON..RICKY PROEHL.


                           LAZIO MARINES TAKE THE FIELD

BUT ALL THE WHILE ...THE NERVES ARE LIKE A BOX OF COAT HANGERS..WE WERE 0-1...THEY WERE 0--1..WHICH TEAM WOULD LEAVE 0-2?..IN THE NFL TO BE 0-2 IS A DEATH MARCH..WHILE ITS NOT SO LARGE A HOLE THAT YOU CAN'T DIG YOURSELF OUT; THE PROBLEM IS WITH TEAMS CONFIDENCE..WHEN DOES IT SHATTER?..ESPECIALLY WITH A TOTALLY NEW STAFF..WHEN 0-2, A TEAM CAN'T HELP BUT QUESTION THE LEADERSHIP.

BUT WE WARMED UP WELL...WE WERE CRISP..THE OFFENSIVE LINE, MINUS RT GUARD, "GROS".,.HAD GOOD BOUNCE AND FOCUS..NUMA WOULD MAKE HIS FIRST START AT LEFT TACKLE..HE WASN'T AT ALL NERVOUS..


               NUMA..  A QUICK "STICK" PREGAME TO CALM THE NERVES

PIETRO WOULD START AT RIGHT GUARD...SHOULD I WORRY WHEN HE SHOWED UP BARELY AN HOUR BEFORE KICKOFF??..A PROFESSIONAL ACTOR, HE IS MADE FOR THE STAGE..I WASN'T WORRIED


    
                     VAN PELT AND PIETRO...PARLO ON WALK TO LOCKERROOM

WHAT I WAS WORRIED ABOUT IS OUR FIELD GOAL OPERATION..VAN PELT IS THE KICKER; BUT MIRKO IS THE SNAPPER AND YOUNG CARLO IS THE HOLDER...HOW CRISP WOULD THAT OPERATION BE..I MADE SURE WE GOT PLENTY OF REPS BEFORE WE STARTED..OH WHAT A PRESCIENT COACHING MOVE THAT WOULD BE.


      CARLO HOLDS..VAN PELT KICKS..PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

WE JUMPED ON THE MARINES FAST..THE DEFENSE, NONEXISTANT LAST WEEK, AND REVAMPED UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF RICH BROWN, WAS EXCELLENT..THEY MADE STOPS AND WE SCORED FAST..VAN PELT WAS SHARP AND QUICKLY WE WERE UP 14-0

BUT BY THE END OF THE 2ND QUARTER, THE MARINES HAD SURVIVED OUR ASSAULT AND THEY RESPONDED..BY HALFTIME WE WERE UP  ONLY27-21..

WE HIT A FLAT SPOT IN THE 3RD QUARTER..OUR PROTECTION OF OUR QB BROKE DOWN REPEATEDLY..AND OUR DEFENSE STOPPED TACKLING, AND INTO THE 4TH QUARTER WE WERE DOWN BY AS MUCH  AS 13 POINTS..QUESTIONS AND BLANK STARES WERE FAR TO OFTEN

COS WAS IN CONTROL, HOWEVER..THERE IS GREAT FUN ON THE SIDELINE MAKING CALLS, SHOUTING INSTRUCTIONS..PLEADING FOR REMINDERS, DIALOGUE WITH QB VAN PELT..WHAT  IS WORKING..WHAT NEEDS TO BE KILLED..DECISIONS MADE IN MILLISECONDS THAT WOULD EFFECT THE OUTCOME..ITS SUCH A BUZZ..WHEN THE DEFENSE IS ON THE FIELD.....AND I AM FREE....HOW CAN I HELP THE OFFENSE..WHAT CAN I SAY?...OR SHOW?..OR DEMONSTRATE TO MY OFFENSIVE LINE THAT WILL HELP FOR OUR NEXT SERIES?..TEACHING..PATIENCE..MAINTAINING HOPE ALL THE WHILE..

BUT THE CLOCK WAS TICKING AND WE NEEDED THE BALL..AND PLAYS..AND SOME HELP....AIUTO...AIUTO...WE FOUND OURSELVES DOWN BY 8 WITH 3 MINUTES TO GO..VAN PELT WAS DOING IT ALL..WHAT DID HE HAVE LEFT?..HE WOULD SCORE ON AN IMPROVISED RUN/PASS OPTION WITH JUST OVER 2 MINUTES LEFT IN THE GAME..THE CROWD WAS CHEERING..FANS???..I WAS SO FOCUSED ON THE FIELD THAT I DON'T THINK I EVER LOKED UP TO SEE IF WE HAD ANY..WE WENT FOR 2, AND OUR PASS FAILED.

DOWN 2 WITH UNDER 2 MINUTES, BUT WITH A POCKETFUL OF TIMEOUTS, THE DEFENSE NEEDED A STOP..QUICKLY...AN INCOMPLETION!..WHAT WERE THEY THINKING...WHY NOT A RUN TO KEEP THE CLOCK TICKING???...CLOCK STOPPED...2ND DOWN..A CATCH BUT A GOOD TACKLE....AND ON 3RD AND 5..CLOCK RUNNING..AND THEN A SACK..TIMEOUT...4TH DOWN..PUNT..YES YES YES...27 SECONDS AND A TIMEOUT SAVED..WE WERE ROCKSTARS WITH OUR CLOCK MANAGEMENT..IF ONLY NFL COACHES COULD BE SO SHARP ON SUNDAYS IN THE NFL..HELLO ANDY REID??

VAN PELT WOULD HIT 3 STRAIGHT COMPLETIONS...9 SECONDS LEFT..A CHANCE FOR MAYBE ONE SHOT AT THE END ZONE AND THEN MARCH FIELD GOAL UNIT OUT..NO PLAY TO BE MADE..A THROWAWAY...SMART...OK FIELD GOAL UNIT..YOUR TIME TO SHINE...WE PRACTICED PREGAME MOLTI VOLTE

3 SECONDS LEFT..VAN PELT IS OUR FIELD GOAL KICKER..NOTHING MORE THAN AN EXTRA POINT TO WIN..SO EASY...SO AUTOMATIC..THATS WHAT WE ALWAYS SAY..BUT IS IT WHEN THE GAME IS ON THE LINE?..LAZIO WOULD BURN THEIR FINAL TIMEOUTS TRYING TO PUT VAN PELT AND OUR WHOLE OPERATION IN THE DEEP FREEZE..THEY DON'T KNOW VAN PELT..HE WAS MADE FOR THESE MOMENTS


        VAN PELT/PIETRO..GAME CAPTAINS...BOTH PLAYED GREAT

ON THE SIDELINES WE HAD EACH OTHERS HANDS..HOLDING TIGHTLY IN UNISON..WE WOULD WIN TOGETHER...WE WOULD LOSE TOGETHER..THE DRAMA..THE SUSPENSE..ON A FIELD SOMEPLACE FROM NOWHERE IN A LEAGUE THAT NO ONE FOLLOWS...ON A DAY WHERE THE SUN SLEPT ALL AFTERNOON UNDER A DARK CLOUD..WHAT COULD MAKE THIS KICK SEEM SO VASTLY IMPORTANT?

THIS IS THE PERSPECTIVE THAT I STRUGGLE WITH..EMOTIONS ARE SOO DELICATO..COULD THIS ONE KICK FROM VAN PELT, WHO HAD MISSED 2 ON THE DAY..ONE WAS BLOCKED AND ONE WAS SHANKED..WHAT LIE IN THE BALANCE?

THE KICK WENT PERFECTLY THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS IN A BLINK..AND IN THE NEXT BLINK THERE WAS A RELEASE OF UNPARRALLED EMOTIONS..THE TEAM STORMED THE FIELD..VAN PELT WAS THE HERO..HE WAS HIT HARDER BY THE TIDAL WAVE OF PLAYERS CHARGING, HARDER THAN HE WAS HIT ALL DAY..

THE THRILL OF VICTORY...THE AGONY OF DEFEAT..WORDS WERE NEVER MORE TRUE..LAZIO EXHALED AND WAS 0-2..WE SHOUTED AT THE HEAVENS TO BE 1-1..BUT MORE THAN THE RECORD..WE WERE CHAMPIONS OF THAT MOMENT

THE PERSPECTIVE IS SIMPLY THIS...ITS WHY WE PLAY THE GAME..ITS WHY WE ARE HERE..IN THAT BLINK OF A SECOND WE BECAME UNITED..WE BECAME A TEAM..AND THAT IS A SPECIAL FEELING..

THE CELEBRATION WOULD CARRY OVER TO THE VILLA MORONI..COACHES..PLAYERS..WIVES...GIRLFRIENDS...AS MANY AS 40-50..MAYBE MORE CAME TO CELEBRATE THE CREATION OF A TEAM....SI SI SI..THE BERGAMO LIONS WERE BORN TODAY; IN A  PLACE...IN A TIME...ABOUT A GAME..THAT NO ONE MUCH CARES ABOUT...EXCEPT US..THANKS FOR READING AND FOLLOWING ALONG..ITS NOT EVERYDAY THAT A TEAM IS BORN


                    POST GAME PARTY AT VILLA
                    ALWAYS BETTER AFTER A WIN..OUR 1ST WIN

                                                 CIAO.....CIAO

AND SOME THINK WINNING ISN'T IMPORTANT!!!!NONVERO..NONVERO IN BERGAMO

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 14: PER QUALE MOTIVO ALLENO???

WHEN I WAS A BOY GROWING UP IN APPLE VALLEY, MINNESOTA AT THE PREADOLESCENT AGE OF 12 OR 13, I KNEW I HAD AN ADDICTION...IT WAS EASY FOR ALL TO SEE. I WAS ADDICTED TO BASKETBALL..I EVEN WENT SO FAR TO DOCUMENT WITH VARIOUS POEMS..HERE IS AN EXAMPLE..
ALL DAY I PLAY AT BASKETBALL,
AND POP AND POP AND POP.
AND WHEN I GO TO BED AT NIGHT,
I DREAM I CANNOT STOP.

AND THE TEAM I WAS ADDICTED TO WAS UCLA BASKETBALL..THE BRUINS  WERE LEAD BY BILL WALTON, THE BIG REDHEAD, AND THEIR LEGENDARY COACH..THE WIZARD OF WESTWOOD,  JOHN WOODEN...I HAD A SHINY ROYAL BLUE JACKET EMBLAZONED WITH GOLD LETTERING ON THE BACK THAT SAID "UCLA BASKETBALL." I WORE THAT JACKET EVERYWHERE. THE COLORS WERE THAT OF THE BRUINS AND I WANTED TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT I WAS IN LOVE WITH THE WAY THEY PLAYED.



                  THE WIZARD OF WESTWOOD...JOHN WOODEN

IN THOSE YEARS THE WIZARD WAS WINDING DOWN HIS 27 YEAR CAREER..THEY WERE SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF WINNING 6 OR 7 STRAIGHT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS..THEY WERE THE BEST PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY AND I WANTED TO PLAY FOR THEM ONE DAY..

WHAT I DIDN'T REALIZE THEN WAS THAT THE SUCCESS THEY ENJOYED AND THE FOLLOWING THEY BUILT WAS DUE TO ONE MAN, AND ONE MAN ALONE..JOHN WOODEN...IT WAS MANY YEARS LATER WHEN I READ MANY OF HIS BOOKS THAT I KNEW ONE DAY I WOULD ALSO COACH.

IT WAS ONE OF HIS QUOTES THAT GRABBED ME AND FOR YEARS HAS SOMEWHAT TORTURED ME.."A LIFE NOT LIVED FOR OTHERS IS NOT A LIFE."..COACHING IS ONE WAY TO SERVE OTHERS..

WE ALL CAN REMEMBER OUR FAVORITE COACHES...THE BAD ONES AS WELL..COACHING IS TEACHING, AND WE CAN REMEMBER OUR GOOD INSEGNARI..THE ONES THAT MADE A STARK DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIVES; AS WELL AS THE ONES WHO WE COULDN'T WAIT TO PART WAYS WITH

WHEN JOHN WODEN WAS ASKED WHAT HE ENJOYED MOST ABOUT BEING AN INSEGNARE HE RESPONDED BY SAYING.."WATCHING YOUNGSTERS IMPROVE."; AND HE FOLLOWED BY ADDING THAT THE KEY INGREDIENT TO BEING A GOOD TEACHER IS "PATIENCE."..IN ADDITION KNOWLEDGE IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET DESIRED RESULTS..YOU MUST HAVE THE MORE ELUSIVE ABILITY TO TEACH AND TO MOTIVATE.

TODAY I WRITE, "PER QUALE MOTIVO ALLENO?"..WHY DO I COACH..EVERYWHERE I GO IN BERGAMO PEOPLE INQUIRINGLY ASK, .."WHY ARE YOU HERE?"

I WILL ATTEMPT TO ANSWER.

I HAVE MADE A HANDSOME LIVING FROM THE ULTIMATE TEAM SPORT OF....FOOTBALL...MY INVOLVEMENT IN THE GAME STARTED NOT UNLIKE MANY OTHERS WHO PLAYED AT VARIOUS LEVELS..MY FATHER WAS THE FIRST TO PUT THE PIGSKIN IN MY HANDS..TOSSING THE BALL IN THE YARD OF CHERRY HILL, NEW JERSEY ARE SOME OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES.  EVENTUALLY THERE WAS POP WARNER..AND JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL..IT WAS GROWINGLY COMPETITIVE AT MASSAPEQUA HIGH SCHOOL AND ONTO COLLEGE

AN OLD TEAMMATE OF MINE IN MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE, AND A FORMER 8 YEAR VET OF THE NY J E T S... JETS JETS JETS...KURT SOHN, ONCE SAID .."IF YOU PLAY HS FOOTBALL THEN YOU MAY AS WELL TRY TO PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL; AND IF YOU PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL YOU MAY AS WELL TRY TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL."...IT SEEMED SO MATTER OF FACT..SIMPLE...AND ON THAT DAY THE SEED WAS OFFICIALLY PLANTED SOMEWHERE IN MY DNA THAT THAT WOULD BE MY MISSION..NOTHING STOOD IN BETWEEN ME AND MY MISSION.

I ONLY OFFER THIS BACKROUND TO PUT IN PERSPECTIVE WHAT FOOTBALL HAS MEANT TO ME..FROM THE DAYS OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER FOR 12 YEARS, DODICI ANNI FA, IN DALLAS..INDY..PHILADELPHIA...IT WAS ALL CONSUMING...AFTERWARDS AND FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS I HAVE MADE A HANDSOME LIVING AS A FOOTBALL ANALYST..WILL TALK ABOUT ANY FACET OF THE GAME TO ANYONE WHO STOPS ME AND IN SOME CASES I WILL FIND SOMEONE TO INIZIO CONVERSAZIONE ABOUT THE WONDERFUL GAME

FOR MOST SUNDAYS DURING THE NFL SEASON SINCE 1998 I HAVE HAD STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT COACHING DECISIONS..ABOUT PLAYER PERFORMANCES...ABOUT ORGANIZATIONAL VISION...POSITIVE ND NEGATIVE..I HAVE PLACED MYSELF IN THE SHOES OF MANY OF THESE PEOPLE AND STATED WHAT I WOULD DO, OR MORE EMPHATICALLY,WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE..I AM PAID WELL TO OFFER MY OPINIONS.

YET, DEEP INSIDE OF ME, I KNOW I HAVE NEVER COACHED A DOWN..IN FACT, OUTSIDE OF SOME FOOTBALL CAMPS THAT I PARTNER TOO, I HAVE NEVER COACHED A SPORT..A PLAYER..OR A GAME IN MY LIFE...IT SEEMS ALMOST HYPOCRITICAL TO BE SO DEMONSTRATIVE ABOUT WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WHEN I HAVE NEVER WALKED IN ANYONE'S SHOES BEFORE..

PART OF THAT VOID IS WHAT BRINGS ME TO BERGAMO....AIUTO WITH THE FOOTBALL AMERICANO TEAM OF THE BERGAMO LIONS..

LIKE WOODEN,  I THINK I HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE..AT LEAST ENOUGH TO THINK THAT IF I IMPART SOME,  SOMEONE COULD HOPEFULLY BENEFIT..BUT CAN I GET THE DESIRED RESULTS?..CAN I TEACH?..CAN I MOTIVATE?..CAN I DO ALL OF THIS AND EXERCISE PATIENCE ALL AT THE SAME TIME


                  TO TEACH AND TO INSPIRE...PATIENCE!!!

THE BERGAMO LIONS STAFF IS FULL OF LA PRIMA VOLTE...WE ALL ARE FIRST TIMERS IN SOME WAYS...IL CAPO DE BERGAMO LIONS, COACH COS,  IS AN EXPERIENCED COACH WHO PLAYED 10 YEARS FOR THE LEGENDARY TOM LANDRY AND THEN COACHED SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE LEGENDARY GENIUS AND ARCHITECT OF THE WEST COAST OFFENSE,  BILL WALSH..BUT IT IS HIS FIRST TIME IN ITALY AND FIRST TIME COACHING ITALIANS..THERE IS MUCH TO LEARN



               NOTHING LIKE GAMEDAY TO A COACH

THE DEFENSE IS LEAD BY DAVIDE'..HE IS A FORMER PLAYER WITH THE LIONS WHO AFTER WEARING PROUDLY NUMERO VENTIOTTO FOR A LONG TIME AND ACCUMULATING THE INJURIES THAT ALL VETERAN PLAYERS WEAR AS A BADGE OF COURAGE, IT WAS TIME TO TAKE HIS LOVE OF THE GAME TO THE SIDELINES AND USE HIS EXPERTISE  TO COMMAND



DAVIDE' AND ME....PREGAME..BOLZANO, ITALY

THERE IS THE PUP OF THE GROUP HANDLING SPECIAL TEAMS AND RUNNING BACKS,  MIKE MADEIROS...A FORMER COLLEGE PLAYER, HE COULD NOT CATCH ON IN AMERICA WITH A STAFF SO HE SOLICITED HIS TALENTS TO THIS ITALIAN LEAGUE..I ADMIRE HIS INITIATIVE; AND I THINK HE WILL BE A VERY VERY SUCCESSFUL COACH ONE DAY...I THINK HE ENJOYS THE TEACHING..ALSO HELPING ON ALL PHASES IS RICH BROWN..RICH HAS BEEN AN ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFULL BUSINESS MAN AND HAS A STRONG URGE TO TEACH..TO GIVE BACK..TO HELP..FIRST IT WAS WITH HIS OWN CHILDREN..THEN IT WAS WITH COACH COS IN A STARTUP SPRING LEAGUE..AND MOST RECENTLY IT WAS AS AN ASSISTANT BASKETBALL COACH WITH THE SANTA CLARA'S WOMAN'S TEAM


                         MIKE MADEIROS AND MYSELF...1ST TIMERS


AND THERE IS STEPHANO...KIND OF THE DAY TO DAY LA PRIMA VOLTE GENERAL MANAGER WHO IS TRANSITIONING FROM PLAYING CENTER FOR THE LIONS OVER THE PAST DECADE TO NOW RUNNING A LOT OF THE OPERATIONS..HIS FIRST ACT WAS TO SHED 30 KILO'S FROM HIS LINEMAN BODY TO BECOMING A LEAN BUSINESS MAN..

WE ARE A GROUP OF FIRST TIMERS TRYING TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT...LIKE ANY TEACHING ASSIGNMENT THERE ARE CHALLENGES,  ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR FIRST GAME AND THE LAZIO MARINES ARE WAITING FOR US THIS SUNDAY..THE PRESSURE IS ON

BUT WHATEVER THE OUTCOME OF THE SEASON IS,  I KNOW THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT I WILL TREASURE FOR A LONG LONG TIME..WHETHER I AM GOOD AT IT; WHETHER I CAN APPLY THE LESSONS OF THE WIZARD OF WESTWOOD,  REMAIN TO BE SEEN..MOST IMPORTANT TO ME IS THE NEED TO GIVE BACK TO A SPORT THAT HAS BEEN EXTREMLY KIND TO ME..FOR 40 YEARS NOW IT HAS BEEN THE FOUNDATION THAT MY LIFE HAS BEEN BUILT UPON..I CANNOT JUST CONTINUE TO TAKE TAKE TAKE..THIS FEELS RIGHT TO GIVE BACK

OH YEAH...IT CAN REALLY SUCK YOU IN..THERE ARE 8 OFFENSIVE LINEMAN THAT I AM COACHING...PEPE..CHRISTIAN..MIRKO..MARIO..PIETRO..NUMA...VITO..AND LUCCO..I REALLY LIKE THE GROUP..I THINK THEY CAN BE VERY GOOD, AND THIS CAN BE A MEMORABLE YEAR FOR ALL OF US.IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO ME TO SEE THIS GROUP IMPROVE INDIVIDUALLY, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY..TO WATCH THEM COME TOGETHER AS A LINE AND PLAY WITH ONE MIND..STATCHINAUTO...



                       MIO GRUPPO...GOTTA GET BETTER

I DON'T THINK I WILL COMMIT THE NEXT 27 EARS OF MY LIFE TO THIS ADDICTIVE PROFESSION THE WAY JOHN WOODEN DID AT UCLA, BUT I HOPE TO LEAVE MY MARK AND LEARN A PERSPECTIVE ON THIS DIFFICULT, BUT REWARDING PROFESSION, BY SPENDING MIO LA PRIMAVERA 2010 CON BERGAMO LIONS.

Monday, March 15, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 13: PARMA PANTHERS

OUR FOOTBALL AMERICANO SEASON KICKOFFED THIS WEEKEND..IT WAS WITH MOLTI MOLTI DRAMA...BUT SUCH IS LIFE IN ITALIA..WITHIN THE DRAMA LIES THE LIFE.

THE DRAMA KEPT OUR SEASON OPENER IN DOUBT UP UNTIL 48 HOURS PRIOR TO KICKOFF..ORIGINALLY, OUR GAME WITH PARMA WAS SCHEDULED TO BE PLAYED IN PARMA; HOME TO THE WORLD'S FAMOUS PROSCUITTO HAM AND EVEN MORE FAMOUS BECAUSE OF JOHN GRISHAM'S NOVEL, "PLAYING FOR PIZZA" TOOK PLACE IN THE HAM CAPITOL..

BUT BECAUSE OF TEMPO BRUTTA AND 3 STRAIGHT DAYS OF NEVICA, THE TAPPETI D'ERBI IN THE COMMUNE DI PARMA WERE OFFICIALLY SHUT DOWN..NO AMERICAN FOOTBALL GAMES WOLD BE PLAYED AT LANFRANCHI STADIUM OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN PARMA..AND ALL OTHER ATHLETIC CONTEST WOULD BE CANCELLED AS WELL..WORD LEAKED OUT WEDNESDAY THAT OUR SEASON OPENER WOULD BE CANCELLED. OK!

BUT WHOEVER RUNS THIS FUN LITTLE LEAGUE, FOUND A FIELD IN BOLZANO, ITALY FOR US TO PLAY OUR GAME..GAME ON!..YEAH!

BOLZANO IS HOME TO THE GIANTS, WHO WOULD BE ON THE ROAD VS THE LAZIO MARINES..THEIR FIELD IS THE ONLY PURE FOOTBALL AMERICANO FIELD IN THE LEAGUE..IT HAS A TAPPETO D'ARTIFICIALLE...HASH MARKS..GOAL POSTS..5 YARD STRIPES AND STANDS..OH YEAH?...YEAH

SO WE GATHERED AS A TEAM ON SUNDAY MORNING AT OUR PRACTICE FIELD SIGHT AND SOME 50 COACHES AND PLAYERS AND TEAM PERSONNEL CRAMMED INTO OUR SUPERSIZED BUS FOR A 2 1/2 HOUR ROAD TRIP..WE WOULD HAVE OUR PRE-GAME MEAL ON THE WAY AT THE AUTOGRILL.





                  SQUADRA DI BERGAMO...ROADTRIP A BOLZANO


THE RIDE WOULD TAKE US EAST ON THE A4 AUTOSTRADA  BEYOND BRESCIA AND THE SOUTH END OF LAGO DI GARDA WHERE WE WOULD TURN NORTH ON THE A22 JUST BEFORE VERONA; THE CITTA' MADE FAMOS BY SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIETTA. WE WOULD DRIVE 120 KILOMETERS THROUGH A VALLEY OF NONSTOP VINEYARDS OF GRAPES AND APPLES..GOING NORTH WE WOULD APPROACH THE NORTHERN BORDERS OF GERMANIA, FRANCIA, SWISSERA, AUSTRIA, AND SLOVAKIA..ALL AROUND US WERE THE SNOWCAPPED MOUNTAINS OF THE DOLOMITES..STRIKING CASTELLI ADORNED THE PEAKS THROUGHOUT THE VIAGGIO.



                          CASTELLO DI ALMI...BELLO
                            

THE CLIMA WAS PERFETTO..SUNNY..WARM.. AND  CLEAR..VIEWS WERE CRYSTALIZED BY THE MOUNTAIN AIR..WHEN WE ARRIVED AT GIANTS STADIUM THE PARMA PANTHERS WERE ALREADY THERE...DRESSED AND WARMING UP..THEIR KICKER WAS KNOCKING FIELD GOAL TRIES THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS FROM 45 YARDS LIKE TIGER USED TO CHIP FROM 20 FEET..IMPRESSIVE



                       PANTHERS WARMING UP IN GIANTS STADIUM


FROM THE TIME WE DISEMBARKED WE HAD ROUGHLY 90 MINUTES TIL WE WOULD KICKOFF..THE ROUTINE WAS FAMILIAR TO THE AMERICANS..FIRST THING TO DO AFTER UNFOLDING OUR BODIES OUT OF THE CRAMPED SEATS WAS TO STROLL THE FIELD...GET A FEEL FOR THE ARTIFICIAL SURFACE..TAKE IN THE AMAZING SCENERY..EYEBALL THE COMPETITION..AFTER THE GAZING WAS FINISHED IT WAS TIME TO BE TAPED..DRESSED..ADJUST THE PADS...APPLY THE GEAR FOR GAME CONDITIONS.



                      ANDREA GHISLANDI.....ANKLES TAPED TIGHT 



ONE UNUSUAL RITUAL THAT NEEDED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF WAS TO CHECK EACH  PLAYERS PASSPORT..IN THE PAST, AND IN KEEPING WITH ITALIAN TRADITION, THERE WERE MANY PLAYERS THAT PASSED THROUGH WITH DUAL PASSPORTS..AS THE RULE STATES, EACH TEAM IS ALLOWED TO PLAY WITH TRE' AMERICANI...CERTAIN TEAMS IN THE PAST 27 YEARS THAT THIS LEAGUE HAS BEEN IN OPERATION, HAS CIRCUMVENTED THE RULES BY PLAYING 5-6-7 AMERICANS SO LONG AS THEY HAD A CITIZENSHIP IN ITALY..SO THIS RITUAL PRIOR TO KICKOFF AND IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR WARM-UP IS TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE IS WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE, WITH NO CIRCUMVENTION OF THE HARDFAST RULES.

WE WOULD ALSO MEET THE 7 OFFICIALS..I THINK THE REFEREE WAS CARLO, AND ON HIS CREW WAS A WOMAN HEAD LINESWOMAN..I HAD NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE..SHE WOULD BE KEEPING THE SIDELINES CLEAR THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND WAS STRADDLED WITH AN TUTTI-RAGAZZI CHAIN CREW..OK!!



                         UFFICO RAGAZZA...AND SHE WAS MEAN!!

I WASN'T HAPPY WITH HOW MY OFFENSIVE LINE WARMED UP...GAMEDAY HAS TO BE SPECIAL..PLAYERS HAVE GOT TO REV THEMSELVES UP..CONTACT HAS GOT TO BE AS NECESSARY AS YOUR NEXT BREATH OF AIR..WHAT SURPRISED ME IS THAT I THOUGHT MY GROUP OF 8 GIOCATORI KNEW THAT; AND I WOULD SEE AND HEAR THE HITS AND THE GRUNTS AND THE SLAPS AND THE SMELL OF TESTOSTERONE WOULD FILL THE DOLOMITI AIR..ALL I SAW WERE DEER IN THE HEADLIGHT LOOKS..NOT HAPPY WITH OUR APPROACH




                      LIONS WARM UP IN THROES OF THE DOLOMITES


CHRISTIAN LONGHI, OUR RIGHT GUARD, AND A VETERAN OF 25 YEARS OF PLAYING FOOTBALL AMERICANO, WAS ONE OF OUR GAMEDAY CAPTAINS. WE WON THE COIN TOSS, AND  FOR SOME INEXPLICIT REASON WAS PERFORMED TWICE..PRACTICE IS A GOOD THING.....WE WOULD TAKE THE BALL AND FIELD OUR KICKOFF RETURN TEAM TO START MY FIRST GAME AS A COACH AND MY FIRST AMERICAN FOOTBALL GAME IN ITALY.


  
                    GROS......winning coin toss...one of our highlights


WE FUMBLED THE FIRST HANDOFF...AN OMEN ABOUT OUR EXECUTION..BUT RB , ANDREA GHISLANDI WOULD RIP OFF A COUPLE OF RUNS THAT WOULD TAKE US ON THE MOVE..ONE OF THOSE RUNS WOULD END UP IN THE ENDZONE, BUT THE CHEARING ON OUR SIDELINES WOULD ABRUPTLY END DUE TO A QUESTIONABLE HOLDING CALL ON ONE OF OUR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN..BUT BRAD VAN PELT WOULD COME BACK THE VERY NEXT PLAY AND THROW A PERFECT BALL TO OUR AMERICAN WR WHO COULD NOT GET A HANDLE ON IT TO SCORE..INSTEAD OF BEING UP 7-0 ON OUR OPENING DRIVE, WE WOULD TUEN THE BALL OVER TO PARMA

THEY WASTED NO TIME IN PERFECT EXECUTION OF TAKING THE BALL RIGHT DOWN OUR THROATS...WE SEEMED HELPLESS ON DEFESNE AND THAT WAS THE STORY OF THE GAME,,THE HEADLINES IN THE L'ECO DI BERGAMO GIORNALE ACCURATELY READ.."LIONS, PARTENZA FALSA, A BOLZANO SUBITO KO."..WE STARTED SLOW AND IN BOLZANO THE PANTHERS DELIVERED A QUICK KNOCKOUT.

DOWN 28 - 6 BRAD VAN PELT ADDED OUR DAYS BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT..HE WOULD FAKE A DIVE, SPRINT AROUND THE RIGHT END AND DASH 70 YARDS TO PAYDIRT BEHIND AN ELECTRIFYING DISPLAY OF MOVES, A GREAT DOWNFIELD BLOCK BY ROMAN WR MATTEO ZUCCO, AND FINISHED OFF BY A VIOLENT STIFF ARM THAT FREED HIM FOR OUR SECOND SCORE..HE WOULD IMMEDIATELY LINE UP AND KICK THE EXTRA POINT



                         DJ AND BRAD...PREGAME..VAN PELT CAN PLAY


THE RIDE FROM BOLZANO TO BERGAMO WAS LONG AND QUIET..WE WOULD STOP AT AN AUTOGRILL FOR A LATE SNACK.AND.A STRETCH . IN A FASHION THAT ONLY THE FOOTBALL GODS COULD ALLOW, SIMULTANEOUS TO US BEING THERE, SO WOULD THE VICTORIOUS PARMA PANTHERS..THICK SEA SALT IN OPEN PAINFUL WOUNDS..OUCH!

GROUPS WOULD HUDDLE THROUGHOUT THE RIDE HOME TO TALK ABOUT THE GAME..CONVERSAZIONE ABOUT HOW BAD THE OFFICIATING WAS...THE USUAL WHATIFS..WHAT IF WE HAD SCORED ON OUR OPENING DRIVE?..WHAT IF WE RECOVERED 3 OF THE PARMA PANTHERS FUMBLES?..WHAT IF WE HAD AN OFFENSIVE ANSWER FOR THE DISRUPTIVE BLITZING OF THEIR AMERICAN ROVER, NUMERO 32?

THE FACT IS.. PARMA BEAT US..THEY EXECUTED WELL..THEY PLAYED WITH SOPHISTICATION ON DEFENSE..THEIR 3 AMERICAN PLAYERS ALL HAD A HUGE IMPACT..THEY WERE SHARP AND CRISP AND WE WERE SLOPPY AND HESITANT.  OUR FUNDAMENTALS AND THE BASICS OF BLOCKING AND TACKLING WERE NOT DISPLAYED WELL.

SO NOW WHAT TO DO?...NO SENSE OF PANIC, BUT NOW AFTER OUR FIRST ACTION ITS TIME TO ADJUST..6 DAYS FROM NOW WE PLAY A FINE TEAM FROM ROME, THE LAZIO MARINES, COACHED BY A FREIND, BOCK OLIVO.. BROCK PLAYED FULLBACK IN THE NFL FOR THE DETROIT LIONS AND THEN MOVED TO ITALY AND PLAYED IN THE ITALIAN LEAGUE..LUI CUGINO, SCOTT KOWALKOWSKI, IS A FRIEND AND FOR MER TEAMMATE OF MINE WITH THE EAGLES, AND WAS A VETERAN OF ALMOST 12 YEARS IN THE NFL..HIS FATHER, BOB, PLAYED FOR THE LIONS AND HIS MOTHER, JUDY,  IS STILL EMPLOYED BY THE DETRIOT LION

THEY HAVE EXPERIENCE..WE HAVE 6 DAYS TO SURVEY OUR TALENT..OUR JOB IS TAKE THE BEST PLAYERS WE HAVE AND NOW PLACE THEM IN THE BEST POSITIONS POSSIBLE TO HAVE SUCCESS..FILM STUDY AND TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES AND DRAWING UP PLAYS AND DEFENSES ON KNAPKINS ARE CONSUMING MOST OF OUR DAYS..WE ARE COMPETITIORS AND THE ITALAIN EXPERIENCE WILL BE MUCH FULLER IF WE CAN CARVE OUT A VICTORY THIS SUNDAY HERE IN BERGAMO

NFL COACHES ARE NOTORIOUS FOR ONE UNIFYING STATEMENT..."THE HIGHS OF WINNING ARE NEVER AS HIGH AS THE LOWS OF LOSING."..ACTAULLY ANYONE WHO COACHES TO WIN IDENTIFIES WITH THIS STAEMENT...AFTER CAOCHING MY FIRST GAME EVER I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THE RESTLESS NIGHTS OF A JIM SCHWARTZ IN DETROIT THIS PAST SEASON; OR OF STEVE SPAGNUOLO IN ST. LOUIS WHO LOST MANY MANY GAMES IN A ROW..ITS AN UGLY SICKENING FEELING.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD, TODAY,  THE WEATHER WARMED AND THE SUN WAS STRONG..THE FEW PLAYERS I RAN INTO ABOUT TOWN ALL HAD THE SAME SCIKENING FEELING..IDEAS AND CHANGES FILL OUR MINDS, OUR TIME, AND OUR CONVERSATION.

THE LIONS WILL HUNT THIS SNDAY AND THE HUNGER IS WITH US..THIS WEEK CAN DETERMINE THE FATE OF OUR SEASON...A GREAT BRAHMIN ONCE STATED THAT "IT IS NOT HOW YOU START BUT HOW YOU FINISH."...STAY TUNED..WE ARE LOOKING TO REBOUND.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 12: TERME' SIRMIONE

WHILE IT IS CERTAINLY TRUE THAT THE SUN NEVER SET ON THE BRITISH EMPIRE, THE ROMANS SPREAD AND MAINTAINED AN EMPIRE THAT THE WORLD HAD NEVER SEEN AND HOPEFULLY WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN..THE IMPRESSVE PART TO THE ROMANS WAS HOW THEY LEFT THEIR MARK..ARCHES AND ACQUADUCTS AND ROADS, AND MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT MARK OF ALL...HOW TO ENJOY LIFE..

THE ITALIANS HAVE TAKEN THE ROMAN WAY..PRESERVED THE MARKS THROUGHTOUT THEIR SMALL COUNTRY AND ENHANCED THEM...AND THEN TAKEN THE ENJOYMENT OF LIFE TO THEIR OWN LEVEL THEY CALL.."LA DOLCE VITA."..THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE.

I AM HERE IN BERGAMO IN LARGE PART TO DISCOVER LA DOLCE VITA..I WANT TO FIND OUT JUST HOW SWEET LIFE CAN BE AND HOW THE CROSS SECTION OF LA GENTE DI COMPAGNA, FROM THE UPPER CRUST TO THE DIRE IMPOVERISHED, ENJOY THEMSELVES.

THE OBVIOUS ENJOYMENT COMES FROM THEIR ENJOYMENT OF FOOD AND THE PREPARATION OF FOOD IN ALL OF THEIR VARIOUS REGIONS..THERE IS ALSO THE GREGARIOUS PERSONALITIES AND THE WARMTH THEY CONVEY..IT COMES FROM THE MELODIC RHYTHYMS OF THEIR LA BELLA LINGUA...THE FASHION AND THE DESIGNERS FROM FURNITURE TO CARS TO BOATS...AD NAUSEUM...THERE  IS REAL PALPABLE ENJOYMENT HERE EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THE WORST AND MOST PROLONGED L'INVERNO ANYONE HERE CAN RECALL.

ITALIA BENEFITS FROM BEING THE HEADQUARTERS TO THE ROMAN EMPIRE..BECAUSE MUCH OF THE CONSTRUCTION FROM THAT EMPIRE CAN NEVER BE DUPLICATED OR ATTEMPTED AGAIN, THE ITALIANS HAVE RECOGNIZED THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE RUINS AND OTHER MARKS FOR THEIR OWN ENHANCEMENT

ONE SUCH PLACE IS THE CASTELLO ROCCA SCALIGERA AT THE MOST NORTHERN TIP OF LAGO DI GARDA, THE LARGEST LAKE IN ALL OF ITALIA....FROM THE CASTELLO ONE WALKS TO NATURAL SPRINGS FED FROM THE LAKE THAT ARE HEALING AND BENEFICIAL TO RELAXATION AND GENERAL HEALTH..THE ROMANS SOAKED IN THE BATHS FOR HOURS AND DAYS AFTER BATTLES AND TODAY THEY SERVE A POPULATION THAT RECOGNIZES THE NATURAL BEAUTY IN SIRMIONE, ITALIA




WHY TODAY???..LETS JUST SAY THAT AFTER 24 STRAIGHT HOURS OF WET SNOWFALL WITH FLAKES THAT EASILY FELL ON ONES EXTENDED TONGUE AND COOLED ONES BREATH, IT WAS TIME TO FIND SOME LA DOLCE VITA..WHAT HOT SPRING WAS GOING TO REMOVE THE CHILL FROM THE MOLTI NEVI FALLING FROM THE GREY OVERCAST SKIES?

VAN PELT AND MYSELF HEARD THE CALL OF THE WILD AND IT WAS TIME TO ENJOY A SLICE OF LA DOLCE VITA..UPON ARRIVING AT THE TERME SIRMIONE WE WERE GREETED BY THE POWERFUL EDIFICIO OF CASTELLO ROCCA SCALIGERA...IT WAS 13TH CENTURY RENOVATION BY THE VERONESE..IT WOULD SERVE AS A BOAT BASIN SHELTER FOR THE VERONA ARMADA WHICH WAS CONSIDERABLE AT THAT TIME

BEAUTIFUL ACQUA WATERS SURROUND THE FORTRESS...WHAT MADE IT MORE AUSTERE WAS THE RATE THAT SNOW WAS FALLING..ACCUMULATION WAS RAPID IN THE SURROUNDINGS, WHICH WE WOULD EXPLORE NEXT TO  ON OUR PASSAGIATA TO TERME' SIRMIONE..THROUGH A RETICULUM OF PATHS AND STONEWALL STORES AND AMIDST TALL THIN CYPRESS TREES WERE CHURCHES, AND VILLAS, AND HOTELS, AND GARDENS ALL PAINSTAKINGLY MAINTAINED...A FORTNIGHT AWAY FROM THE  ADVENT OF LA PRIMAVERA THE TOWN OF SIRMIONE IS PREPARING TO AWAKEN FROM ITS I'INVERNO SOLSTICE.






THE ROMANS WERE SMART IN WHERE THEY LEFT THEIR MARK..SIRMIONE IS AN IMPRESSIVE DWELLING IN NORTHERN ITALY..THE SPA, FED BY THE BOIOLA SPRINGS IS AT THE MOST NORTHERN TIP OF LAGO DI GARDA..FROM ATOP THE CASTELLO ANY ENEMY THAT MIGHT ATTACK COULD EASILY BE SEEN FROM A PANORAMIC VIEW AS BOTH SIDES OF THE WATERS MEET AT THE POINT.ITS NOT SURPRISING THAT A SMALL VILLAGE JUST SOUTH LIES LIMONE SUL GARDA..AIR SCENTED BY AN ABUNDANCE OF CITRUS TREES WHERE THE LOCALES ENJOY THE LONGEST LIFE EXPECTANCY IN ALL OF ITALY.
THE SNOW PREVENTED ANY LEMON FRESH SCENTS ON THIS DAY..IT DID PRODUCE 2 SOAKED DAMP SORE TRAVELERS IN NEED OF SOME HOT SPRINGS.

THE SCENE WAS SURREAL..LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF THE OLD SOAP OPERA, "DARK SHADDOWS"..THERE WAS ZERO VISIBILITY..NO LAND COULD BE IDENTIFIED LOOKING OUT OVER THE LAKE...IF THE LOCHNESS MONSTER JUMPED FROM THE SHORE INTO THE HOT STEAM BATHS NO ONE WOULD RECOGNIZE..IT ADDED TO THE ANTICIPATION

THE 30 EURO DAY PASS BOUGHT US 5 HOURS OF SWIMMING..REALXING..SOAKING..EATING...FULL USE OF PALAESTRA AND AN EFFERVESCENSE THATS HARD TO FIND OR GENERATE ON SUCH A MISERABLE DAY...WHEN FEELINGS LIKE THIS OVERWHELM THE HUMAN SOUL, IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK ABOUT WORK OR WHAT LIES AHEAD...WITH THAT SAID WE BOTH WONDERED IF COACH COS WOULD SEE ANY VALUE IN PRACTICE TONIGHT IN SUCH WRETCHED CONDITIONS...CERTAINLY THE BERGAMO LIONS WOULDN'T PLAY ANY BETTER OR WORSE IF PRACTICE WAS CANCELLED DUE TO INCLEMENT CONDITIONS.



                                  LA DOLCE VITA.....SI SI


ON THE OTHER HAND AFTER 5 HOURS OF JACUZZI'S WITH JETS MORE FORCEFUL THAN A FIREMAN'S HOSE PUTTING OUT A 5 ALARM FIRE, AND AFTER EATING CIBO FRESCA AND AFTER ERADICATING THE ONSET OF JOINT STIFFNESS ONE FEELS ON SUCH WINTRY DAYS, WE COULD CARE LESS WHAT CONDITIONS WE WOULD PRACTICE IN..AND WE WOULD PRACTICE

THE ONLY THING THAT WILL BE BETTER THAN TERME SIRMIONE IN COMING MONTHS IS SEEING IT ON A PERFECT SUNNY WARMER SPRING DAY..WITH THE LAKE..THE ALPS..THE VILLAS...AND THE SCENT OF SWEETENED AIR..




                        VAN PELT...GOTTA KEEP QB HAPPY

LA DOLCE VITA IS MORE THAN A PHRASE..ITS MORE THAN A MOVIE THAT IN ITS DAY POPULARIZED THE JET SET CROWD AND GAVE LIFE TO THE SCURRYING SYCOPHANTS KNOWN AS THE PAPPARAZZI..NO ITS REAL..MAY HAVE TO SEARCH FOR IT..BUT THEIR IS AN UNDERBELLY HERE THROUGHOUT ITALY WHERE THERE ARE OFFERINGS THAT BELY THE ACHES THAT DEVELOP FROM A HUMDRUM LIFE



                            PANORAMA OF LAGO DI GARDA


IT IS MY PLEASURE TO SURVEY SOME OF THESE RICHES AND SHARE WITH YOU IN BETWEEN SHAPING UP MY OFFENSIVE LINE, AND CREATING NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO ATTACK THE BRUTTISH PARMA PANTHERS COME THIS WEEKEND..ITS A NEAR IMPOSSIBLE ASSIGNMENT.  BUT I WILL PERFORM WITH A A MORE RELAXED SMILE AFTER A VISIT TO THE NATURAL HOT SPRINGS OF TERME' SIRMIONE

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 11: ROADTRIP-MONACO


CAN YOU ALL REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN A "ROADTRIP" IS ALL YOU COULD THINK OR DREAM ABOUT? POSSIBLY SPRING BREAK IN COLLEGE, OR A FREE SUMMER WEEKEND, OR FRIENDS ROLL INTO TOWN AND KIDNAP YOU FOR A FEW DAYS OF DEBAUCHERY? RING A BELL WITH ANY OF THESE BLOG FOLLOWERS?

A EUROPEAN PERK IS THAT WITHIN A FEW HOURS OF ANYWHERE ON THIS CONTINENT YOU CAN BE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY...ANOTHER LAND..A PLACE WHERE THE FOOD, LANGUAGE, CULTURE IS IMMEDIATELY FOREIGN.

WITH THE WEATHER IN BERGAMO COMPLETELY UNCOOPERATIVE, BRUTA TEMPO,  AND A FREE WEEKEND ON OUR HANDS IT WAS TIME TO PERUSE SOME OPTIONS..2 PARAMETERS WERE TO FOLLOW..1) WE WERE FOLLOWING THE SUN AND WARMER WEATHER...THE GREAT PHILOSOPHER, JIMMY BUFFET ONCE SAID, "CHANGES IN LATTITUDES, CHANGES IN ATTITIUDES." WE WERE LOOKING TO CHANGE BOTH; LATTITIUDE AND ATTITUDE...AND 2) WE WERE DOING THIS ON THE CHEAP...NO PLANES..NO HIGH SPEED TRAINS...NO ORIENT EXPRESS...

HOW ABOUT DIAL UP HERZ AND FUNDANGLE THE OPERATORS INTO A REAL SPORTS CAR FOR UNDER 100 EURO FOR 3 DAYS..HOW ABOUT 4 GUYS IN AN ALPHA-ROMEO..DESTINATION MONACO..




                             
                                OUR SPORTS CAR...THE ALPHA ROMEO


KEEP OUR EXPENSES LOW SO THAT WE CCOULD TAKE SPARE CHANGE RIGHT TO GRAND CASINO IN MONTE CARLO..007 STYLE...THE DEBATE AFTER CAR RENTALS AND ITALIAN ROADBLOCKS BECAME WHEN SHOULD WE DEPART?..OPTIONS THAT EXISTED WAS 2100 HRS FROM BERGAMO ON FRIDAY NIGHT WITH ETA OF 1:30AM..OR DEPART SATURDAY MORNING AT 0800 HOURS AND FEEL SOMEWHAT FRESH FOR A 4-4!/2 CARRIDE

QB, BRAD VAN PELT, MADE HIS EXECUTIVE OPINION WITH AN HYSTERICAL SHOUT THROUGH THE VODAPHONE OF..."WHAT THE F**K ARE WE WAITING ON BOYS?"..20 MINTUTES LATER WE HAD TRUNK OF ALPHA-ROMEO LOADED WITH PROVISONS OF ALL SORTS READY FOR THE PROVINCE OF MONACO...NO MAPS, NO CARTE OR HARDLY THE USE OF GPS..JUST GOOD OLD FASHION ITALIAN ROAD SIGNS AND SOME SOLID MALE INTUITION..

ALMOST ALL PORTS OF CALL IN ITALY CAN BE REACHED BY THE OMNISCIENT GREEN SIGN OF AN AUTOSTRADA....INZIA IL VILAGGIO BY JUMPING ON THE A4 OUTSIDE FROM OUR APARTMENT AND HEAD TOWARDS MILANO..PICK UP THE A7 GOING SOUTH AND WEST TO THE EMBARCATION OF CHRITOFORO COLUMBUS, GENOA, AND THEN CRUISE ALONG THE ITALIAN MEDITERRANEAN TAKING THE A10 THROUGH SCENIC TOWNS OF SAN REMO, VENTIMIGLIA, AND INTO THE COTE' AZUR OF MENTON AND INTO FINAL DESTINATION OF MONACO..

NOT A WRONG TURN..NOT A MISSTEP..COUPLE OF PIT STOPS AT THE AUTOGRILL AND WE WERE IN FRANCE..

NORMALAMENTE, ON A GOOD ROADTRIP..TUNES ARE IMPORTANT..AND WHILE THE ALPHA ROMEO DID HAVE A CD PLAYER AND IPOD DOCKING STATION NONE OF THAT WOULD BE NECESSARY..IN FACT I DON'T REMEMBER ONE SONG ON THE VIAGGIO..

THATS BECAUSE QB BRAD VAN PELT CAN TALK..CONVERSAZIONE NON FERMATA...HE IS IN THE WINE BUSINESS AND HE HAS A LOT TO SAY ABOUT VINO..BUT HE HAS A LOT TO SAY ABOUT EVERYTHING WITHOUT COMING ACROSS AS A "NO-IT-ALL."..HE JUST HAS A LOT OF ENERGY AND A L0T TO SAYAND HE ISN'T BASHFUL ABOUT HOLDING ANYTHING BACK..I ALWAYS SAY THAT QB'S HAVE TO BE LOUD AND THEY HAVE TO BE HEARD AND THOSE ATTRIBUTES DESCRIBE VAN PELT TO A TEE.




                   VAN PELT..SAYS.."THE ROSE' IS GOOD IN MONACO"

AT ANY RATE THE TIME WENT FAST...BEFORE WE NEW IT WE WERE AT THE FRONT DESK HARRASSING OMAR INTO UNDERSTANDING  THAT WE HAD "PAPERS" THAT SHOULD ALLOW US THE "FRIENDS OF FAMILY" DISCOUNT WHICH WOULD LET US OCCUPY ROOMS AT 59 EURO A NIGHT..RIDICULOUS!!! THE FIGHT WAS ON FROM 1;30-2:OO AM..WE WOULD HAVE TO WAIT AND FIND OUT AT A LATER TIME IF WE WERE SO FORTUNATE..

IN THE MEANTIME IT WAS TIME TO TOUCH AND GO..STRAIGHT TO MONTE CARLO AND FIND CASINO ACTION...FUNNY HOW THE BOUNDARIES WORK IN MONACO..MONACO IS A PROVINCE..SPEARATE FROM FRANCE..MONTE CARLO IS THE CAPITOL...OUR HOTEL WAS ACROSS THE STREET FROM STADT LOUIS 11...WHERE A CALCIO FRIENDLY BETWEEN ITALY AND CAMEROON WAS PLAYED IERI DOPODOMANI..ON THE SIDE OF THE STREET WHERE STADIUM IS IS MONACO...ON THE SIDE OF STREET WHERE HOTEL IS IS FRANCE..TAXIS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO CROSS INTO FRANCE, SO WE HAD TO GRAB TAXI UP AND OVER THE STREET..BIZARRE BUT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

IT IS NOT LOST ON MOST AMERICANS WHO VISIT FRANCE THAT THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH FRANCE IS THAT THERE ARE TOO MANY DAMN FRENCH..ITS TRUE AND I AM SURE WITH THIS WORLD FAMOUS BLOG THAT IT WILL SOUND AS IF I AM A "HATER."..I ASURE YOU I AM NOT...THE ONE THING THAT IS CLEAR ABOUT THE FRENCH IS THIS: THEY DON'T GIVE A DARN WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THEM..I ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND AND SOMEWHAT RESPECT THEIR DECISION.

I BRING THIS TOPIC UP NOW BECAUSE UPON ARRIVING AT THE GRAND CASINO-MONTE CARLO..NO ONE THERE COLD CARE LESS THAT 4 AMERICANS WHO LOOKED LIKE THEY ROAD TRIPPED IN, WERE AT THEIR CASIN0..AIUTO WAS IN SHORT SUPPLY.




                       VAN PELT...MIKE..BALDI..DREW.....MONTE CARLO

ALSO NOT LOST ON US WAS THE TIME OF YEAR..MARCH 5TH IS FAR TOO EARLY FOR THE COTE'..IN FACT MONACO IS IN A DEEP SLUMBER..FAR TOO FREDDO.DI PIU"..THE YACHTS LOOK UNTENDED TOO..IT IS STILL ANOTHER 6 WEEKS AWAY BEFORE THE GRAND PRIX OF MONACO AND THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL WAKE UP THE RICH FROM THEIR WINTER NAP

IT DOESN'T DISTRACT FROM THE BEUATY, THE LOCATION, THE HISTORY, THE AWE, THE SMELL OF MONEY, OR THE HUNT TO BRING DOWN THE GRAND CASINO..MONTE CARLO..THIS WAS OUR GOAL.

NO SENSE IS DELIBERATING ANY FURTHER..THE FIRST NIGHT RESULTS WERE IN QUICKLY...IN FACT, THE ONLY WAY THEY COULD HAVE BEEN IN QUICKER IS IF WE DROPPED OUR EURO ON THE GROUND AND WERE MET BY A HOOVER VACUUM CLEANER TO SUCK UP..IT WAS A SWIFT AND DEVASTATING AND TOTAL DEFEAT.WE WOULD START THE NEXT DAY IN THE HOLE.

BUT THE NEXT DAY WAS QUICKLY UPON US AND WHAT A SPECTACULAR DAY IT WAS...CAMERA NUMERO #407 OPENED UP TO A BALCONY THAT HAD THE WARM RAVAGING IL SOLE' MAKING US SQUINT TO FACE THE SUN..EVENTUALLY OUR OCCHIO ADJUSTED TO ALLOW US TO SEE THE BELLA MARINA LINED WITH YACHTS EXTENDING FROM CALIFORNIA TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS TO SARDEGNA TO THE YACHTING WORLD OF COSTA DEL SOLE, COTE' AZUR, AND THE ITALIAN MEDITERRANEAN...WHEN DO THESE YACHTS GET SUPERSIZED?..I MEAN AT WHAT POINT ARE THEY BIG ENOUGH?




                               MARINA.......MONACO....WANNA PLAY???

MOLTI CAPPUCINI TARDI, IT WAS TIME TO PASSAGIATO THROUGH THE STRIKING BRILLIANCE OF WHAT IS A SEASIDE THAT CAN NO LONGER BE CREATED..STATELY, ORDERLY, QUIETLY, ELEGANTLY, THE SUPERSIZED RICH OF THE WORLD DESCEND ON MONTE CARLO TO DPOSIT THEIR HEIRLOOMS, THEIR TRUSTS, THEIR EARNINGS IN SAFETY BOXES THAT EVEN THE GRUBBING GOVERNMENTS CAN'T ACCESS..AND FOR THAT THE WEALTHY NEED TO BE TENDED TOO...THAT IS WHAT MONACO IS..IT IS A WELL TENDED SEASIDE RESORT TOWN WHERE NONE TOO MANY QUESTIONS ARE EVER ASKED AND FAR FEWER ANSWERS ARE EVER DELIVERED

THERE IS A REASON THAT THE WORLDS MOST FAMOUS RACE, THE GRAND PRIX OF MONACO, TAKES PLACE IN AND AROUND MONTE CARLO..IT IS BEAUTIFUL...THE STREETS WIND THROUGH NARROW SLITS WITH A FLASH OF ACQUA SEA, A FLASH OF RUGGED ROCK, THE SMELL OF A BOULANGERIE, THE SWEET AROMA OF SCENTED AIR..AND EVERYWHERE SOMEONE IS REVVING THE RPM'S OF A FINE EUROPEAN SPORTSCAR

LOOKIE THERE..A FERRARI..OR THERE..A LAMBERGHINI..OR HOW ABOUT THE ZIPPINESS OF A PORSCHE...OR THE WHINE OF A TESTAROASA..THEY ARE ALL HERE AND ON DISPLAY..YOU HAVE TO LOOK AND MARVEL AT HOW A SPECIAL PRIVALEDGED SECT CAN BUZZ AROUND IN A SUCH A SMALL BUCOLIC HAMLET WITH THE FINEST OF ANYTHING KNOWN TO MAN AT THEIR WELL MANICURED FINGERTIPS..



                  
                         I PREFER MY FERRARI IN BLACK


LIKE A GOOD ROADTRIP AT COLLEGE UNDERGRAD SPRING BREAK BUDGET, SATURDAY NIGHTS DINNER WOULD BE PURCHASED AND ENJOYED IN CAMERA #407..FORMAGGIA...SALAMI..TOMATOES..FRESH BAKED FRENCH BREAD..VINO FROM LOCAL VINEYARDS..AND ALWAYS SEMPRE.."BIRRA READY."

ALL WOULD BE ENJOYED WITH THE UNTIMATE GOAL TO GO 007 STYLE BACK TO THE CASINOS TO LET THEM KNOW THAT WE KNOW BASIC STRATEGY BLACKJACK AND ARE READY TO ADD A MONEY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM THAT EVEN THE SECRETIVE AND SMUG FRENCH HAVEN'T WITNESSED SINCE CARY GRANT LEFT HIS MARK IN "IT TAKES A THIEF"..YEAH BRO..WE COME TO KICK YOUR CAPPED TEETH IN AND THEN AFTER WE FLEECED YOUR "OLD" WORLD MONEY WE WOULD REALLY SHOW YOU HOW ROADTRIPPIN AMERICANOS CAN GO 'MONTE CARLO WILD"

WHAT PROCEEDED TO HAPPEN WAS MIRACULOUS...LIKE THE FRENCH NEED FOR YOU TO SPEAK PERFETTO PARISIAN FRENCH FOR YOU TO GET A FEINT RESPONSE, WE WERE MET BY AN ASSORTMENT OF DEALERS THAT COULD ONLY STRIKE 21.WHETHER IT WAS BLACKJACK ITSSELF, OR A 4-6-2-5-4....21..VENTUNO..THE HARD WAY...THEY STEAMROLLED US WITHOUT SO MUCH AS BLINKING AN EYE..NOT EVEN A PUPPYDOG GLANCE TO SAY.."SORRY BOYS"..NICE TRY..NO THEY WERE MUCH MORE DISMISSIVE THAN THAT

WE WOULD TRY OTHER CASINOS...ONE BY ONE THE BOYS DROPPED..SPRING BREAK BUDGETS DON'T LAST LONG IN MONTE CARLO..BUT I HAD WATCHED THIS MOVIE BEFORE..WHERE WAS THE TABLE THAT HAD THE BUZZ..WHERE THE PITCREW SEEMED SOMEWHAT WORRIED THAT THEY WOULDN'T DEPOCKET EVERY GAMBLER ON ITS PREMISE THAT NIGHT


                                  THE GRAND CASINO...MONTE CARLO

THATS WHERE I ENDED UP AT 4:30 IN THE MORNING..200 EURO MINIMUM..THE FILTHY RICH THAT LINED THE TABLE DON'T HAVE USE FOR BASIC STRATEGY OR BY THE BOOK BLACKJACK..THATS NOT EXCITING ENOUGH...THEY BREAK RULES UNMERCIFULLY..I CRINGED AT A PRINCE RANIER WANNABE WHO DECIDED TO SPLIT 10'S...TWO PERFECT QUEENS FOR HIS OWN STUFFY ENJOYMENT WHILE I SHUT MY EYES PRAYING FOR A COMEBACK AGAINST ALL ODDS

LIKE MOST BLACKJACK PLAYED AROUND THE WORLD IN PITS JUST LIKE MONTE CARLO, ONE LOSES FAR FAR MORE THAN THEY WIN..BUT WHEN YOU DO WIN, EVEN IF ITS JUST A SHORT WINNING STREAK, YOU HAVE TO MAXIMIZE YOUR BET...IN THE FINAL 4 HANDS I DID THAT AND TOOK A SMALL AMOUNT OF MONTE CARLO'S MONEY..A COUPLE CENTO EURO..

ENOUGH TO SAY..WHEW..I WAS LUCKY..TIME TO GET OUT OF TOWN, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE DID THEY FOLLOWING DAY..

FIRST GAME TO BE PLAYED THIS WEEK VS THE HATED PARMA PANTHERS..DETAILS, AND GAMEPLANS, AND GAMEDAY RITUALS HAVE TO BE PRACTICD..REHEARSED..AND IRONED OUT BEFORE WE TAKE THE THE FIELD AT LANFRANCHI STADIUM IN A TOWN MADE POPULAR BY ITS PARMA PROSCIUTTO HAM AND ITS PARMA PANTHERS OF JOHN GRISHAM FAME

OH YEAH..THE FRENCH WEREN'T THAT BAD..THEY SMILED WHEN I PAID MY BILL AND I LOOKED UP AT THE WALL TO SEE "HIGH SEASON" PRICES...STARTING RATES AT 599 EURO A NIGHT WITH NO SEASIDE VIEWS...THE CLERK SMILED AND SAID THAT IS A BARGAIN AT GRAND PRIX TIME PROVIDED YOU MADE THE RESERVATION LAST YEAR..MONACO IS ASLEEP..THANKS ...WE HAD A NICE LOOK AROUND

NOW WE ARE FOCUSED AND SERIOUS ABOUT THIS SUNDAYS MATCH....STAY TUNED