Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Flight Home to California and a Few Final Photos from the Week


Monday, December 11, 2017:

Finally, it was time to head home to California but not before one final early morning walk about Texcoco before boarding the 8:00 a.m. shuttle to Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport . . .

City Hall was all spruced up for
the Christmas Holidays

Cool Aztec influenced stained glass

Tuesday is the Feast of the
Virgin of Guadalupe

Texcoco's brightly lit arcade

Aztec Poet Emperor
Netzahualcoyotl

 The FirstInn's wall ad about
our home the past week

The morning constitutional out of the way, it was time to say adios to more teammates and fellow coaches as nine of us boarded the shuttle for the hour ride to the airport.

Due to the shuttle times, I was
about four and a half hours early

Breakfast and coffee helped fill in the time.

 We did indeed take off on time

 It was a smooth flight and it was
good to be home

As always, it was straight to Cronies
after flying into LAX

This U19 Europe Warriors experience made it 11 EuroBall coaching experiences (Italy 2008 & 2009, Sweden 2010, 2016 & 2017, Switzerland 2012, France 2012-13, Spain 2015 & 2016 and Europe Warriors twice in 2017).

It will become an even dozen when I head back to Italy to coach the mighty Varese Skorpions in 2018.

Now for some last random photos from this past week, thanks to Sue Valdivia for all of these shots.

Coach Danny Tam

Offensive Huddle

WHEE!

Crazy Spaniards

OC Erick Pérez

Oskar Wypych (Poland) kicking a PAT

Having Fun

 Coach Danny Tam
leading a water aerobics class

Photo Bombing is fun

Setting up the Field Goal unit

Coaches Tobias Fuchs, Danny Tam
and Mauricio Jaworski

Charging through the
Chapingo pool water

 Impromptu Coaching Staff Meeting

With LB Joe Christian from the UK

Tacos and Coaches at Chapingo

Head Coach Bart Iaccarino

Nice Hands Oskar!

"Hmm, should I get two tacos or just a
huarache after this practice?"

Mugging for the camera

No take downs

WR Coach Gustavo Rosso needs to
work on his DL stance

Universidad Autónoma Chapingo
Toros Salvajes

Coach Preston Bailey

Not only passionate for football, he is passionate for life!

The Pit

RB Eudald Sabater from Spain

QB/Holder Narcis Bach from Spain

Well, Catalunya to be a bit more precise.

Manuel Schabel from Austria
at Center

 Fighting for the ball

#55 Jørgen "Beefcake" Sørå Gulbrandsen
from Norway

Coaches Mauricio Jaworski and
Preston Bailey make for a lot of
fun on and off the field

Two extremely live wires!

DC Michael Wood

Care to dance? 

 The Pride of Murcia, Spain
Alberto Onofre Martinez Talavera

 Our Offensive Line

Joey Fuentes from Spain and
Levi Brock from the UK pulling on air

Finally, I got this picture taken at the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo on Tuesday, the morning after we left Texcoco.

BRRRRRRR!

Thank goodness we got out of Mexico just in the nick of time!

A Morning Walk in Texcoco and Another Visit to the Aztec Pyramids at Teotihuacan


Sunday, December 10, 2017:

With the rigors and tight schedule of game week behind us, Sunday was a time of good-byes as some players and coaches departed for their homes all over the globe.

For some of those staying in Mexico, flying home on Monday, a trip to the nearby Aztec pyramids at Teotihuacan was a must see event.

The bus to the pyramids would leave at 10:00 a.m. giving me just enough time for one more early morning walk through Texcoco.

Cool park bench crest
in Texaco's Central Park

VIVA ZAPATA!

Mexico's most beloved and revered leader

Silverio Pérez
One of Mexico's greatest bull fighters

Butchers getting meat to market,
no refrigeration trucks needed

One of Texcoco's many churches

It was the first of three that I would visit on my stroll.

Mass had already started

Texcoco's Arcade was quiet
early in the morning

'Tis the season . . .

First Communion is a HUGE
event in Catholic countries

I love some good sausage at breakfast

Churros?
This place merited crossing the street

Four churros  for 10 pesos?
DONE DEAL!

Ten pesos is only about 50 cents USD.

Fresh, warm churros are a such fantastic source of energy for us power walkers as you may know.

" . . . and oh so good for you too!"

A priest behind bars?

Santa Clauses atop a colorful wall

Texcoco's Cathedral

Mass was scheduled to
start in five minutes

Need a religious statue, rosary, etc.
then this is THE place for you

"¿Donde esta la biblioteca?"

Colorful mural

And yet another church

Simple and quiet inside

Many walls in Texcoco are rented
out as billboards

Some advertise stores and products
but many, like these, are politically oriented

Simple but fun

We might need to repaint this
one in the next few decades

Early morning street sweeping
as always done by hand

Texcoco could probably use a bit of sidewalk cement work too, in the years ahead.

THE COUNT!

YumKaax
"God of the Corn"

I love a good artisan cheese
in the morning

Closed on Sunday.

I really need to get back
home to Laurie soon

And to our three grandchildren, too.

My morning constitutional over, it was time to board the bus and head to Teotihuacan.

We also visited this tremendous archaeological park last August on the day after out Europe Warriors Senior team played against the UNAM Pumas who would eventually become the 2017 ONEFA Collegiate League Champions.

Last August I did not have enough
time to visit site's Museum

Mauricio Diaz-Jaworski
"The Polish Rifle II"

Today I made it a point to enter the Museum first and was joined by noted Mexican History expert Mauricio Diaz-Jaworski who gave me all sorts of insights.

What a GREAT guy. He is full of life and mischief too. Mauricio is just a fun, high energy man to have as a friend and fellow coach.

He will soon be going to Madrid to join his longtime friend Jesús Sánchez on the coaching staff of the Osos Rivas.

Por favor, do a tapas crawl for me Mauricio!

A score marker for the ancient
Aztec ball game

Mauricio reminded me that the captain of the winning team in these most important of traditional Aztec games was deemed the proper person to sacrifice to the gods after the game.

Can you say point shaving?

The Aztecs made arrow heads and
spear points from obsidian

This area in and around Mexico City is ringed with volcanoes.

Obsidian is a natural occurring volcanic glass, so using it to make these weapons was common sense approach to their hunting and defense issues.

A god?

Is that a human sacrifice
toy statue?

That reminds me, I need to start
dieting and exercising

The Aztec god of Solitude?

Aztec Jewelry

The MASSIVE Pyramid of the Sun

Aztec Burial Site

Interesting . . .

Quetzalcoatl
"The Feathered Serpent"
Aztec god of Wind and Learning

An Aztec Schmo?

With Mauricio in front of
the Pyramid of the Sun

Looking along the Avenue of the Dead
with the smaller Pyramid of the Moon
in the distance

Mauricio and I both bought
some fun little pieces of art
from this man

With Mike Wood, Alex Gudding
and Mauricio Diaz-Jaworski

Mike is our Defensive Coordinator. For the second straight Warriors' visit to Teotihuacan, Mike joined some of our players in climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun.

Now that's amazing to me, good job Coach Mike!

Alex was a LB for us who hails from Sweden and plays for the powerhouse Carlstad Crusaders. He joined Coach Mike for the climb up the face of the Pyramid of the Sun.

Mauricio is our Running Backs coach and is in charge of Strength and Conditioning as well.

Mauricio and I cheered our mates on from terra firma as they ascended the Pyramid of the Sun.

After two hours at Teotihuacan, we started to head back to Texcoco but we opted to eat lunch first just outside of the archeological parks fence at a good restaurant that we had first visited last August.

The 19 of us after a good meal

We needed two tables for our
dining needs

As is typical of these type of restaurants near touristy areas, we had full on Aztec dancers and Mariachi bands playing to entertain us during our meal.

For a price of course.

When the Mariachis came around asking for donations after playing the room, one of our players asked if they knew a certain tune, Cancion del Mariachi?

Claro!

While we all thought that he was asking them to sing this song that I knew only from the Antonio Banderas movie Desperado, perhaps the BEST movie of all-time, our young CB Tobias Witaliz from Poland was actually asking them to play it so the he could sing it for us!

Hell, we'll all donated money for that!

ENJOY!

Toby went on for over two minutes but I had to trim the video in half so that it would upload to the blog.

He was AWESOME!

In addition to his singing and dancing skills, Toby was considered by the coaching staff to be our team MVP of the game yesterday. He made a ton of good plays during our 60 minute battle.

Mariachi Singer/Dancer/DB
Tychy Falcons
Poland

He was my obvious choice for MVP of the Trip to Teotihuacan.

ARRIBA TOBY!

Cafe de Olla

The perfect way to end a great afternoon with this traditional Mexican coffee laced with cinnamon.

Meanwhile in Italy . . .

Our Varese Skorpions U16 team
was playing a game in the U16 
National Playoffs

AWESOME Result over
the Florence Guelfi!

GREAT effort Skopion players and coaches!

Up next, the playoff Semi-Finals

It looks like the Skorpions will travel to Ferrara to play the Aquile (Eagles) next weekend.

Snowy action vs. the Guelfi
"He could go . . . all . . . the . . . way!"

CONGRATULATIONS SKORPIONS!

We had more good-byes upon our return to the FirstInn Hotel as people got on the evening shuttle to the airport.

The rest of us were leaving on Monday.

What an AMAZING experience!