L to R -- MP's Joe DiTrolio, PC's Mike Brown, GA's Austin Kevitch, Judge's Kevin
                  Toner, EA's Brian Taylor, CHA's Will Emery, HS' Wyatt Benson, HS' Joe Nassib.

  Philly's Great Eight
 Global Football 2010

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  In March 2010, eight football players from Philly, and assistant coach Bill Gallagher, of Episcopal Academy, traveled to France to be part of Team Stars & Stripes, an all-star team comprised of 37 seniors from around the country. On 3/20, the squad will play an all-star team from Belgium in Amiens, France. Look below for reports from team member Joe DiTrolio, of Malvern Prep.   


Click here for pics from France.
And here for other pics from France.
And here for MORE pics from France.
Click here for pics from sendoff get-together at Chickie's & Pete's.
Click here for a special page being maintained by Lauren Hickey, a publicist for Global FB.

MARCH 21
  There’s a saying that goes “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  If this statement holds any truth, American football in Belgium should drastically improve over the next decade.  Today marked the 2010 Global Bowl and Team USA took on the Belgian national team in a nice American football stadium in Amiens, France.   The score was 49-0 USA… at halftime.  Final score was 82-0.  The game might not have been a nail-biter, but it was still a fantastic experience for the players and coaches on both the US and Belgian teams.  Before the contest started both the Belgian and US national anthems were played over the loudspeakers, bringing a great sense of pride to all of the players.  Afterwards, Mike Brown took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, and Team USA never looked back.  The offense was extremely productive and never had to punt and the defense dominated, holding Belgium to little yardage and forcing several key turnovers.  The special teams did their part as well, consistently giving the US good field position.  We simply had more size, speed, and experience than Belgium did and were able to get a good victory for the Stars & Stripes.
  However, we were all extremely impressed by the Belgian players and their sportsmanship.  Even though they were down by insurmountable odds, they fought hard until the very last whistle and never let the score get to them.  After the game players from both teams, coaches, parents, and fans gathered at the center of the field to meet their opponents, trade small items (I got a Belgium helmet decal in exchange for one of my US ones), and take photos with each other.  It was a great experience.  I talked with several of the Belgium players, who offered congratulations and many questions about life in America.  We communicated as best we could (a lot of the foreign players spoke surprisingly good English) and talked football among other things.  The Belgium players started to chant “USA” and formed a gauntlet for the American players to run through.  I was taken aback by this and all of the sportsmanship that the Belgium players showed.  It was something different than anything that I had ever experienced playing football back in the US.
  Overall, this whole experience was one of the best in my life, and I know that many of my teammates feel the same way.  To experience all that France has to offer and play football against a foreign team in a foreign country is an unforgettable thing.  To see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Versailles, and Omaha Beach gave me a great appreciation for France and its culture.  It also gave me a bigger sense of pride for being an American, as I saw many places where Americans fought and died to fight evil.  To wear the Stars & Stripes jersey today was truly humbling.  I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip and represent America.
  SPECIAL NOTES:
-We have tried to be as truthful as possible while writing these reports, but mistakes are inevitable.  We mistakenly reported yesterday that Brian Taylor yearns to be in the arms of “Shanika” back home.  However, we actually were confused by Brian’s complex love life.  Special someone “Paige” should be substituted for “Shanika,” according to several sources.  We apologize to Brian, as well as to Shanika, who probably threw up in her mouth a little bit if she read our last report.
-Today was Wyatt Benson’s 18th birthday.  Kevin Toner came up at breakfast and actually wished him a happy 18th, causing all of our mouths to drop.
-A Belgium player was apparently confused on a punt during the game.  Belgium punted, and the player tried to return the ball to the Belgium endzone for the Americans.  We all appreciated the player’s desire to help.  Even the Belgium players laughed a little.
ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE:
This has been a fantastic experience, and we would like to thank everyone who made it possible:
-The Maguire family, Mr. Joe Nassib, Mr. Fox, and Pete for their financial assistance.
-Our parents, for letting us come on this trip.
-Our Phila. area coaches for selecting us to play in this game.
-Coach Gallagher for joining us during this trip and coaching us.
-Our Stars and Stripes coaches for all they have done in the past week.
-Our Stars and Stripes teammates.
-The people of France and Belgium who made us feel welcome over in France.
-Our tour guides Leo and Tom for sharing their knowledge with us.
-Mr. Silary, for posting our reports.
  Au revoir from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
  We look forward to seeing everyone back in America.
-- Joe DiTrolio
   And the rest of the “Great 8.”

MARCH 19
  Bonjour again from France!  The past few days seemed to have flown by, and we are now nearing the end of our trip.  Tomorrow is the big day when Team USA will square off against Team Belgium in an actual football stadium (the only American football stadium in France) in the town of Amiens.  Everyone on the team, especially all of the Philadelphia area players, is excited to be representing our country in this huge game.  Today we left Paris early in the morning and headed to Normandy, France, an area which is famous for being the location of the historic D-Day landings that occurred on June 6, 1944, a turning point of World War II.  We first stopped in the town of Normandy, where we viewed several WWII era tanks and anti-aircraft guns.  Then we took a short ride to the American WWII cemetery in Normandy, where thousands of American soldiers who died during the liberation of Europe are buried.  It was truly humbling to pay our respects to the graves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of mankind.  After we visited the cemetery we journeyed to Omaha beach, where American forces landed and fought heavily entrenched German armies.   We then toured through the remains of several German pillboxes and fortifications.  It was all extremely interesting to take in and see firsthand.  Throughout the trip, we watched the movie Saving Private Ryan on the team bus, and I was constantly thinking of how amazing it was that the events that were being portrayed on screen actually took place at the locations that we were visiting.  After Normandy, the attention turned to our upcoming game, the main purpose of this trip.  We enjoyed a team dinner, held a team meeting, and heard an inspirational speech by Head Coach Scurran.  We’re all pretty excited and nervous right now, but cannot wait to take on the Brussels team tomorrow at 2:00 and meet the foreign players afterwards.  The French have proven to be very friendly and interested in American football, and they are constantly asking us about our lives as Americans.  We also have heard that the Belgium team is excited to play and meet us.  This trip so far has proven to be an unforgettable week, and we all look forward to creating even more memories tomorrow and to playing a great American football game.
SPECIAL NOTES:
  Even though he is enjoying the sights, Brian Taylor yearns to be with special someone “Shanika “again.  Brian has been particularly mute about Shanika, but we are looking into the matter.
  Yesterday at practice, Will Emery lived out his dream and made his debut at linebacker against the second team offense.  Unfortunately, the dream was spoiled when he was run over by Wyatt Benson, who was taking reps at running back.
  Mike Brown, having come with the “Philly Crew,” has renounced his Philly ties and plans to relocate to Tucson, Arizona following this trip in order to be closer with his new desert brothers.
  We have still not been able to crack the surface of Kevin Toner.  More to come…
  “The Situation,” previously known as Joe Nassib, has cut down his practice prep appearance time to only 30 minutes after seeing our last report.
  We apologize to Austin Kevitch for recently naming him the biggest Facebook stalker in the Inter-Ac.  After reading the previous article, sources confirmed that Haverford School lineman Max Silver actually holds this title.  Sorry, Austin.
  Our team kicker recently learned the hard way not to use smokeless tobacco products for the first time in France on a crowded bus.  We all suffered for two hours during the ride to Amiens as a result.
  Au revoir, from Amiens, France,
Joe DiTrolio
With assistance from Wyatt Benson

MARCH 17
  Bonjour from Paris!  Just a brief update about what’s going on over here.  Today Team USA held their third practice at a rugby pitch just outside of Paris in preparation to face Team Belgium this coming Saturday in Amines, France.  Over the last three days we have installed most of our offense, our defense, and all of our special teams.  The last two practices have been pretty intense for everyone, filled with plenty of hitting. As we move closer to game day the focus will shift more towards review of what we have recently put in.  All of the Phila. players are looking forward towards this Saturday and are expecting large roles while representing our country in Europe.  Joe Nassib and Kevin Toner will play cornerback, Wyatt Benson and Brian Taylor will play linebacker and split time at fullback, Austin Kevitch will play quarterback, Mike Brown will play safety and return kicks, Will Emery will play offensive guard, and I will play defensive tackle.  After practice today we visited the Louvre Museum, which is probably the biggest museum in the world and the home of the Mona Lisa.  Later in the day we rode to the top of the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the best view of Paris that you can find. This has been an amazing experience thus far filled with entertaining moments and fantastic memories.  We are really looking forward to visiting Versailles and Normandy Beach later on this week and facing off against the Belgium squad this Saturday. 
Some things we have learned/observed about our teammates:
Will Emery enjoys watching The Powerpuff Girls in French, late at night on cartoon network. 
Wyatt Benson cannot go more than a few hours without contacting the apple of his eye, “Nad.”
Austin Kevitch is the biggest Facebook stalker in the Inter-Ac.
Kevin Toner: (we don’t have much information to relay due to the fact that he does not talk much)
Mike Brown paid one of our other teammates 50 euros (about 75 dollars) to walk up to a French girl and say “Git er done.”
Joe Nassib takes over 40 minutes to prepare his appearance for practice.
Erie kids enjoy oversleeping and angering our coaches due to their late night activities.
Our lone Louisiana kid, named Buck, only fishes and hunts in his free time.  His targets include French pigeons. 
Wisconsin kids are very naïve and tend to get ripped off by street hustlers.
Au revoir from Paris, France:
-- Joe DiTrolio & Bryan Taylor
With assistance from Will Emery

MARCH 14
  Bonjour!!!
  We've finally arrived in Paris!  It was an unforgettable ride to JFK with hurricane force winds and driving rain and a closed NJ Turnpike.  But we were determined to make it and did so with time to spare only to find out that our plane was diverted to Philadelphia!We finally boarded our plane to France and took off around 2:30 a.m. (very early Sunday morning).  With the time difference in France and the one hour time change in the states, we landed in Paris at 4:00ish.  After locating some lost luggage we checked into our hotel and met at the "Hippopotomus" for our welcome dinner. We dined on chicken and steak.  It was terrific! On Monday morning, we took a bus tour of the city of Paris just to get our bearings.  We saw the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph.  This afternoon we survived our first practice.  Internet is a bit pricey in the hotel so we have to search out cafes in the area from which to send our emails.  We'll try to get out emails as often as possible.  Au revoir!!!
-- The great 8!