American Football – Polish Style

Last week I attended my first American football game since… high school, I think. Damn. To be fair, L.A. does not have a football team to go see and I’ve done all other L.A. team sports spectating: Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and even the Galaxy! When college came around I was surprisingly drawn more towards women’s volleyball then our Cal State Northridge football team. Well, not ‘surprisingly’. Come to think of it when given a choice of watching tall people play sports I think watching tall girls of Norwegian descent was a much better choice on my end. But I digress.

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American football league in Poland is slowly gaining momentum. This year there were 74 teams in 5 leagues! Check out this link to read more about the league: CLICK HERE. The most notable teams are the Warsaw Eagles and Giants Wrocław. Giants Wrocław used to be called Wrocław Angels, which was cool and made sense with the city being IN FRONT of your team’s name. No matter how I try, reading Giants Wrocław is just wrong. Change it!

But Giants Wrocław is indeed the team I watched plow over Zagłębie Steelers (who got their name right!). The game wasn’t much of a game at all, it looked like a practice session for the Giants. It was even physically visible who was gonna take this game. Giants played at home and had some 25+ players standing on the side lines. Steelers looked like their bus broke down and all they could hitchhike over were the 11 that showed up. No special teams, no real subs, just the same guys playing different positions changing from offense to defence when necessary. It almost seemed unfair to be able to send in a whole different ‘special’ team when the other guys are the same guys just swapping positions. No time for rest.

Within the first few minutes Giants were already up by 21 and before the 1st quarter was over it seemed the opposing team was ready to pack up and go home. The announcer mentioned that the standing record was a score of 84 to 0 and was curious out loud if Giants could beat it. They didn’t, but they did beat their much weaker opponent 56-0.

Side bleachers were actually pretty full of people but it seemed they were mostly somehow related or befriended with the team. Giants had a cool looking mascot walking around taking photos with people, the mascot is dubbed “little giant” or Gigancik in Polish.

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So how did it all feel? High schoolish to be honest. But it’s a good start. There is a push within the city council to provide some funding for American football in Wrocław, this would provide some money to make actual American football goal posts and permanently dedicate one stadium within the city to American football. While local games take place in small venues actual ‘superbowl’ game will take place in Warsaw’s National stadium, that’s the new 58,000 seat stadium built for last years Euro matches. Now that’s saying something for American football in Poland.

I wish the level of the game I saw was a little higher, but I will continue to attend Giants games.

Visit Wrocław Giants web site at http://www.giants.topliga.pl/

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