Question: Why can’t Poland stand out from the sportscrowd? Stand firm and winning for a time long enough to make any discipline look our national major?
Well, one possibility would be: The Polish nation is inferior. But as we’ve had racism here already, let’s try: Polish sport education sucks. There are promising youngsters in all disciplines, who get badly trained, who then go abroad where they don’t suck (re-trained), or they stay home and walk away from any fulfilment of the promise. (True, walk is one Polish major. I meant, one Pole’s major.)
There is the third group: sportsmen I call supernovas: the gifted — with achievements despite their education. Whenever, by strange twists of fate, a supernova shines for more than a season, we can expect a new national thrilldom. Whenever there are more than three supernovas in one discipline at the same time — we call it: the Polish school of that given discipline.
The Polish school of boxing, for example. School? Feliks Stamm could have been an ace coach had he left any “how to” book. Unfortunately, one of his opinions was “coaching can’t be taught”. The wisdom of another coach, Kazimierz Górski is often quoted, including:
— Every game you can win, or lose, or draw.
— The ball is round and there are two goals.
Well, if you can’t pass on your knowledge to any next generation, why you call yourself a coach? Or don’t I have a clue what the coaching’s about? Well, how could I? Stamm did his job 50 years ago, Górski: 30 years ago, that time I don’t remember.
Those were the grim times of PRL, life was grey, and people needed be appreciated. But much of the inferiority complex has survived till today, I’d say. What hardly dies in the die-hard fan is his (her? – not frequently) desire to un-grey their life. Poles still need much applause – and if they can’t get it personally, they nominate proxies. We barrack for our supernovas and steal some luminosity. It’s not about enjoying a game, it’s substitute war waging. It’s the “we’ll show them” attitude. Remember Alamo. We mean, Monte Cassino. We’re proud to be Polish. And the end justifies the “we”. “We” may include an adopted / adapted (?) Pole. (See Olisadebe. But only after he starts scoring for Poland.) “We” may include a non-Pole. (See Beenhakker. But only after he proves worthy.)
Where no supernovas show up in time, there are other ways to prove we’re world’s top badasses. There are football wars, for instance. (It’s better when warring hooligans are just imbeciles. It’s worse when they’re criminals. So says not me. So say the elderly gentlemen of the old and true school of fans – who’d take their grandsons to the grandstands, but can’t expose their grandprogeny to swearese, brutalese, chaos. Yes, you may get stabbed or clubbed for showing wrong FC’s colours on your scarf.)
The non-football fan is lazier, or busier, or just had less testosterone for breakfast. But the complex is there, nevertheless. So, the fan is likely to change disciplines, when supernovas show up in unexpected places. Stay vigilant: What should I do now, when Małysz is not as high and far as he used to? — Bet my love on Domachowska or Radwańska? — Is it time to start being keen on swimming? — Let’s adore race driving? — Any new table tennis players? — Is it fencing or foil fencing that I love now?
Tired, the fan is likely to take a rest, diving in memories of many Polish victories. Indeed, Poland has always been victorious, it’s just that some our victories need adjectives:
POLISH IMMIGRANT VICTORY: When non-Poles score for Poland, they’re Polish.
MORAL VICTORY: Example: You think West Germany beat us in 1974? No way! We were (morally) victorious, forced to play in a pond of mud.
FUTURE VICTORY: Example: You think Germany will beat us in 2008? No way!
PAST VICTORY: Ages ago, long enough for fan(atics) only to remember. Example: Tomaszewski, the Man That Stopped England:
DENIED VICTORY: referees were bribed, referees were blind, referees were German, or Russian, our anthem was played out of tune, the crowd whistled and booed, the wind was too strong, the wind was too weak, the grass was slippery, the grass was green, an offside position, where’s the yellow card, where’s the red card, we were tired, we were served bad food the night before, shoelaces were too loose, boots were too light, legs were too left, the opponents didn’t play fair, they didn’t play like they’re supposed to, and so on, and so on. Yet, had everything been like it should have, we would have won. So, we would win. So, we won, actually.
USELESS VICTORY: to be covered in the next episode.
If you wanna pick a duel, I’m here, too.