There is a city in Poland where Paraarmwrestling and Armwrestling are more popular than football and Armwrestlers are more recognizable than footballers. The "Zryw" Dąbie football club, despite the fact that it has existed for almost a hundred years, currently does not play a big role in local competitions. Armwrestlers, on the other hand, bring more and more new medals and cups from national and international events. Those are very often gold. ()
Meet "Gralak Team" - Stanisław Gralak - multiple medalist of national and international events in the masters category and Maciek Gralak - the most titled Polish representative in Armwrestling and Paraarmwrestling. And, of course, The Mom - Mrs. Grażyna and two older brothers who also practice sports. However, armwrestling on the scale of Polish representation is the domain of Stanisław and Maciej.
How do they live and what do they do outside the world of sports? In the recently launched series of articles titled "NOT ONLY armwrestling" I attempt to present selected people from our environment and their activity outside of sports, for example in local politics.
The entire history of Armwrestling in the city and commune of Dąbie begins precisely at the interface between sports and local authorities.
This episode concerns Maciej Gralak, known to all of you from the World and European Championships, the "Zloty Tur" Tournament and the Disabled World Cup. Maciej is now 30 years old and is in his sporting prime. Right next to him, just a little older (60 years old) is his father, Stanisław Gralak. You also know him from international masters competitions.
Both combine sports and social passions in a very concrete way. Thanks to Maciek, people in the town and commune are slowly but surely starting to treat disabled people completely differently, they are proud of the sporting achievements of “their own" contestant. The work on popularizing sports, specifically armwrestling and even more specifically Pararmwrestling on a local scale - translates very specifically and advantageously into the situation of disabled people in the city and commune.
The whole sporting, armwrestling history of "Gralak Team" began in the nearby village of Tranówka in the Volunteer Fire Brigade building. It was 2005. Stanisław Gralak was then the mayor of the city and commune. He had no idea that armwrestling even existed ...
An unexpected visit
I was then that a few experienced armwrestlers came to his office and asked for help in organizing a competition, the usual stuff - a venue, some prizes, cups, diplomas. Stanisław Gralak helped and the first competition for the Mayor of Dąbie Cup has been born.
Maciek stood by and looked, he was not yet competing, but ...
Both men realized that this sport offered the perfect rehabilitation possibilities for Maciek - and not only physical. From that moment, this armwrestling "magnet" acted on both of them and turned their whole lives upside down. Maciej started his adventure with armwrestling a year later in October 2006. First successes and first small competitions, starts in the junior category and then on to the Polish Championships and Cups, his first official national team tracksuit, participation in competitions abroad, first successes. Both men represent the Arm Fanatic Sport Grudziądz club, they spar there, but they also have a well-equipped place for training right next to their house. They train every day, sometimes just the two of them, sometimes with other armwrestlers living in the area.
The most popular athlete in the commune
A dozen or so years of work, with successes but sometimes also losses. Maciek has been living in Dąbie since his birth.