Today let's talk about some rules about club names. I warn you, this is going to be a complicated divagation. Polish club names refer to brave, dangerous, mythical names. Many of them come from animals, and here's a fun fact: the names appear to be both singular and plural. The first Polish club was Złoty Tur [Golden Aurochs – t.n.]. Singular – an aurochs. There, again, is Złoty Niedźwiedź [Golden Bear – t.n.] – just one. ()
On the other hand, we have Niedźwiedzie [Bears – t.n.] from Orawa, plural. I wrote about them here.
Wilki Międzychód [Międzychód Wolves, farther referred to as Wolves – t.n.] are also in plural. One could think that the creators of the club, with Waldemar Podolski in the lead, have gone for the “team” nature of these animals, as a symbol of the bond in their own team. Wolves understood as a pack. Wolves working in a group. Therefore, the name itself should tell us something about the club, and of course it does
It's a team!
During this year's 21st Polish Championships in the Gniew Castle (March 2021), the Wolves took the 7th place in the general ranking (out of 23 clubs). This means they're at the top. However, they're at the very top, namely in the 1st place, of the disabled competitors ranking (11 clubs in this one).
We'll learn more from the conversation with Waldemar Podolski, the “boss” of the Wolves. Enjoy!
PeSzy: Let's start with the name. Why “Wolves”?
Waldemar Podolski: Because for these animals what matters is the team, unity, pack. I came up with the name, Wolves, and the other founding members accepted it.
PeSzy: How did your, and then the Wolves' armwrestling story begin?
Waldemar Podolski: First there were starts in the “Złoty Orzeł Choszczno” club under the lead of Artur Głowiński. It was Artur who taught us (and me) the basics. The club was founded on July 22, 2010. Ever since then we have Maciej Budych, Paweł Budych, Łukasz Świątek, my wife Elżbieta and me.
Long long time ago...
At one of the first tournaments
PeSzy: Well, that's many years already. Do you remember your first start?
Waldemar Podolski: Our first start was the 2010 Debuts, Stare Miasto. Three medals: Łukasz Świątek got gold (cat. 78 kg), Łukasz Grudziński – silver (cat. 95 kg) and in open Łukasz Świątek – silver. We went as a team of nine in total.
PeSzy: And your debut?
Waldemar Podolski: I went with Maciej Budych to CHOSZCZNO CLUB C4 in 2004. We lost... that's an understatement! We totally got owned! But we didn't give up and we've been in this sport for 17 years now already.
The club family Marta and Łukasz Świątek
PeSzy: I will ask a cliché question – why?
Waldemar Podolski: There's no other place with such fantastic people! Only in Armwrestling. Why? Here's an anecdote from Mateusz Frąckowiak from the Cup in Jabłonka:
There was a stand and a guy who sold shepherd's axes and souvenirs. There was a sculpture of a senior shepherd with a metal cup. And you know what? The man told us that it was the first event during which nobody stole the cup. That's the way we are! Sportsmen, even though not Olympians, more human than some think. It's not just a sport, it's a lifestyle.
PeSzy: I totally agree. When did you get your first serious competition medals?
Waldemar Podolski: The first medals at the Poland Cup (2011, Tczew) were taken by Łukasz Świątek (78 kg) – silver for the left arm, bronze for the right arm, and Łukasz Rachowka in disabled under 60 kg.
The beginnings were mostly them. They got medals.