Wojciech Weekly: Around The World, The Saints Are Marching In

I hope you enjoyed my last piece and hope you’re ready for this week’s edition, I must apologize for the delay but this has been a short week, with Halloween and The All Saints Day. 

In Poland the beginning of November is the time for reflection and commemoration of our loved ones, who passed away.

Football community has recently lost Bum Philips, Bud Adams and Don James “The DawgFather”. It’s pretty symbolic but on Monday, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first polish Prime Minister in the post-communist era passed away. Alongside Lech Walesa, he was one of the symbols of transformation in my country. You may wonder why am I mentioning a politician in a football article, but the truth is without the fall of the “Iron curtain that has descended across the continent from from Stetting in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic” we would never been able to play American Football. 

As a matter of fact I’ve read in one issue of Time Magazine from 1988 about the Glasnost Bowl that was supposed to be played at the Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium by USC Trojans and University of Illinois. Eventually the plan failed but the idea of using sports as a cross-cultural platform is still vital nowadays. 

Since late 1980’s a lot has changed, just last weekend we have enjoyed the Jaguars-49ers game in London. In 2014 there will be three of them, with plans for a London based NFL franchise or “the cereal package” – 8 games a season played by different teams, the league is truly globalizing.

Another great news broke out recently, football is on the short list of sports that will be included in the 2017 Wroclaw World Games . Per sources the chances of a 6 team tournament played there are high.

The game of football is growing in other parts of the globe – Emirates American Football League has just kicked off and Indian EFLI will start their season soon. AFL China is another interesting project . 

The 2013 Rookie class has also produced an unprecedented influx of international talent with Bjorn Werner, Magnus Hunt, Lawrence Okoye and the most curious case of African rugby star Daniel Adongo . 

And speaking of Trieste did you know that this summer the fourth edition of American Bowl Camp was hosted there and the QB Coach was Joe Montana  If you missed it book the date now – experienced it myself – great location, great Coaches, great memories! Grazie to Ricky, Michele and all other members of the team. 

Also a huge a Merci Beaucoup to Pierre Trochet of myplaybook.eu for live-streaming the sessions of FFFA Coaching Clinic in Vichy long live -Egalite -Fraternite -Footbalite ! A link to the stream: http://myplaybook.eu/2013/11/junior-bowl-clinic-2ieme-soiree/

As much as love the Wembley Series, I believe that it is the organic work of players and coaches education that can help make football a truly global sport. The blueprint has already been drawn with the cooperation of Oakland and Tirol Raiders. I’m realistic that we our respective organizations are not as blessed to send your players and coaches as visitors to NFL training camps. However if you or your federation organize a clinic please share the information about the upcoming event. We as touchdown-europe.net promise to promote it, a great quote read recently, a candle doesn’t lose its flame by lighting up another. 

As I’m writing this column, the sad news about John Fox heart condition, are circulating the web - just one more memento of the fact that our lives are fragile - I hope that Broncos HC will get well soon #FoxStrong . This particular time of the year brings me back questions about the legacy, the impact we make with our coaching work on the lives of our associates, players and communities? 

To finish on a positive note , few years ago when I was working at Fireballs Poznan, we were contacted by the teachers from The Poznan Juvenile Correction Center about an open football practice for the youth. As the response of the “rookies” was very enthusiastic, we have set up our version of “GridIron Gang”. Football became a part of their counseling program - some of the guys who’s grades, behavior and skills were sufficient have earned spots on the Fireballs roster next season.

After the first practice with - thanks to Willie Sheird and Delmonte Blackwell for help, one day me and my teammate Chris came to the field located nearby, as we were setting up the practice, Celina, one of the teachers came to us and said – I think you should see this - we just got a package from USA. It contained 20 pairs of cleats, some stickers and an autographed card of a player wearing #9! 

As it turned out the Warden was visited by his friend, who was an American professor, who had a son – Who Dat! Some people in The New Orleans Saints have heard the story, liked it and sent football gear half – across the globe! I’m not sure if any celestial forces were involved or if Gregg Williams just tried to prepare himself a soft landing spot, but it was a perfect exemplification of together we make football- mission statement.

Wojciech Andrzejczak