That's On Point: The Web Site

Don't blame us, we voted for Karl Pilkington.

Poles Apart

I love ya baby but all I can think about is Kielbasa sausage, your butt cheeks is warm.
I check my dipstick, you need lubrication honey,
My kielbasa sausage has just got to perform.
Now get it on!
. (Thanks Jack, Kyle.)

World Cup experience: Lucky No. 7 (Best third place, 1974, 1982)

Group: A -- Poland, Costa Rica, Ecuador

Odds: 5:1 win group; 126:1 win Cup.

World Rank: No. 28

How qualified: Second to England in UEFA Group 6. Qualified as one of the two best second place finishers.

Nickname: Bialo-czerwoni (The Red and White)

Key Players: Euzebiusz 'Ebi' Smolarek (Mid., Borussia Dortmund); Miroslaw Szymkowiak (Mid., Trabzonspor); Maciej Zurawski (F, Celtic); Tomasz Frankowski (F, Wolverhampton Wanderers); Grzegorz Rasiak (F, Southampton)

Steel Cage Death Match, Poland Style: Who will be coach Pawel Jenas's choice for the No. 1 shirt in Germany? That's the Million Zlotny question. Will it be Artur Boruc? He's been solid helping Celtic win the Scottish Premier League (not that its that hard to do), yet his gaffe against the U.S. in a friendly in March gave Clint Dempsey a SOFT goal that proved to be the difference. (Be warned the link features Marcelo Balboa and Dave O'Brien, turn off sound if you value your sanity.)

Or will manger Pawel Janas opt for 2005 Champions League Liverpool hero Jerzy Dudek (more below, in video form!)? A grade A-goofball, with excellent skill but who's rarely gotten off the pine at Anfield this campaign?

Surprisingly, Dudek left off the roster.

Then there is this guy:

"Two years ago Grzegorz Piechna supplemented his $50 weekly playing wage by delivering fresh meat to shops, earning the nickname 'Kielbasa.' The song remains the same, but a bit louder now he's a Poland international and the league's top scorer, with 16 goals in the first 16 games and a good chance of going to the World Cup finals. .... The late-flowering 29-year-old has no time for false modesty, but the popular Piechna hasn't gone big-time: he now spends his time after training driving coal trucks for his mother-in-law's company." -- FourFourTwo, March 2006.
(However I sincerely doubt he makes the Poles' 23-man roster.)

Choice honey: Joanna Krupa, raised in America but born in Warsaw...their loss, HUGE loss.

Icon: Zbigniew Boniek -- Coupled with a moustache stolen right off the upper lip of Larry Bird and short-shorts that would make John Stockton blush, the tastefully named Boniek powered Poland to a third place showing at Spain '82 and later starred in Serie A for Juventus in what was at the time the largest transfer fee for an Eastern European player. Zoinks!

Famous Poles (North/South notwitstanding): There are so many famous Americans of Polish ancestry I had to give them their own due, in Top 10 form:

(honorable mention: Marvel comic's Sasquatch, we know his love is real; Allen Trammell, my all-time favorite baseballer; Sebastian Janikowski, Sea Bass lives; Peter Cetera...when you love somebody!)

10. Michael Anthony, Bass player Van Halen; noted back-up dancer.

9. Mike Ditka, legendary for something to do with sports. So legendary that it inspired a most-excellent SNL skit which made his last name a catchphrase. He won a Super Bowl AND posed with Ricky Williams in a wedding dress, right? Too much Polish sausage in the blood. Maybe a minor heart attack, I'm not a doctor.

8. Chloë Sevigny, actress of half-Polish decent. When pressed known to give an excellent "oral" history on the quest for Polish statehood from the Jagiellon dynasty to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. (Loses points for being from Darien, Conn.; regains said points for once working at "Sassy" Magazine, but loses that goodwill for the flacid Bill Paxton "Big Love" show.)

7. Ray Manzarek, keyboardist: the Doors/the Doors of the 21st Century. (Loses points for become a professional 1960s blowhard [it was a movement, man] but regains them for Kyle McLaughlin's wooden portrayal in the Ollie Stone movie.)

6. Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinal legend. In 1954 a little know amendment to the U.S. Constitution made it a crime to not to refer to him as Stan "The Man" Musial in any baseball related material.

5. Theodore Kaczynski, Unabomber. Gains points from Will Ferrell's amazing parody, loses them for killing people.

4. Ivan Putski, the Polish Hammer, nuff said.

3. Ted Knight, the legendary Judge Smails. (Loses points for being from Terryville, Conn.)

2. Wayne Gretzky, hockey player, aider and abetter of gambling wife, personality of a bridge-playing grandmother, yet sublime on the ice.

1. Jeffery "the Dude" Lebowski: "Oh boy. How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Karl Hungus."

Tedious Miscellania: What is it with Polish filmmakers? Roman Polanski -- pederass; Larry Wachowski -- I don't even want to type what he's into (snip, snip). ... Nicolaus Copernicus was the first man to popularize the idea of a heliocentric universe. Goes to show that the stereotype that Polish people are morons might not be totally correct. And where did that rumor start? ... You wouldn't think Buffalo Bill Cody would have anything to do with Polish soccer, would you? You'd be wrong. On a "Wild West" tour in 1906, members of the rodeo played native Polish people, losing 1-0 to the hosts, setting off an increased interest in the sport. ... Emmanuel Olisadebe -- As Polish as polka music, well not quite. The Nigerian-born striker earned Polish citizenship during the build up to 2002 Korea/Japan, where he lead all scorers in qualification. Lately, though, Oli has been injured, out of form and wasting away on the bench for 'Arry Redknap as Portsmouth tries to remain in the English Premier League. ... In the world of soccer badges, nothing strikes fear into the hearts of men like that of Amica Wronki's. ... Smolarek is apparently quite a cad. During his time with Rotterdam outfit Feyenoord he picked up a few of the local Dutch customs, leading to a failed drug test for hashish, earning him the nickname -- The Hasch Bomber. Also, he's part of Pepsi's David Beckham team, so his face will be on a can putting him in the same class as the immortal Jar-Jar Binks. ... Crud, I forget to make a snide Lech Walesa comment. (gfkgl;dfjgdfgkdfgdf oops, that was me passing out on the keyboard at the sight of that Civil War worthy moustache.) ... Well, here's one, Walesa's Solidarity Movement began in the northern port city of Gdansk. Now here's the good part, the German name for the city is (Glen) Danzig. (Mother, tell your children not to walk my way.) MLS "legend" Peter Nowak helped the expansion Chicago Fire to the league championship in their innagural 1998 campaign. He later coached DC United to the 2004 MLS crown, famously fueding with teen-dream Freddy Adu. Even as a manager, he's made sure the mullet still has a place in soccer. ... In the words of Frank Sobotka, "Four Pollocks around a table, six opinions."


General notes: Only loses in qualification came to England, twice. ... Perhaps they'll get a spiritual boast from the recently deceased Pontiff, John Paul II (ne Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Watowice) who grew up playing soccer in the streets. ... If I was in charge of things I show a 24-hour loop of WW II clips in advance of the Poles June 14th clash in Dortmund against the hosts, Germany. There's a little bit of bad blood there, yes? ... Tradition says Poland is a "hard working" defensively minded side. However with a number of quality attacking options, the Poles should score their share of goals in Germany. ...POL-SKA, POL-SKA, POL-SKA, POL-SKA! ... Maybe I'm selling the Poles short, their all-time Cup record is a respectable 14-9-5.

Worth watching: Meh. The Poles sort of seem like filler, much like the insides of low-grade Kielbasa. (Frankly, even I'm having a tough time getting psyched about Poland/Ecuador or what constitues the inner workings of yummy yummy sausage.)

Will they win a game?: Well, a "B" team won at Saudi Arabia 2-1 in March, so by that logic their top side should be able to overwhelm at least Costa Rica or Ecuador.

Suppe Sez: Poland has given the world many great things; kielbasa, pierogis, polka, blackberry brandy, hilarious common-sense jokes, “Killer” Kowalski and Pope John Paul II. But its greatest contribution is that of Mariusz Pudzianowski, “The Polish Power.”

Pudzianowski is a world-renowned strong man, a three-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man competition. Standing at 6’1 and weighing 290 lbs, Pudzian bench presses 606 lbs and squat 794 lbs. Basically, he’s like a post-Conan, pre-Predator Arnold.

The Polish absolutely love Pudzianowski, even though he was disqualified from the 2004 World's Strongest Man contest “for a breach of the new IFSA Strongman Health Policy.” (Insert your own Barry Bonds joke here.)

Aside from Pudzian, Poland loves low-blowing tomato can Andrew Golota.
Who doesn’t chuckle when they catch a clip of this?

Bottom line: Win, lose, draw -- the Jerzy Dudek dance translates into any language (well, except German):

On deck: the land of Edward (of the) Melo's man-crush, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

For other capsules:
Cote D'Ivorie--England;
France--Korea .

2 Responses to “Poles Apart”

  1. # Anonymous Bialynia

    Wow, I'm utterly shocked that no one has commented on your great piece. I would say that Poland is a hard working side that is offensively mined, the defense was awful in qualifying.

    Little known fact, the Polka is Bohemian not Polish, look it up, it's true!  

  2. # Anonymous krizz

    this is a sweet website , GOOD WORK!!!!  

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