Michal Spickzo has always been someone who has marched to the beat of a different drum. His own. Having followed his passion for sport relentlessly while concentrating on his academic future, Spickzo has maintained a balance between the two. A commendable job. And now, at a position where he has the luxury of choice, Spickzo has taken yet another new turn, into the world of kabaddi. It’s not often that you find a Pole playing the sport and when they do, you sit up and take notice. “Sport was always a passion of mine and a hobby. I focussed on education and established a company two years ago so I can focus more on sport. I did engineering and then did a masters in economics and started a financial consultancy. So now, I am my own boss and can practice and follow my passion,” says Spickzo.
Having harboured dreams of playing in the NFL in America, ever since taking up kabaddi back in Poland, Spickzo has seen his life change dramatically. Not only is he playing in the Pro Kabaddi League for the Bengaluru Bulls, he is also enjoying the smaller pleasures of life during his time in India. Experimenting with the food that is alien to him and learning the language, Spickzo is having the time of his life with the caravan style league. “I have learned a little bit of Hindi and can count to 10 also in the language, “ he said excitedly during an exclusive interview with this newspaper. “I’m an American football player so I know how hard it is to be in a new team but everyone here has been open and kind. Even those lads who don’t know English try to be nice and teach me to eat. The spirit is huge and we are thinking about the championship.
“In the beginning I thought I will have food poisoning from eating all the local food but everything is cool. I have fallen in love with the food here and the problem now is excess weight. I could eat more but I cannot”, he added. When asked of his favourite cuisine, he laughs: “I shall tell you at the end. Each city has their own speciality and I am taking pictures of the food and trying to remember their names. In Jaipur the food was really spicy. It’s nice to discover the culture and food here.”
Having played American football for much of his life, Spickzo’s took a whole new direction when his coach suggested dabbling with kabaddi. “My coach is an Indian guy who moved to Poland because his wife is Polish. He suggested it and I watched a lot of videos and got into it six months ago. We don’t have a lot but we have players in Europe. When the game was introduced, a lot of players from American football and wrestling switched (to it) and last month we won a tournament in England” the Pole star revealed. “In Poland, we like contact sports and kabaddi has a bright future there. One college is teaching kabaddi and maybe we will have many more players in the future.”
But was it difficult to make the transition to the sport? “There are similarities to both. Footwork and tackling are very important in both sport. But the biggest difference is the mental side of the game. In kabaddi you have to focus and observe many things at the same time and I am learning that more here,” opined the Bulls star. “Over here the guys are professional and have been playing since they were kids. It’s new in Europe but I hope in few years we will be in a good position to compare.”...