For College of the Canyons linebacker Patryk Guk, who was born in Bielawa, Poland, football seemed like a natural fit.
The former Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor enjoyed wrestling, tackling and in particular, taking people down.
“Polish people, we like boxing, wrestling, and once I saw you can hit each other and at full speed, I said, ‘This is a sport for me,’” Guk said when he was first introduced to football.
The Polish American Football League was founded in 2006, but Guk had no idea what football was until 2013, when a friend introduced him to the sport at the local park.
Guk attended the first practice of the local team to get a free gym membership that was being offered, but quickly fell in love with the physicality of the sport. He also appreciates the camaraderie amongst his teammates.
“They showed me American football culture. They are like brothers in arms,” Guk said. “I can hit somebody, but I have my teammates who support my back.”
Guk’s decision to come play at COC was an easy one. He had dropped out of college in Poland and moved to England where he worked in a couple of coffee shops. He was saving money, working out and training for football so he could come play in the U.S., a process that took over two years.
While in school in Poland, Guk was studying kinesiology. Once he learned he could study the same subject in the U.S., his final decision was made.
“College in Poland wasn’t for me. I can go to the U.S. and have three things in one,” Guk said. “I’m coming here to play football, learning English and I have the same major, kinesiology. In Poland I can play for a football team but with no college.”
After COC, Guk would like to transfer to a four-year university in California, but will consider moving if the offer is good enough. While he wants to keep playing football, he is also focused on his education. He’d like to be a strength and conditioning coach one day.
“I want to focus on my education because if I’m not a great athlete, I can still be a great strength and conditioning coach. That’s what I love to do,” he said.