Continuing on with my topic of “The beautiful game”, today I’m sharing the story of a group of boys in the village of Koh Panyee in Phang Nga Province in Thailand. The village is notable for being built by Indonesian fisherman completely on stilts.
This true story is about a group of boys who lived in the village in 1986 and loved watching soccer on TV, but they had no place to play it themselves. Not to be deterred, they decided to build a floating soccer field where they could finally play the game they loved. Through their own efforts they managed to build a floating field, and even though they would often end up in the water chasing the ball and playing on wood planks that had nails sticking up, they finally had the field that they wanted. Eventually, they decided to participate in a tournament on the mainland. They initially thought that they weren’t good enough to do very well in the tournament, but they ended up making it into the semi-finals. The semi-final game was on a very rainy day and they went down by a score of 2 – 0 in the first half. At the half-time break they decided to take off their soccer shoes and play the game the way they always played it at home, in bare-feet. They were able to come back and tie the match, but in the end they lost due to a late goal. But they were so proud of what they’d done, plus with the strong encouragement of the other villagers, they decided to build a much nicer floating soccer field than the one they originally played on. And they’ve been very successful in tournaments ever since.
This is a heart warming story about a group of young men who were determined to have a soccer field, and were willing to do whatever it took to get one. The video is nicely produced and with the captions it’s easy to follow the story and share in the sense of accomplishment by the boys. There is a wonderful contrast between the majestic beauty of the surroundings versus the small cramped space that the villagers called home. It’s also a great introduction to the life of the villagers of Koh Panyee which seems to be a very tight-knit community. The video has a very light-hearted feel to it with a young boy’s voice narrating the video while happy native music plays in the background.
Assessment traits –
- Originality, voice, creativity: The voice of this story is one of its strengths. The voice is all based on one young man who narrates the entire piece. His voice gives credence to the idea that it was a bunch of young kids who decided to build the field and then accomplished it. It is important for producers of stories like this one to understand that a story aimed at a younger audience is more believable and relatable if it uses the voice of a young person.
- Flow, organization, and pacing: The video was very successful in how it was organized and the flow was consistent with the story. It had a bright, happy feel to it that seemed to bounce along with the characters as they built the field, played on the field, and then eventually played in the tournament. It felt as if I was one of the kids from the village playing on the field. I especially enjoyed the occasional comments from the adults that showed that they were interested in the endeavor, but letting the players do it themselves.
- Media application: This digital story would not have been successful if it didn’t have the images shot around the village and at the tournament. Seeing the village on stilts gives us a different perspective on what it takes to enjoy some of the basics in life such as a field to play on. Images of this nature can help us share remote and far away places with our students, which will not only help them understand very different cultures, but it will also help them appreciate their own environment and what they take for granted.