The Penalty short story

 

Over a 150-million people play it. Now land mine victims are trying out their new legs. You need a ball and imagination. It’s called Soccer, the beautiful game.

My original idea to raise money for African Land Mine victims, then I realized there are untold others in many countries. I did write to Manchester City and United for help, which they declined.

However, a future English King wished me well with it.

FIFA Congratulated me on my noble effort, please keep us informed on the project progress. And send us any additional information along with a copy of the film once available.

 Great Animation inspiring story for Land Mine victims

The crowd fell silent – all 5,000 of them.  The two teams had given the game all they had and now the win hung on a penalty shot.

My moment had come. There was just the goal, the ball and me. All I had to do was kick it hard enough that if the goalie got a hand to it, it would be traveling so fast he could not hold it.  Could I do it?

I glanced over to the goalkeeper Nyack.  He was pacing across the goal, psyching himself up for the shot.

Unika my team Captain looked at me. “You can do it,” he said.  “You’ve got the best-left foot in the country.  Believe in yourself Panyin.”

“Yes, sir!.” I answered my attention on the goalkeeper.

As if drawn to my gaze, the goalie stopped pacing and stared back at me.  His eyes traveled from my face, down my body, rested on my right leg – and then back to my face.  His mouth twisted in a smirk. He is ready.

I caught myself musing, “He’s never stepped on a landmine.”

From somewhere deep inside me, there came a laugh.   For neither had I.  My father had.  Now he was dead and I was just glad to be alive.

Our school team had made it to the finals in each of the last four years.  Today, under a blazing sun, we were determined that this year’s trophy would be ours.

I turned toward Unika and waited as he carefully placed the scrubbed ball on the dirt penalty spot.  As he straightened up our eyes met.  He walked over and hugged me tightly.  “Just do it, Panyin. Aim to his right.  It’s his weakest side.”

I looked around at the players on that gravel and sand pitch.  Just for a trembling moment wished, I had stepped on that mine.  Then, with a cheeky grin to my team pals, I positioned myself behind the ball and steadied myself.

I do not remember what happened next – just the cheering, wave upon wave of it.  Was it our supporters or our opponents?

It was not until Unika grabbed me that I knew.  He twirled me around.  “We won the cup, Panyin.  You did it.”

With another swirl, Unika lost his balance and we both tumbled to the ground.

I brushed the dust from my eyes and stared over to where the goalie lay spread-eagled in his goal, the ball in the back of his net.  I struggled to my feet, walked toward the goal posts and pulled him to his feet.  As he flicked the dirt from his sweaty face, he shook his head ruefully, smiled and firmly shook my hand.

“You beat me with a powerful shot, man.  Name of that guy Charlton could not hit a ball that hard.  Man! United will be after you.  Your dad would’ve been proud of you.”

“Proud of us both, I reckon,” I mumbled as I slapped him on the back.

Yes!  Our team received the trophy all right!  However, I do not know who won that day you see, of the twenty-two 12 year-olds involved in the game, twenty players had artificial replacements for both legs.  My twin brother – the goalie – and I, we had a leg each.

On that fateful day, five years ago as he walked us to our soccer training, I was on my father’s right, my brother on his left.

Maybe, just maybe, I will play for Africa one day.

The End.

These African names mean:

Nyack     Strong hearted one who will never give up.

Panyin Elder of twins is a girl.

Minkah    Justice

Unika     Light up

The 20-minute screenplay is written with superb 52 drawing storyboard. Sampled above.

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