bend it like . . . *

photo credit: Ellespeth’s Friend

Nothing was more important to the gangle of boys than soccer. With much complaint, they allowed me to take a picture without one or two having his foot on a ball. I agree to take pictures of a game in action, then present each boy with a copy.

Soccer is the ambassador to the world. All kids need is space and a ball. The million trials billions of children go through, yet laughter rings through tragic places.

The original project: to photograph the faces of children mired in poverty; war; lack of resources and education; ethnic cleansing and more for a non-profit organization. When I met those boys on the beach, I knew my mission had changed.

A tsunami swept their village into the sea. No survivors. But they live on in my photographs – a monument to the triumph of children in the worst conditions to still play games.

Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (ffaw).

* is a reference to a film, “Bend it Like Beckham.” A daughter of a traditional Indian family living in London dreams of playing professional soccer, and “bending it like Beckham”, her favourite soccer player.


48 thoughts on “bend it like . . . *

  1. afairymind June 5, 2015 / 10:36 am

    What a poignant story! Even in the midst of poverty and hardship children still find hope through a game. Such a tragic end. Well done. :)


    • phylor June 5, 2015 / 11:03 am

      I think that children find some way to play if they can. Soccer is so simple in terms of cost.

      I recently read an article where a woman from my area organized girls soccer team at a school in Africa. The response was overwhelming and she will be back this summer to organize more girls teams. Playing soccer gives them a sense of empowerment, challenge, and possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Francesca Smith June 4, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    A very poignant story, but this line is very true “The million trials billions of children go through, yet laughter rings through tragic places”.


    • phylor June 4, 2015 / 9:27 pm

      Yes, that’s what gives me hope that the world will some day get it right.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OnChi June 4, 2015 / 9:48 am

    Excellent story! “The triumph of children in the worst conditions to still play games” what a nice thought!


    • phylor June 4, 2015 / 10:35 am

      Thank you.
      I’ve seen it on television or read about in books/articles.
      A non-profit organization I give to when I can, assigns a particular thing to your contribution. Of course, the money is pooled, but the symbolism is good. One year, we donated enough to buy soccer balls. Three of my grandnieces play soccer, so I donated in their name, and got a nice card from the org. That really emphasized how important soccer is in kid’s lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. luckyjc007 June 3, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    This is a really sad story. Children are so resilient even in the worst circumstances, but there is no recovery from such a tragic event as this.


    • phylor June 4, 2015 / 5:21 am

      Yes, even children can lose the battle. That’s the saddest part I think.


    • phylor June 4, 2015 / 5:21 am

      Thank you, Donna. The photo was very compelling. I am remiss at reading more stories.

      Liked by 1 person

    • phylor June 3, 2015 / 4:57 am

      I can imagine you would feel this at a heart-level.
      I was thinking how the media focuses us on a particular natural disaster, then when the media leaves, the event goes out of peoples’ consciousness. On the anniversary of the disaster, we are reminded.
      And, I recently saw an image of children playing soccer (not the focus of the movie, documentary, whatever) and thought of how children will play games in the worst of conditions, and how soccer (ball and place to play) reaches around the world.
      Oops. One of my response to a comment that easily could be flash fiction on its own!


        • phylor June 3, 2015 / 8:16 am

          Thanks — I didn’t get too many 9/10 when I was a student. lol


  5. Priceless Joy June 2, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    I agree with the others. This is a hauntingly beautiful story with such a tragic ending. I hope this is fiction and not a true story.


    • phylor June 3, 2015 / 4:50 am

      Thank you!
      Part true/part fiction. Events I read about or seen, images I haven’t forgotten.
      I know that natural disasters such as the tsunami have human costs on the scale I can’t even get my head around. Kids all over the world play soccer, under some horrific conditions.
      And, so many children were/are, as I say below, literally and figuratively swept out to sea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Priceless Joy June 3, 2015 / 8:55 am

        I’m like you Phylor, I cannot wrap my head around it either. It is just too terrible for me to think about.


    • phylor June 3, 2015 / 4:45 am

      Thank you. I responded to the image and some thoughts I’d been having.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. izzy-grabs-life June 2, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    How wonderfully tragic and terribly beautiful this piece is and the realizations explored in so few words. Thanks for writing and sharing it. <3


    • phylor June 3, 2015 / 4:44 am

      Thank you.
      It was the way my convoluted mind had been jumping from idea to idea, even before the prompt.
      The picture brought out images, both triumphal and tragic.


  7. DELL CLOVER June 2, 2015 / 5:25 pm

    WOW, this is so touching–and I DO love that photo of the boys! So full of life.


    • phylor June 3, 2015 / 4:40 am

      Priceless Joy’s picture is so full of life. I thought about how many children are swept out to sea, literally and figuratively. And, if we had pictures of each of these full of life, we might do some things differently.


      • DELL CLOVER June 3, 2015 / 5:02 am

        Yes, reading about the ones swept out to sea–both ways–brings immediate tears to my eyes. I just want ALL children to be protected–to thrive, that joy and potential not doused or diminished in any way, by anyone (or natural event). Life is Hard.


        • phylor June 4, 2015 / 5:26 am

          It certainly is. The dilemma is that children in the 3rd world struggle every day. We tend to see children in the developed nations as having an easier time. But children are abused (physically and sexually), victims of incest, go hungry, go homeless, are discriminated against, stereotyped, etc. I think we try not to see what’s in our own backyard, but at least the awareness level is growing.


          • DELL CLOVER June 4, 2015 / 5:30 am

            I hope it’s growing–I have a poem coming up fairly soon which addresses the frustration over seeming futility.


            • phylor June 4, 2015 / 10:37 am

              I look forward to reading it!


                • phylor June 4, 2015 / 3:58 pm

                  Well mine doesn’t end on a happy note!


                    • phylor June 4, 2015 / 9:30 pm

                      You bet! Dark days do have a tenancy to slip into what you write during them.


                    • DELL CLOVER June 4, 2015 / 9:32 pm

                      But we have plenty of Good company, so that’s a plus!


I love dialogue. Do you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s