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Please comment on my First sports article ever- Darfur United

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by kathleensu, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. kathleensu

    kathleensu New Member

    Very open to suggestions about this article I am preparing to send around (to blogs and editors?) later today:

    Darfur United: The Beautiful Game v. Genocide
    By K. Goldingay, Camp Djabal, Chad
    When a place was confirmed for football club Darfur United at the 2012 Viva World Cup, a refugee (yes that’s refugee, not referee) exclaimed: “Now we are part of the world.”
    The journey to the 2012 Viva World Cup in Iraqi, Kurdistan will be almost impossible for this refugee team to navigate. The Viva Cup was set up in 2006 for those who were excluded by definition or resources from FIFA, with the idea of demonstrating that marginalized peoples could exist through sports competition. Many of the teams admitted never get a chance at the Viva’s Nelson Mandela Trophy due to issues like funding or politics. Darfur’s obstacles include lack of funds, equipment, and food. Like the great Indian legend, Sailen Manna, a number of players expect to play barefooted, enduring pain and injury with grace and pride.
    Darfur United is in the midst of running three days of trials to choose a team. After surviving ‘scorched earth’ genocidal attacks perpetrated on their villages by the government of Sudan, players like Sulieman Adam Borma cling to dreams of restored dignity as inspiration for their efforts.
    Over 280,000 Darfuri refugees languish in twelve UNHCR camps in Eastern Chad, some have waited over nine years for the kind of security and justice that will allow them to return home in peace. This week a buoyant atmosphere was sparked in the camps as the strongest five soccer players from each of 12 camps were invited to six days of team trials. Hundreds of brightly dressed women and smiling children watch the trials with jubilation.
    On the second day, to avoid subjecting players to searing midday heat, volunteer coaches Brian Cleveland (British) and Mark Hodson (American) arrived before sunrise to set up the field.
    “The Darfur United hopefuls have not ceased to amaze me but while Coach Mark and I were setting up the field, we began to wonder where the players were, disappointed if they had slept in.” Coach Cleveland reported.
    “Seemingly out of nowhere, through a cloud of dust came the entire group of players in synchronized harmony, running to the field from their two base camp locations. They then proceeded to run in unison around the field for ten minutes moving and clapping with a symphonic rhythm that took the breath away.” Coach Hodson continued.
    “It was like they had been playing together for weeks. Most of them just met yesterday…and they completely planned this (warm up drill) on their own.” Cleveland summarized.
    With only eight weeks to train for an international tournament and players from not only different camps but different tribes, the coaches consider this to be more than a good sign that a solid team was galvanizing; perhaps one that could even pull off the needed miracle.
    The attitude of the hopefuls at tryouts is that of solidarity for the game they love and for Darfur as heard in player Sulieman Adam Borma’s words: “I want the best players to go for Darfur. I hope Darfur United will be truth, not just a shirt, but to be united. But we need support, we are too far away. We hope from Darfur United a better life and freedom and to get back to our lands. If I never get a chance to go (play for the team), but my friend did, I would be happy.”
    Tomorrow final selections for fifteen players and five alternates will be announced. See DarfurUnited.com for trial news and results.
  2. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    This is a fantastic subject for a long takeout story. You're on to something with it, but it feels like you've only scratched the surface. There are all sorts of directions you could go with something like this. The event, itself, and the process of selecting the team are less important than the people trying out and their stories. It's what these people have endured that will make your story. I get a small sense of that from what you wrote, but with more detail and more reporting -- more talking to the players if that's possible -- you could really do something dramatic and impactful with this topic.
  3. kathleensu

    kathleensu New Member

    Thank-you for your suggestions. I will have longer player profiles as the tryouts wrap up. The volunteer coaches talked to every single hopeful today, all sixty of them, pouring out their hearts about skills and life ahead. I hope to write a series of articles that follows the team's pursuit of a showing at the Viva cup. I have no idea how long these articles should be to appeal to editors.
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I like this for what it is: an informative column. It lacks Writerly Aspirations, which isn't a bad thing. I would suggest lightening the load on some of your sentences. You use a lot of clauses that dampen the importance of things such as "surviving ‘scorched earth’ genocidal attacks perpetrated on their villages by the government of Sudan." Let me give those two paragraphs a (heavy-handed) edit, so you can see what I mean:

    Over three days of trials, Darfur United will select a team. These are survivors, all. They've faced scorched earth genocidal attacks on their villages from the Sudanese government. Now, players such as Sulieman Adam Borma attempt to restore their dignity on the pitch.

    More than 280,000 Darfuri refugees languish in twelve UN refugee camps in Eastern Chad. Some have waited more than nine years for the security to return home. Sixty — five from each camp — were invited to six days of team trials. Hundreds of brightly dressed women and smiling children watched on from the distance, a rare moment of jubilation.
  5. kathleensu

    kathleensu New Member

    Wow, I can see how this style is much easier to read, and to absorb. Thanks.
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