The Penalty by Ron Shears | Script Revolution

The Penalty

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



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African/Asian children pay the Penalty of living in a land mine infested country.
My short illustrates dramatically two different meanings of the word Penalty. Losing and winning. A powerful story of courage and determination, acted by African/Asian mine victims.

Imagine a game of a drawn soccer match played by school boys and girls in Africa. Twenty-two players and the ref are victims. All have one or two leg prostheses; some have lost arms and both. The win hangs on the last penalty shot, taken by Panyin- a girl. The goalkeeper is Nyack-a boy.

These children are the lucky victims, still alive and kicking - just. Can the Penalty Panyin has to take to win ease the pain of losing last time? Or will Nyack save her shot?

You and I cannot even grasp what it's like to have a limb blown off, or suffer the horrendously painful trauma of being a victim and disabled for life. This catastrophe does not stop their enthusiasm. Seeing on TV Africans playing for Europe's teams inspires them to try. They want to be like these heroes, playing for their country.

Young Panyin has to boot it so hard that if Nyack gets a hand on it, it'll be traveling so fast he can't hold it. It's only a soccer ball, and there is the goal. Her problem is this goalie.

Each is the team captain, and they know which the other's strongest and weakest side is. But don't bet on it. Is the shot good enough?
Panyin's team received the trophy! But she doesn't know who won that day? Of the twenty-two 12 year-olds involved in the game, twenty players have artificial replacements for both legs. Her twin brother – the goalie - and she had one leg each.
Panyin lost her left leg, Nyack his right. On that fateful day, five years ago as their Dad walked them to soccer training. Panyin was on her father's right, Nyack on his left.
Maybe, some will play for Africa one day, when we organize an International soccer competition for land mine victims. Young and old.

Submitted: September 12, 2020
Last Updated: October 26, 2020

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The Writer: Ron Shears

He was born in 1935 in Kent, England grew up in Bomb Alley during WW2. He served a 5-year apprenticeship as a Compositor Typographer. Met Patricia, an Art Student at age 17, married in 1957. They have a daughter, two son's eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He left a print after 11 years to start a roof tiling and slating business, eventually employing 52 trade's men. Nine years later, lost a fortune to bad debts when oil price increased 400% in four days. Builders large and small went broke, taking him with them. Some years later, he migrated to Australia. Broke, did building site laboring work to support the family., started writing to keep sane, never showed anyone for... Go to bio

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