A game of football – one language – Reggie Ismailov

My name is Reggie Ismailov and I am from Bulgaria. I am a volunteer in Team for Youth Association in Baia Mare, Romania, and I took part of the carnival of non-formal education that took place in Baia Mare in the period of 7-13 October.

A team of 10 volunteers from different parts of the world prepared one method each in which we tried to promote the education one can gain in a non-formal environment. The carnival itself was a relative success, in my opinion. Local people knew about it and more or less, took part in it. We presented interesting events such as Forum theatre, Living Library, Street Animation, World Café, Open Space Technology, Photovoice, Invisible Theatre, Flashmobs etc. I enjoyed most of the methods I could see, and mostly of course, mine.

a-game-of-fotball-one-language-reggie-ismailov-tshirtsMy method was called social and educational games, for which, I chose a target group of children. I decided to organize a small football tournament in a school. The school is a primary school called “Ioan Slavici” and is in Tautii de Sus – a village near Baia Mare. Since I love playing football, I strongly believe it can be educational in so many ways. So I went to the school, and talked to Nicoleta – one of the teachers there, and a mentor for some of the volunteers in our organization. She liked the idea and was very helpful, so we decided to organize a football game on the last day of the carnival in the school’s football field. When I played organized football, I always wondered how difficult the job of a referee is. So I decided I will be a referee, fulfilling a long-standing wish of mine.

I made sure that each of the children receives a gift. Because this time it was not about the result, but about the competition, the friendship and gentlemanly conduct – as I’ve always believed. When we arrived in the school, I saw a quite big group of people, anxiously waiting for something. At first, I didn’t think they are there for the football competition. Turned out, they were. Some of them were from the village, some from Baia Mare, or Baia Sprie – another town near Baia Mare. Almost 30 boys took part in the competition – more than I expected. That’s why I divided them in four teams instead of two. Four teams – seven kids in each. Most of their families have come with them to cheer them and support them during the games. So a brilliant atmosphere as you’d hope for a football game. And I was supposed to be the referee…I started to feel a little nervous about it. A difficult job it proved to be, indeed.

Everything went much better than I expected and hoped. After two exciting games, we had two finalists. And a dramatic final it was. It was decided by penalties, and thus we had a winner.

Reggie Ismailov