Conceived and brilliantly executed last year, the “Karan Pinto Annual Football Tournament 2010”(currently in it’s second year) to celebrate the birthday of one lucky 8 year old, was a huge success – where clever ideas, a little make believe and some true blue Indian ‘jugaad’ turned a football match into the party of a lifetime. Read on and enjoy!
The venue was a huge ground in the neighbourhood. It was big enough to have 2 matches played simultaneously – which is what happened. Some local kids from the ‘nukad’ were playing their own game of football. And a few younger boys from that group joined this party and were soon playing (and very well), in the Karan Pinto Tournament!
Most kids came dressed for the match in t-shirts with the names of their favourite players printed on them – Messie, Drogba and Anelka (thanks to the FIFA world cup). They warmed up and were split into four teams decided earlier, based on the strengths of each child. Team names were chosen by the boys – Awesome Arsenal, Chelsea Champs and the like. And the matches* began. The playing teams wore orange and red net vests over their t-shirts, so that they could recognise their team players. These were then worn by the other players when it was time for their matches.
* For more info, hold the mouse over the highlighted word.
Anaheeta*, the birthday boy’s mum, had requested Karan’s soccer camp coach to referee the match. He brought the goal posts (and the net vests) with him. He also pushed the boys to play their best game, so that the matches were competitive and exciting. Karan’s sister and her friends blew on their vuvuzelas, creating remarkable noise for four smallish spectators!
Everyone was involved. Anaheeta took the pictures, Karan’s dad, Deepak, cheered with the other boys from the sidelines and kept the momentum up, while running around for odds and ends. One of my favourite pictures from the party is him tying the shoe laces of one of the little fellows!
After the match for third spot, Awesome Arsenal and Barca Bombers faced off to play the finals. Amidst excited cheering (and booing!) the players put their all into the 15 minute game. The fitting finale: a thrilling penalty shoot-out (see picture above) where luckily for the birthday boy, his team won!
I was roped in to be chief guest and introduced with much fanfare to the excited boys. We handed out participation certificates and put a medal around each sweaty head. Four boys were awarded Golden Boot certificates (as man of the match), created by Anaheeta and printed at Kolor Kode*, Bangalore. The children were having a blast – instead of shouting ‘cheese’ for the group picture, they yelled, ‘KJP’, much to the delight of the (already uber cool) birthday boy.
Time to cut the cake! A homemade chocolate trophy, with a myriad hue of gems, cardboard handles and trick candles, that much to the children’s delight refused to go off, was cut and the eating began.
Each child was given a cardboard box (veg and non-veg options clearly packed away in separate bins), which held two small sandwiches, a few chicken or potato nuggets, a small packet of chips and a chocolate cup cake. Check out the cute stickers* on the box! Juice was on demand and filled up in a cooler with disposable glasses near by for the kids to help themselves, right through the party. The food and drinks were placed on foldable tables and the children ate on plastic chattais (mats). A big bin was perfect for dumping all the garbage in.
The kids got their return presents – colouring pencils and some candy in paper bags and went home tired and happy. The ‘Karan Pinto Football Tournament’ came to a satisfying end for all concerned. Here’s looking forward to more football, food and fun next year!
Anaheeta’s tips for birthdays
1. The kids don’t care about matching or co-ordinating every little thing. They want to have fun and the food must taste yummy – it doesn’t really matter how it’s all laid out! Anaheeta ruefully admits that once she decided to match the linen (she had just been gifted a beautiful strawberry table cloth), to the food. So she baked a strawberry short cake, made some strawberry tarts and other strawberry stuff. ‘No one ate anything! It was all just a waste of time’.
2. Check blogs for original, creative ideas as otherwise the internet can throw up a lot of regular, run-of-the-mill stuff. To find the blogs you’re looking for though, may take some time. Customise your search and don’t give up!