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November 27, 2012

Those Plucky Kenyans Are Back!

Remember this past summer when we were all introduced to a group of Kenyan orphans re-creating Bill Buckner's blunder from Game Six of the 1986 World Series?

If not...take another look.

The video was created by Dan Freiman and has racked up quite a nice little number of views on YouTube.  So, yeah, naturally...dude is back with a new take on an a memorable sports highlight.

I had a chance to catch up with Freiman and find out what led him pick Game Six and what we might be able to expect next.

HOVG:  Alright...I've gotta know.  What possesses you to get a group of these kids together and (A) not only make a video but (B) re-create one of baseball's most iconic plays?  What was the process?

FREIMAN: (Laughs) The kids would always ask me to take them to the playing field that was a few miles away from the school. They would also continuously ask me to take photos and videos of them. So it was only natural to combine both of their requests! A fellow volunteer, Ben Vanderschelden, was filming me playing tennis pops (when you pop tennis balls really high and 40 kids try to catch it at once) with the neighborhood kids one day and I re-watched the video on my camera at night. I kept on re-watching it. I must have watched it 40 times. I still don’t know why I was so enamored with it because it was just me popping tennis balls to the kids. There was nothing special about it but I could not take my eyes off it. I woke up the next morning and this simple video was still on my mind as I walked to orphanage. So I knew I had to make another one. I’m really not sure exactly what my train of thought was at the time, but once I reached the orphanage that morning I was set on re-enacting a famous sports play. I talked myself out of it fairly quickly, but then thought back to my childhood when we would re-enact Joe Carter’s World Series winning home run at recess. That re-assured me that it would be a fun activity to do with the kids. I gave them a few options on my laptop to choose from and they chose the Buckner play.
HOVG:  What was the attitude of the kids making the video?  Had any of them even heard of baseball...much less the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox or the play they were re-creating?

FREIMAN: They had fun doing it. They loved the pileup at the plate to end the game, and kept asking to re-shoot it. They could recognize the game of baseball by sight, but none knew any of the rules. A couple head heard of the Yankees. None knew about the Mets or Red Sox.

HOVG: When did you know you were on to something? I mean, instantly the video started popping up all over the blogosphere. What did you think was going to happen when you were making the video?

FREIMAN: The clips looked great when I shot them, but it wasn’t until my brother Dave edited them for me and put the Vin Scully audio beneath it, that I realized how cool it was. He sent me the copy so I could leave with the kids and I also uploaded it to YouTube so I could send to my friends back home. After 10,000 views I knew I was onto something, but I never anticipated it while I was originally shooting it.

HOVG: Naturally, you had to make another video and this time, you're taking on one of the most remembered plays of the last 25 years...Larry Bird's legendary steal and deal to Dennis Johnson in the 1987 NBA Playoffs. Why that play?

FREIMAN: For starters, I knew the second video was going to be entirely for charity. More specifically, it was to be a fundraising initiative that would raise money for the orphanage to purchase a field close by the school. So in order for the video to appeal to the masses it needed to be a play that was well-known and had a legendary play-call. The only way it was feasible to involve all of the children was if we did at the orphanage, rather than the park a few miles away. So basketball was the only option, since there were 2 nets present (that had slanted backboards and deformed rims). We needed a play that was easy for the kids to replicate, so that took any jumpshot or dunk out of the equation. After narrowing it down, Bird’s steal and dish was an obvious choice.

HOVG: So what's next? And, more can someone help out?

FREIMAN: If we’re able to raise $56,000 the orphanage will be able to purchase a playing field just down the street. In less then five days after releasing the current video, we’ve raised over $7,000. If we reach that goal you can expect the next one to be shot on that field. Currently they don’t have a safe way to access a field. The kids play a game at recess that consists of hopscotch and rock kicking. That’s the extent of their recreation. There’s really no room for them to run around, let alone play soccer. Anyone can help by donating at this site. But if someone really really wants to help, they can share this video with as many people as possible.

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