In our storytelling expertise class, we learn how to write a meaningful profile of our friends. My partner was Panharoth, a football player and sports enthusiast. I interviewed him to get him open up about his life, childhood and family, his passion with football and future goals. Storytelling is not just about telling the stories that we heard, but it is about how can we get deep stories from the people we are writing about. I learned how to use interviewing techniques that can help me, as a writer, connect to Panharoth and get all of his stories for the profile I am writing for him. After getting the stories, I worked on the profile by crafting it into a powerful flow that the reader can easily understand and take away from. Here is the final profile of Panharoth:
The Vigorous Boy Who Plays Hard
“Sports is about making Friendship, not Enemy”
Sopanharoth said, with a wide smile, radiating joy and passion when talking about one of his main inspirations in life.
On a September morning, Panharoth excitedly shared his experiences and stories about sports, from his childhood until now. As I sat down and began to talk about his experience in sports, enthusiasm and energy from him already proved his great passion for sports and connecting with new people. A sudden rush of energy ran through me seeing him so excited. As I asked him a few questions, his stories began to unfold.
Childhood and the Spark for Sport
We began to talk about his childhood. Panharoth looked up to the ceiling, mind wandering into the good old memories, trying to recall all the childish stories.
Panharoth did not change much from his childhood. His love for football and outdoor activities arose then, even if he did not notice it, and it only grows with him as he gets older.
Before sports brought him to his current journey, Panharoth was a little boy who liked to play with toys everyday with his younger brother. As a kid with many friends, he also liked to spend his time outside, sometimes playing games, or at other times, sports. But he said sport wasn’t what he really liked back then, because he was tired and most times were devoted to lessons in school and also from his home-schooling with his mom. He further recalled the adventures he had as a child, with his friends and family, revealing his biggest fear as a child which is spiritual ghost. We shared a grin as he continued the juvenile story of his. “You know back then, it was so silly. I was really really scared of ghosts.” –all while laughing, I continued jokingly, “are you still afraid now?” “No, no, no,” He replied with a smile.
Talking about inspiration in his childhood, his mom plays a really big role in his life, inspiring him to be curious as a child and always keep learning. He also got the love of football from his Grandfather, who is a person who has always liked sports like him, too.
The earliest time he remembered playing football was at his fourth grade in PE class. “It was my very first time, and I got really excited. I met a lot of cool people, made friends, and it inspired me to just continue.” Besides PE, his favorite class back then was Engineering, because he really liked building things, from all types of toys and legos. Panharoth is also very good at math, then and now. “I was also good at math, so I guess it is another one of my favorite class, too.”
“Sometimes, you play for the sake of fun times. But sometimes, you need to play for the championship, too. But with Respect, of course”
This is the wisdom of Panharoth when it comes to competitions. Competition is an important part of a footballer’s life, and Panharoth said excitedly that it is really enjoyable and fun to actually play for his passions.
To prepare for a competition, Panharoth always discusses with his team to come up with smart strategies. His tip to prepare is to sleep well to prepare for the energetic morning. “Just do it!” he said full of power.
On the morning of the competitions, there were always a mixture of feelings, nervous, afraid, excited. “However, when I am on the field, I just feel the power and I got all excited” Panharoth talked with a smile.
The Truest Spirits of Football and Sports
During a competition, the key to true championship is strong teamwork and flexibility. “If you see your friend struggle, go and help them. Guide them to the right position.”
He recalled a time when he got a cramp, and his friend and his competing players hurried to help him up. “When we got injuries, the two competing teams always help each other out.” Isn’t that the truest spirit of football?
I was curious about how he got so confident during competitions. Panharoth told me “the confidence comes from the love of football”
Looking Back on the Road
His most memorable competition was at Phnom Penh Crown. Although his team lost by 0, it was his friendliest competition ever. “They were really good at playing football, but they were really kind, too.” He recalled the opponent team’s kindness with fondness.
Life Changed. Thanks to Sports.
For Panharoth, life without sports is not complete, just like a singer without his voice and a drawer without his sights.
In the future, he wants to have a career which he is not sure of yet, and an ideal life with his family and sports.
Without football, he wouldn’t have met new people in his life, and wouldn’t be this happy. So thanks to sports, his life changed.