Daniel Freiman produced two of the most original viral sports videos that appeared on YouTube in 2012, re-enacting both the Bill Buckner error from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series and Larry Bird's memorable steal against the Detroit Pistons in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals a year later.
Freiman's twist: He used young Kenyan orphans as the stars in each clip. For example, the infamous 12-year-old Samuel Gishohe, who had never heard of Larry Bird, the Celtics or even the NBA, filled in admirably for No. 33.
The videos combined for nearly 400,000 views and became a fundraising tool to create a playing field in a safe area near the Grace Care Orphanage in West Nairobi, Kenya, where Freiman had worked as a volunteer. They have helped to generate more than $35,000 in donations, enough to put a deposit down on the land needed to create this field of many dreams.
Freiman never heard from Buckner. Nor did he hear from Bird or anyone else involved in that classic Pistons-Celtics showdown. But his efforts have made Freiman a finalist for the International Volunteer HQ Volunteer of the Year award, proving that there can be some value in social media virility. The award carries with it a $5,000 donation to the winner's charity. Voting continues online until March 15 at www.volunteerhq.org, and all 10 finalists are no doubt equally deserving.
— IVHQ (@ivhq) March 6, 2013
"Winning the award would do wonders for the orphanage. It would simply make their dreams of owning a field that much more attainable," Freiman told Playbook on Thursday.
Freiman is an MBA candidate at Toronto's Ryerson University. "With a new field nearby in a safe area, more re-enactment videos could be filmed and used to fundraise for other causes," he said.
These videos began as simply a fun, teaching activity for the children Freiman was working with and "snowballed into an international fundraising campaign."
Freiman encourages would-be volunteers to both "view volunteering as a learning experience" and "bring their skills they possess from home and use them in a positive manner to influence the developing communities," even if they're not trying to replicate a memorable sports moment.
And what's next after the field is built?
"I will head back for a few weeks and make new videos. I'm thinking the Cal/Stanford band on the field play," he said.
Kids, don't pick "trombone player" at audition.