This article is part of the Eleven Stories from the Southeast written by Muhammad Sibawaihi, Otty Widasari and Manshur Zikri, published by Forum Lenteng in 2016. We re-upload it on the AKUMASSA website in the framework of the “Darivisual”.In the past, around 70s to 80s, long before the North Lombok Regency was established, there had been a society of people from different villages in Pemenang City. They had been all big fans of football. This society had been very solid. Their enthusiasm had been so big for that sport, that they had collected the money they had received from their own works, from the sale of coconuts, and so on, according to each other’s job. They had used the money to buy a piece of land. Then they had made that piece of land as a football field, which they had named Guntur Muda Square of Pemenang. Many inter-village competitions had been born on that field. The inter-village sentiment had then arisen, and there had been a lot of fight happened because of it. Ultimately, this action had reduced.
However, apparently, from one era to another, young people in the Pemenang City had still been crazy about football. Later, these young people wanted to reunite the old times’ spirit they always heard the story about. Their pride rose again. If in the past they had used the name of each village, this time was different. As new regency, the recent youth’s ambition was carrying the name of North Lombok Regency. In fact, there were several initiatives that tried to achieve a higher level, which was to unite every village on behalf of togetherness of residents of Pemenang.
With full confidence that Pemenang had a lot of quality talents in football, coupled with the spirit to show itself as the new regency, that longing was often discussed. The members were recruited. They participated in several local competitions. But somehow there had not been any more professional management and the full confidence of the stakeholder to support the dream as soon as possible.
Ahmad Saleh Tabibuddin, or Asta, a stage actor who often performed a monologue, met some youths who happened to be the initiators in reviving the football in Pemenang. Some of those who met Asta told him so enthusiastically about many things, from history to the latest news about the football phenomenon in Pemenang. Asta was indeed doing research for his art project at the time, also looking for a collaborator whom he would invite to do the monologue or dialogue in the framework of the theater. The story of the spirit of football in the past in Pemenang quite fascinated him. Asta liked to listen to those stories for hours. And apparently, in Pemenang he met many storytellers whom he imagined could be invited to collaborate with him in theater. But there was something that fascinated Asta more. It was the enthusiasm of the football itself until finally, Asta decided to invite young people of Pemenang to make a football competition again, just like the old times when the event had always been a magnet for residents of Pemenang. The idea to make a beach football competition, which they named the Bangsal Cup, then arose.
The stories and the memory of mass had been built through the tale from the older people, the tale that was told from generation to generation. Pemenang City never ran out of poems and stories. In the mosques, every day the active conversations about many things, from the invitation to do the daily prayer, recitation, and community service work shift, to the news about the Bangsal Cup matches filled the air all day long.
Bangsal Cup accommodated the longing, the longing for the coming of an initiative to realize the common goal. And this time, by not representing the name of the village, one by one, the football teams consisted of several athletes from various villages began to sign up. The inter-village sentiment became vague under another name. But all the people rejoiced and saw hope of continuation of the common dream in the coming years.
Asta was happy to actualize the theatrical method in this competition that would later become an annual event. Organically, Asta incorporated elements of theater into his collaboration event with the residents of Pemenang. Obviously, as a stage actor, he also knew the method to direct this event. Asta was aware that his stage now was the eastern seashore of Bangsal, the time was every afternoon for a full week, and there would be a spectacular show at the end of the competition. The final match would be held as the main show that would be held at the same time with the Bangsal Menggawe Folk Festival event, which was also part of the AKUMASSA Chronicle Art Project. Asta left the casts and the scenario of this show to the mechanism of the residents of Pemenang’s fondness for football as well as the progress of the competition. Some residents, whom Asta indeed met intensively during the research, were invited by him to be the commentators with him. At this point Asta incorporated the monologue method that he had undergone all this time. It was a show that understood the residents’ longing of football and Bangsal, which had been a beautiful place before tourism took it away from the residents.
The meetings between Asta and the youth and sports figures in Pemenang apparently were not just an occasion of the realization of Bangsal Cup, but they indirectly showed the hierarchical flow of the residents with the stakeholders in this small town near the sea. It was an open city, accepting differences and having minimum conflict, but having a very high humble culture, so that the matter of cooperation, support and coordination needs was not easily realized. The youths were reluctant to ask for support to the village administration if it was not initiated by a respected resident. Therefore, Asta went to see a resident who was a nationally certified referee, to represent them. Then after this professional referee and Asta had an initiative to facilitate the meeting between the young people, sports figures of Pemenang, and various other elements of the society, this common intention was connected. The village administration also gave support, along with the support for Bangsal Menggawe Folk Festival. There was even a special coordination meeting held by the regency officials who asked the various parties, such as the police, to help to smooth the organization of the event. Then Bangsal Cup still had to face the inter-village sentiment that seemed hard to solve all this time. The approach to the leading youth figure who was respected and who control the Bangsal area was done. All the problems were eventually resolved. From a team consisted of the district employees, a team consisted of the employees of a cottage in Bangsal, a team consisted of the boatmen, a team of the coachmen of cidomo (traditional horse-drawn carriage), to a religious harmony team that consisted of representatives of the three religious communities in Pemenang (Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism), all pursued the Bangsal Cup trophy eagerly.
So the Bangsal Cup then ran lively. It was really a luxury for all residents of the small town, a luxury the residents of other cities did not have: watching a football game with the blue sea in the background for a full week, while lying on the sand and enjoying the beach wind breeze just like the daily activities of a small town.
Asta, the monologue actor, got a valuable experience of collaboratively working process that he had done with the theater group before, and this time with ordinary people like himself, by freeing the aesthetics of art itself. The residents of Pemenang might get a new experience too, that one of the elements of art, which was the theater performing arts management, could become a managerial method to achieve a collective goal.
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