Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You Little Sportsman, Let’s Play Ball

And this time, you all get the reference! If you’re my real friend.

The past two weeks have seen me attend more international sporting events; wave more so-called “thundersticks” (also, according to Wikipedia, sometimes called “cheerstix”, “bangers”, or “bambams”, all of which manage to hit the Necker cube euphemism sweet spot (a term which I just coined but which will likely be of use to future Urban Dictionary analysts and historians) of being both plausible youth slang for a sex act and a brand of snack food); yell more cheers in Thai, Korean, and Chinese; and make more confident predictions about the outcomes of games whose rules I do not understand than at any other time in my sweet young life of 22 years up to this point.

I am speaking of course of my experience these past two weeks as a spectator in Guangzhou Asian Games. And what a specta-tacular time it was.

I have lots of photos and videos to share, but those will be coming your way in the next few days as I attempt to process my excitement/sort the dozens of photos I accidentally took of my hand. For tonight, I want to share 25 seconds of my favorite sport from the games: Sepak Takraw.

I have several things to say about Sepak Takraw:

  1. It is like volleyball, but with your feet.
  2. Thai people are very good at it.
  3. It is the craziest fucking thing I have ever seen.

In the video below, you should pay attention to a few things. You should note how high these men can kick. You should also note that some of them do complete flips as they kick the ball over the net. Any sport in which the average game contains a non-zero number of complete flips is AOK with me.

There’s also one difference between this sport and American little league, over and above the fact that it is a volleyball-like game played with one’s feet. And that is that, in American little league, laughing, pointing, and doing the “tippie-toes dance” when you score against the other team is actively discouraged. In Sepak Takraw, that does not appear to be the case, based on the performance visible at the end of this video, which happened after every. single. point.