My involvement with the sport of sepak takraw began in the mid-1990s. At that time my home city of Darwin hosted a biennial regional sports festival called the Arafura Games, in which teams from all over Australia and South East Asia competed in a whole range of sports, including sepak takraw. The first time I ever saw the game was during a school trip to the Arafura Games. When they told me we were going to watch people play volleyball with their feet, and that they turned backflips to spike, I assumed it was nonsense, until I watched it for myself.

It’s been a pretty rough week.

An earthquake in Nepal has killed thousands of people. Some estimates expect the death toll to be over 10,000. In Baltimore in the US, there has been rioting in the streets following a protest coinciding with the funeral of a young African-American who passed away in police custody. And this morning Australia woke to the news that Indonesia had enacted the death sentences of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan overnight. Whatever our opinions on the justice or otherwise of their sentence for drug smuggling, the lack of mercy on the part of the Indonesian criminal justice system, and ultimately on the part of their President Joko Widodo has left many Australians with a chill, if not a bad feeling in the pit of their stomachs.

Local theatre in Darwin is in a strange place right now. Thanks to the self-inflicted fade into complete irrelevance of the Darwin Theatre Company, local amateur actors have been left with not a lot to go on. We pretty much have to take the only option left.

So I’ve been married for about eight months now. Everyone’s finally got over the whole, “are you settling in okay?” routine, and they’ve finally gotten used to the idea of us acting as one social unit. Now everyone’s favourite question seems to be “How’s your kitchen going?” This question is almost universally directed at my wife, which I rather resent. I’m not sure whether it’s the flagrant implication that I’m some sort of patronising, patriarchal loser, or if it’s the casual (if coincidentally valid) assumption that I’m completely useless in the kitchen. Because as a modern man, it’s important for me to publicly acknowledge that when it comes ot the culinary arts, my wife is every bit as useless as I am.

It’s that time again. Time for this rapidly aging cynical writer and comedian to dust off the short shorts and attempt to mount a convincing argument that I’m some kind of athlete.

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