I know next to nothing about sport. At school competitions, I was the freckly redhead hiding in the shade with a string of green stars on her score sheet (green = ‘not good’, as in ‘last place’). I’d throw a shot-put a full arm’s length and my one attempt at javelin gave me a bruise on the back of my head. I was the kid who was picked last for a team, that kid who got winded by a flying softball, and who conjured fake periods to get out of swimming class.
But, even though I did my best to avoid playing/watching/engaging with sport, I remember with some fondness the mixed resonances of commentary and crowd issuing from the television of a weekend, as my father intermittently checked the AFL footy scores. Or when the Boxing Day Test provided a pacifying background distraction for an otherwise tense extended family barbeque. And I feel something—comfort? excitement?—in my belly when I walk past a pub during World Cup season to hear the rise and fall of ‘eeeyyeeeah’ and ‘ooohhhhh’, as busy screens relay sweat and heat from across the globe.
A good sports-poem can rouse in me similar feelings, especially when poets play with terms and situations that I haven’t the foggiest about—words become rhythms, cryptic markers of a game I watch from beyond the sidelines. It is exciting to learn more about a sport, how to flex its verbs and flaunt its idiom, through poetry. If only I’d discovered this method earlier!
Thank you to the Rabbit team for pulling together a great issue, with a special welcome to Amelia Dale as our Interviews Editor. Many thanks also to our guest poetry editor for this issue, Liam Ferney—it was reading Liam’s own swift and punchy poems that sparked the idea for a Sports Rabbit in the first place. And a big thank you to Creative Victoria, whose funding will keep us alive and kicking into 2019.
—Jessica L. Wilkinson