Saturday, August 29, 2009
Takraw in Portland
It was a great day in the Northwest today and I was introduced to a sport that I was unaware of until I accompanied my wife and her friend Ben, to a small Buddhist temple in Portland. The occasion was an open market where Asian food products are sold. It also happened to be the location of a Takraw tournament. I never heard of it either but I am now a fan This sport has been around Southeast Asia, since the 15th century. I have never seen anything like it. Each team has three players that do battle with a hollow woven ball about the size of a cantaloupe. The teams are divided by a net not unlike a volleyball net but just a bit shorter. The object is to blast the ball over the net and onto the ground before your opponents can react. Now your saying well it sounds a lot like volleyball but there is a catch. You cannot use your hands. I watched with slight interest at first until I witnessed Takraw emerge as so many things. Volleyball, ballet, modern dance, ballet and martial arts. I was stunned. Although this round was won by the Portland team, everyone was amazed at the skill of the visitors. They were from Boise Idaho and more than once made the crowd gasp at the skill they displayed. The gentleman on the Boise team that was set up by his team mates to score defied gravity as you can see in these photos. He only failed to land on his feet twice during the match. Anyway, if you have a chance to view a Takraw event, don’t pass it up.