Sepak Takraw is a Southeast Asian sport that appears too hard for me to play. A rattan ball is volleyed over a raised net using any part of the body except the hands and arms. The name “Sepak Takraw” splits the difference between how Malaysians and Thais refer to the game.

The recording doesn’t sound like much on computer speakers, but with stereo separation (such as on headphones) the lateral motion of the volley is strongly pronounced. And the ball makes a cool noise when it rolls.

Players engage in all manner of flips and bicycle kicks, attacking the net to spike like volleyball players except with their bodies sideways or upside down to give the feet better position. This, of course, makes hitting the ball squarely a matter of greater coordination.

Takraw is a rarity in Thailand for being a very vocal game. Teammates shout to each other to coordinate their kicks, and opponents taunt each other good-naturedly. This particular match was played on a court next to several other courts – some for takraw, others for basketball, still others for regular volleyball. The basketball players, who pass selflessly in a way one doesn’t often see in pick-up games, are practically silent by comparison.

The takraw group wore squeaky, flat-bottomed canvas sneakers – school uniform standard. Two adults played against three students. I have no idea who won.

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