To edit an edition of Snakeskin is an honour. To choose a subject close to my heart is a pleasure: sport.

Here, in Australia, sport is high on the agenda at the best of times, but right now we are in the closing days of the Olympic Games in Sydney. We wake, eat and sleep sport at the moment, and only a few killjoys complain.

New heroes pop up everyday, and new stories of intense courage and teamwork. I say 'a subject close to my heart' as a double entendre - without exercise our heart muscles wither early. But I am no sportsman. I sit in the audience where the crowd's behaviour often distracts me from the game - Aussie rules football, cricket, basketball, or what. I have one champion cricketer son, so I have seen every little grass patch around this town pretending to be an oval since he was six. Parents of players should win medals, too, for the hours they put in.

Poetry and sport? There's a lot of training for both ... Imagine all the pages filled with words - sprints, long distance, hurdles, dressage - all the words in their wondrous movements, with their muscles flexed between meaning and image. And then the main event: a thought comes, and all the hours of discipline and experiment come to fruition - a performance, a poem on the mat, like a lyrical gymnast doing her routine.

The poems that follow often use sport as a metaphor; some mix sport and other pleasures creating a personal tension like a diver doing a double twist with pike simply for its degree of difficulty. All are entertaining - perhaps a peek into the training room of the poet, or an appraisal of a
national hero.

I hope you enjoy Snakeskin's own festival of sport: no medals will be awarded, but all the talent on display is prized and appreciated.

Andrew Burke

If you've any comments on this editorial, or on the issue as a whole, Andrew Burke would be pleased to hear from you.

George Simmers (Snakeskin's editorial supremo) writes:

Many thanks to Andrew Burke for editing this month's issue. Like a typical sports spectator, I've spent the month lounging fatly on my sofa, lager in hand, cheering him on while he's done all the work.
Personally I'm a sportophobe (have refused to take part in any organised games since I discovered a way to dodge rugby lessons at age 14). So it's been doubly fascinating to watch a stranger from the other side of the globe, with interests far from mine, taking over the editorial chair. I'm still mulling over the interesting range of pieces he's chosen. Maybe I'll write a review of the collection in next month's issue...

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