Editorial – The Loneliness of The Long-Distance Bowler
Miranda July – The Swim Team
Barry Dickins – The Boot
Jim Shepard – Batting Against Castro
Ellen van Neerven – Youth
Rules for Play – Nicki Bloom
The Longest Penalty Ever – Osvaldo Soriano
The Farmer – Harriet McKnight
Buoyancy – Caitlin Tyler
The Coming of Gowf – P. G. Wodehouse
Terry Pratchett once wrote, "The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it's not just about football."
In this issue, a young woman gives a ragtag bunch of elderly people swimming lessons in a town without a pool, golf is invented in the Kingdom of Oom; people race in gumboots, try to impress their fathers in the colossal mud of Heidelberg; people grow up and grow bold; and Fidel Castro himself strides onto the field in the midst of flying burritos and hullaballoo.
The Loneliness of the Long-distance Bowler – Editorial by Robert Skinner
" ... My dad was generally unimpressed with the world of sports. As a kid his passions were music, electronics, and keeping chooks. That made you a non-entity in those days, if you couldn't also play football or cricket. At school he designed and built a steam-powered volcano that shot a boiled egg thirty metres into the air. He got a detention for his efforts, and the high school gave a Special Achievement Award to the kid who caught the egg on the way down. Which is pretty much Australia to a tee, and it's fair to say my dad harboured some resentment about the whole thing... "
The Swim Team by Miranda July
" This is the story I wouldn't tell you when I was your girlfriend. You kept asking and asking, and your guess were so lurid and specific. Was I a kept woman? Was Belvedere like Nevada, where prostitution is legal? Was I naked for the entire year? The reality began to seem barren. And in time I realized that if the truth felt empty, then I probably would not be your girlfriend much longer. "
The Boot by Barry Dickins
"... Our indefatigable coach Donny Pearce gathered us into a huddle and I was glad of that as it kept me warm as toast there for a second. He assured us that we were braver than they were and reminded us of how ugly they were and how it might be beneficial to concuss some of them. "
Batting Against Castro by Jim Shepard
"We were on a winner. Which is why politics, like it always does, had to stick its nose in. The president for our tropical
paradise was a guy named Batista, who was not well liked. This we could tell because when we said his name our teammates would repeat it and then spit on the ground or our feet. We decided to go easy on the political side of things and keep mum of the subject of our opinions, which we mostly didn’t have.
Ericksson threatened periodically to get us all into trouble or worse, a discussion, except his Spanish didn’t always hold up, and the first time he tried to talk politics everyone agreed with what he was saying and then brought him a bedpan. "
Youth by Ellen van Neerven
" I watch him slip a Valium in his mouth as he enters the doorway. There’s young boys, no more than fourteen, packing. No customers. I look at the fruit. I wouldn’t mind a banana, but they look sad. "
Rules of Play by Nicki Bloom
" It’s easy. You can do this. You’re fifteen years old. You’ve played games your entire life. And this is a game. It’s fun, it’s really fun. All games are fun. Definition: Game/ɡeɪm/noun An activity that one engages in for amusement. See? "
The Longest Penalty Ever by Osvaldo Soriano
" The police chief, with a lantern, suspended the game by firing a gunshot into the air. That night the military commander declared a state of emergency, or something like that, and called in a train to carry off anyone from the town that didn’t look like they lived there. "
The Farmer by Harriet McKnight
" In 1983, Cliff Young was sixty-one years old. He lived with his mother on a potato farm outside Beechworth. He was a vegetarian, a teetotaler. Born and bred in the bush. He trained in gumboots, chasing dairy cows, rounding up sheep. "
The Coming of Gowf by P. G. Wodehouse
" After we had sent in our card and waited for a few hours in the marbled ante-room, a bell rang and the major-domo, parting the priceless curtains, ushered us in to where the editor sat writing at his desk. We advanced on all fours, knocking our head reverently on the Aubusson carpet.
‘Well?’ he said at length, laying down his jewelled pen.
‘We just looked in,’ we said, humbly, ‘to ask if it would be all right if we sent you an historical story.’
‘The public does not want historical stories,’ he said, frowning coldly.
‘Ah, but the public hasn’t seen one of ours!’ we replied.
The editor placed a cigarette in a holder presented to him by a reigning monarch, and lit it with a match from a golden box, the gift of the millionaire president of the Amalgamated League of Working Plumbers.
‘What this magazine requires,’ he said, ‘is red-blooded, one-hundred-per-cent dynamic stuff, palpitating with warm human interest and containing a strong, poignant love-motive.’
‘That,’ we replied, ‘is us all over, Mabel.’
‘What I need at the moment, however, is a golf story.’
‘By a singular coincidence, ours is a golf story.’
‘Ha! say you so?’ said the editor, a flicker of interest passing over his finely-chiselled features. ‘Then you may let me see it.’
He kicked us in the face, and we withdrew. "