October 31, 2006

Petanque in Burlington, VT

Hot news from Vermont:
The Burlington Bocce and Petanque Club, newly formed, is working actively with the City to develop bocce/petanque courts at Calahan Park.

Burlington Free Press - 30 Oct
Seven Days - Oct 4
Burlington Boules Club (one of the founders)

Although we all know that there are more differences between pétanque and bocce than what the casual onlooker will notice, I think it's a laudable development. As long as the courts are wide enough both can well be played on the same surface and it is probably a lot easier to convince a Parks Department to cater to both games than to one exclusively.

Calahan Park on Google
(The resolution of this map is awesome. A good thing they're not playing poker).

Questions about Canada

Let me start off by stressing that I am very grateful to the Canadian tourists in the US, because they have been instrumental in teaching pétanque to lots of Americans.

But I have a problem with them all the same:
somehow they are convinced that only the heaviest boules are good enough. We are getting more and more calls from folks, mainly in Florida, who want 750 grams and up (preferably 800 grams!) because that's what their Canadian teachers recommend.
Knowing that most champions play with 690 to 730 I wonder where this idea comes from.

Secondly they are suggesting that you should not buy more than two boules, because you will never use the third one. Canada being the only country in the world - as far as I know - where (some) competition boules are sold in pairs.
So what do you do in doubles?

Thirdly: that plain boules are no good.
Yet one out of two boules in France is plain.

Needless to say, this is becoming a headache from an inventory point of view. We love to please everyone and will soon have close to 500 different weight/diameter/pattern/alloy combinations on hand and yet...

Can anyone explain why these misconceptions - in my humble opinion - exist in Canada?

October 30, 2006

Anyone in Casa Grande AZ?

Wade & Gail in Casa Grande, Arizona are looking for other players.
They used to play a lot in Sebring, Florida.

Call 520-876-5270 or e-mail BUCKO6@aol.com.

There is certainly no shortage of compacted sand and dust!

October 29, 2006

Petanque in Winston-Salem (2)

Bright sunshine, snacks and cool drinks, and 10 eager players: just what we needed for another enjoyable afternoon.
The City Parks Department finished up the courts this past week - now 6 in all.
Gary, the ideal tournament director, had brought his magic dice to compose the teams.
Sue performed intense dance steps after each good throw, thus quite frequently!
Bob provided excellent background music, from blues to country, to 80's rock. Who knows what else he has in his vintage VW van!
An airport cab delivered Josh direct from GSO so he wouldn't miss out.
Todd & Jenn who happened to pass by joined in and did extremely well from the first throw. Actually if not for Todd yours truly would have been creamed.
Lovely to see Adrian (10) teaming up with Gary (..) - average team age 29!

Weather permitting we're all on again for Sunday Nov 5, at 1:30pm, at the same place.

October 22, 2006

Update on Salt Like City

A message from Michael:
Thanks again for getting me in touch with Rory, we played our first few games yesterday. We had 10 people at our first event and will continue playing until the snow starts falling.
Eventually , we would like to start a club here in Salt Lake City.

This shows again that there is no lack of players in our country. They just don't know each other -- yet. Long live the internet.

Petanque in Winston-Salem

Last week Bob had told us about some nice bocce courts at Miller Park. He did not exaggerate one bit. Wide enough and a good surface.
In a convenient location, with lots of trees and a couple of benches. They are sometimes used during weekdays but on weekends there's hardly anyone.
The city is actually redoing the side boards and revamping the 4 courts.

Even the area around the bocce courts is adequate for pétanque and - if ever there's a crowd - provides enough room for 8 concurrent games or 48 players in total.
The adjacent 24 horsehoe pits even have bleachers and floodlights!

On Sunday Oct 29 at 1:30 pm we will continue where we left off in Lexington last week.
The more, the merrier! It's the first day of Standard Time so it will be dark by 5pm.

For easy directions here's the Google Maps link.

October 21, 2006

Boules for smaller hands

We will soon be stocking an even wider variety of competition boules, including JB Boules.

A first shipment has already arrived, specifically for players with smaller hands - 70.5 mm diameter.

JB "compét junior"

October 20, 2006

Old boules

Herbert Wegner has the most interesting, complete ànd multilingual site about "boules cloutées" (nail studded boules), the forefathers of todays' pétanque boules.
The wooden core made them relatively light, but the nails gave them a hard shell and prevented them from breaking up.
He describes the history, different makes and varieties.
An online museum so to speak.

Boules cloutées (click on the British flag)

October 19, 2006

Petanque online game

France's TV station TF1 has a nice online petanque game.
When it opens, just click on "ZOU". Then pull the boule on the players' back.
César (your computer opponent) plays as if he's been commuting to the table on the left...
Fun for a rainy evening!

Play the game (you need to have Flash installed).

October 18, 2006

WC Thailand 2007

And here's the link to the brand new website of the Pattaya Championships, in Thai and in English.

Some pages are still under construction, but it already looks good!


Remember that with aroound 26,000 registered players Thailand is listed as the third largest petanque country, after France and Spain. Thanks a.o. to HRH Princess Srinagarindra, who popularized the game and played herself until well in her nineties.

World Championship Qualifiers in FL

The next World Championships will be held in Pattaya, Thailand from Nov 19 to 23 2007.

The annual tournament to decide which team will represent the USA will take place at the Boca Petanque 2000 Club in Delray Beach, Florida this coming Nov 11 & 12.

If you are in the area, come and watch some of the top class players in our country!

October 16, 2006

Junior tournament in Portland, OR

La Boule Rose in Portland organized their first competition for juniors on October 1st.
Certainly a good example to be followed!

John Prince wrote this full report with more pictures.

Petanque in Alaska

An interesting story from Mary in Anchorage. Thanks for sharing it!

Bonjour! I’m attaching a few photos from our petanque game from earlier this summer in Anchorage, Alaska. For several of us it was our first time playing. We were introduced to the game by Michel, a transplanted Francais. What makes these photos unusual is that we were playing in a field on the periphery of which were two baby moose; twins, presumably. We never did see their mother and assume she must’ve have been killed or died. They seemed to enjoy staying a certain distance from us because they went away for awhile, then returned and stayed the same distance from us no matter where we moved. When we packed up to leave they also took leave!

Mary Langdon

Salt Lake City, anyone?

Michael Kronenberg is looking for other players in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.

E-mail: mikekrobe@msn.com
or call him at (801)360-6207

Petanque in Chicago

An excellent article about the Midwest Tournament on Sept 23.
This will certainly help Dan and his friends hook up with other players.
Way to go Chicago Petanque Club!

(for the insiders: did you notice the tournament winners are from Antwerp :-) !!

October 15, 2006

Petanque in Lexington, NC

Gary & Shirley discovered pétanque while RV'ing in Florida two years ago, got hooked and built one of the most beautiful courts I have ever seen, just outside Lexington. They heard of our move and - surprise! - invited me for a get together with others we have been corresponding with on the internet.
What a way to spend my first Sunday in NC!!
Excellent surface (with a touch of crushed oyster shell), a gorgeous setting overlooking rolling hills, scoreboard, the right amount of shade, flood lights, an antique galvanized tub to cool drinks, ball racks, you name it - it's there.
Not to mention the other friendly folks: Christine, Judy, David, Bob & Josh.
We were 8 enthusiasts today, and are hoping for a couple more on a next round in Winston-Salem on Sunday Oct 29.

Petanque at McCormick Place

At the end of September, a week before the move, we animated a 'mini-boulodrome' in Chicago, for Maison de la France, the French Government Tourist Office.
Thousands of travel professionals visit the ITME Fair every year, and our booth attracted many curious visitors. Such as the dance groups from Fiji and New Zealand, as well as a certain Jim from Iowa whose skills were unbelievable for a first timer.
Of course we made everyone give it a try and stressed the potential of pétanque as an ice breaker for groups and meetings.

Many thanks go to Anouk, our graceful and friendly host, and Joe and Denise from the Michigan Petanque Club who came to assist.

We've moved !

Finally... blogging again.
After weeks of packing, logistics planning, flying around, and sleepless nights, we have arrived at our new location: Greensboro, North Carolina.
18 hours in the U-Haul truck with desks, computers, files and the remaining inventory. And a new load of boules from France in a container via Marseille and Charleston.
A lot of unpacking and tidying up remains to be done, but we have started shipping out and catching up.
Those are the moments I wish we were in the ping-pong ball business.

All is well that ends well, and now we are ready for a new beginning.