May 29, 2006

Petanque... priceless

A nice article appeared today about petanque on - MasterCard's website about new trends and lifestyles. We're very happy they interviewed Mr Midwest Petanque, our dear friend Joe who knows how to explain petanque in a nutshell. He's done it a billion times, at last count.

The article links to our Clubs in the USA page. Any club or group that's not on the list as yet, do let us know. We'll even make a one page presentation for your club, with pleasure (and for free), like we did for Seattle, Boca and Menlo Park until they have their own website.
We cannot stress enough how important it is for groups/clubs to advertise when and where you get together so anyone can just drive by and have a look before deciding if petanque is something he or she would enjoy.

Thank you to the people of MasterCard.

May 25, 2006

Kids in Provence

Six 10-year olds enjoying a game.
The different typical playing styles, and mannerisms are already clearly visible.

American petanque in Provence (6)

A busy week!
I played with a delightful family from Colorado on an extensive holiday in Provence, and several groups of bikers and hikers. Close to 100 people in all.

What is it about this game? Wherever people come from, whatever their age or background, each time at least one in two gets into it really fast.
I have also noted that golfers are quick learners. They are used to judge distances, to develop a consistent swing and - essential when putting as well - to study the bumps and dimples in the terrain before playing.

Judging by the number of folks who asked me for details about building a court at home it was another good week for petanque in America.

Tools of the trade

Every profession has its tools.

The funniest part is when the teachers of my kids ask:
"What does your dad do for a living?"
"Il joue aux boules!"

That's how come every spring I lend several of these boules bags to the elementary school of our village. So they can train for the annual competition in June: elementary school vs the retirement home.
A wonderful concept the principal came up with, and I'll post a photo report when it happens.

May 22, 2006

American petanque in Provence (5)

Saturday evening.. a quiet side alley in St Rémy de Provence.
Don't be fooled by the peaceful demeanor at first sight. Here we were just warming up.
Minutes later the competition became fierce. The score went from 2/0 to 2/3, to 4/3, to 4/5, etc..
No time for more pictures: I even had to take out the compass to settle millimeter spreads!
The laughing and cheering was contagious. I'm sure the neighbors wondered what on earth was going on! An unforgettable evening.

St Supery, Napa Valley, CA

St. Supery Winery organized a first Petanque tournament during their wine club member “Spring Fling” on May 6th.

Sixty guests teamed up in threes to compete for, what else, wine prizes!
What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, isn't it?

May 19, 2006

American petanque in Provence (4)

Last night I headed west to a beautiful chateau close to Avignon, to meet with a group from many different states, 14 eager players in all.
A bit of rain didn't stop the party: we just headed inside the 18th century "salons" - with chandeliers the size of hot air balloons - for a drink and a chat.
The front yard in this location has quite coarse gravel which worked wonders: as soon as the rain stopped we could play again: no muddy boules, no wiping hands.
For the petanque purists who will no doubt count the amount of boules on the picture: when teaching larger groups I bend the rules a bit and give each team 8, or even 10 boules. That way everyone gets to play.
Some of the participants from NY promised they would join us at BarTabac in Brooklyn on July 16. Vinnie, don't forget!

A new court in Santa Fe, NM

Our friend Lew thought it was high time to build his own terrain in his backyard in Santa Fe.

Here's his report and pictures.
Thanks a lot, Lew, for sharing these.

It took about 18 tons of crusher fines ($275), 5 hours of work with a bobcat ($325), and about $270 of pressure treated lumber, 4 by 4 and 4 by 6 all 8 feet in length.
I bought some pikes and nails and a battery driven drill for the 3/8 inch by 12 inch spikes. So altogether about $950, and two weekends.
We are having lots of fun, and of course I get to practice more. We have fun pick up games in the afternoon and evening.
At the moment it is a hard surface, with the balls having a long roll. As the small stones work their way to the top it will be different I am sure.

American petanque in Provence (3)

Another late afternoon of fun with young folks fom NY and NJ.

In the second picture, in the background, you can see one of Lance Armstrong's favorite hangouts, the Mont Ventoux.

May 14, 2006

American petanque in Provence (2)

I took another group of bikers to Maillane, a small village where the village petanque court is next to a quiet canal with a water wheel.
Ladies won 13 to 12 against the guys. No pics of us playing, but have a look at the improvised picnic!

May 13, 2006

American petanque in Provence (1)

The tourist season in Provence is in full swing.

This week I started with my annual petanque sessions. The first group was a lovely bunch of students from UK - University of Kentucky in Lexington KY. They caught on very fast and we had a lot of competitive fun. As you can see, some even rushed out of the shower to join in!

They promised they would look up the website of our friends at LSU for inspiration.
Anything we can do to get a college league going, we're on.

Petanque in Harwich, MA

Squinting into the bright mid-afternoon sun, Harwich resident Francois Marin spoke warmly last Thursday about the sport he loves and why he wanted to share it with the community.

"Petanque is such a fantastic sport," said the 69-year-old native Frenchman, who opened the first Au Bon Pain restaurant. "It requires no particular skill and can be played by anyone, anywhere. It’s a great way to take advantage of nice weather like we have today, get to know people in the community and build friendships."
Read more in the Harwich Oracle

We also know of a petanque group in P'town and there are several people who have their own courts in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

May 9, 2006

Petanque in Dallas, Oregon

Ken from Dallas OR sent us these excellent images of his backyard terrain.
50 ft long, more than adequate for those who like a long game.
Look at the creative score display!
Since his pics were very high resolution, we just couldn't help but zoom in, and you'll discover small boules racks at each end, plus what seems to be a dedicated spot for drinks to come...
Petanque players all over have a knack for keeping things organized.

(click for larger images)

Petanque T-shirts, mugs, etc..

The people from the Midwest not only play well, they also have a few very creative spirits in their midst.

And you can order their creations right from this site.

First Chicago Tournament

On Sunday May 7 the Chicago Petanque Club held their first ever official tournament, assisted by Joe and Lindsey from the Michigan Petanque Club.

In a beautiful setting along Lake Michigan in the north end of Lincoln Park. It looks like there's enough space for hundreds of teams.

Full story and plenty pictures at the Midwest Petanque Alliance Blog.

Petanque in Prescott, Arizona

Some years ago, Paul Wheeler, the computer technician at Taylor Hicks Elementary in Prescott went to France, learned about petanque, ordered boules from us and introduced the game at his school.
Well, they're still going strong, and the Daily Courier just wrote an article about how Kathy Vallely, the school's PE teacher uses petanque during class.

Incidentally, Paul meanwhile has a court in his backyard and is looking for other players in the area. Interested parties, let us know!