February 27, 2007

Petanque Police

Lest any of you out there think that we don't expect civil dis-obedience, BEWARE!
We take our game VERY seriously and expect that you WILL have a better than GOOD time playing with us,
that you WILL comport yourselves like the rowdy, argumentative crowd that we have come to expect,
that rules are meant to be fudged,
that cheating will NOT be tolerated by anyone other than ourselves,
that excuses for not showing up on time will be regarded as VERY French!

Chief of Petanque
Lakeway Petanqueplayers.org

Petanque in Frostproof, FL

Our friends in Frostproof (S. of Orlando, E. of Tampa) are in full swing again. This week is their annual tournament, with well over 100 contenders.
As you can see from the boules layout, there are more pointers than shooters, logical because most people started playing recently. The teams have been reduced to 3 players though and more courts are planned for next year.
Thanks to Dennie, who plays in central Michigan during the summer.

February 25, 2007

La Boule NY's new website

Recently Los Angeles, now also New York has revamped its website.
Kudos to Ernie.

It was already very up-to-date, but they changed the look, reorganized the photo albums, and added more interesting articles by one of their members, Alec Stone Sweet, about several competitions in which he participated. I'd suggest you print them out, relax and read an American insiders' view on European tournaments. With a glass of wine, why not?

La Boule NY

February 24, 2007

Teaching petanque to groups

We all know that petanque is very easy to learn. But when you have a group of people who have never played before and limited time, it helps to follow a few simple guidelines.

Here's a link to a one page tip sheet of some of the things I learned over the years. Whether it's adults or kids, they always want to play right away, and ask the same questions over and over.
The key is to keep it simple, make it fun and - indeed - play right away.

Teaching to groups & beginners

February 23, 2007

Petanque worldwide

FIPJP, the International Petanque Federation has recently updated its membership numbers - up to 2005.
You can see the list here.

I've been keeping track of these numbers for many years, and here are some milestones.

The number of member countries increased from 18 in 1978, to 30 in '88, 44 in '98 and now stands at 70. Even taking into account that there are several small countries it is a tremendous progress.

As to distribution: France represented 93% of the overall membership of 400,000 in 1978, and peaked to 491,000 (out of a worldwide 600,000) in 1990. But then started sliding, down to 375,000. Not all, but most of the slack has meanwhile been taken up by the other, and new countries, who went from 28,000 (in '78) to 185,000 in 2005, thus now 33 % of the total.
Some countries have experienced a huge growth, about which more later.

FIPJP is headquartered in Marseille, but it's Mr Jean Amiot of the Swedish Petanque Federation who has been meticulously updating the site from the start somewhere in the mid '90's. No stories, but lots of addresses, numbers and archives.

FIPJP website

February 22, 2007

Corporate gifts

It feels good to see that our efforts to rush those sets were appreciated at the other end.
I know where I'll eat next time around in the San Francisco Bay area!
And we hope some other companies will follow suit:
give a game that lasts, that's simple and that co-workers can play together.

February 19, 2007

Pagnol & boules

The other day I mentioned French writer Marcel Pagnol. The motion pictures Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon des Sources were based on his novels.
I just found the famous scene from his 1932 movie "Fanny", when a Marseille tram has to await the end of a boules game. The "capitaine" shoots and wins, but César - in colorful language loaded with hyperbole - disputes the win claiming he took one, if not two steps too many.
The rest of the 3:38 clip is another argument over who is the biggest liar in town but it ends in total harmony over a glass of pastis.

Update 2009-04-07
Clip was deleted. See new post.

February 18, 2007

Petanque in wineries

This picture is from an article in the Marlborough Express in New Zealand. Twelve wineries offer a bus tour around their vineyards for people to hop from one to another, taste, discover, and ... play petanque.
An excellent idea, because every vineyard has patches of dirt/gravel that work fine for an impromptu game.

We know of several wineries in California that have added petanque as an extra attraction and hope the idea catches on in other states.

Marlborough Express - 10 Feb 07

February 16, 2007

Le Bourget 1985

Besides Fernandel or Pagnol movies, you'll hardly find any old footage of petanque games.
But thanks to Hector Milesi's brother here are some fragments of the French triplettes championship in 1985. You'll see Hector ( in a wheelchair due to an accident in 1974) up against then hardly known Fazzino, now a top champion.

Although he has yet to win a major title, Hector Milesi (now 54) often reaches 1/4 and 1/2 finals in the nationals, and has played with all the big names.
There aren't many sports where such a handicap is not a handicap.
But isn't that how the game started in the first place?

An interview with Hector Milesi (in French)

February 15, 2007

Petanque in Los Angeles

With around 150 members LAPC is the largest club in the country.

Close to Hollywood it is also a hangout for several folks from the film & TV industry. And chefs, so gastronomy at their get-togethers is guaranteed!

LAPC was one of the very first clubs with their own website in the mid '90s. The site has just been completely revamped with lots of relevant info, including newsletter archives and nice pictures, like the above by pro Chuck Rapoport. Worth a visit.

We have a lot of loyal customers friends in the area as you can see on this map.
Thanks to Priority Mail our boules now get there in 48 hrs.

February 14, 2007

Heavy boules, or not?

Just got this note from José in South Florida:

When my friends tell me that they are buying 800 grams boules because they play better, I give them a copy of the attached picture. Hope that you'll enjoy it.

I couldn't agree more.

February 13, 2007

Petanque in Kansas City

Another group is forming in the middle of the country.

As soon as spring temperatures appear, they will start off in Southmoreland park, the site of the annual Shakespeare Festival.
Planned playing time: Sundays at 3pm.

Based on the number of addresses we have shipped boules to over the past years, there should be quite some interest.
For now you can can email us if you like to hook up.

Southmoreland Park on Google Maps

Great shots

Here's a compilation of awesome "carreaux", i.e. hitting an opponent boule in such a way that your own boule takes its place, or moves from there closer to the target ball. These players use backspin and sidespin like pool champions.
It explains why at that level, there are seldom more than 2 or 3 boules in the immediate vicinity of the target ball. Whoever is closest (even at say - 3ft) gets shot out. Being close can even be a disadvantage because someone else will just use your spot.

Hence the last boules are the most important ones: no wonder these players always know exactly who in the other team has how many boules left.

February 5, 2007

Seaside 2007

The lack of sunshine and the unusually arctic temperatures did not spoil the fun!
Twenty-six teams reported for duty on Saturday morning and play began at 9 am sharp.
Until Sunday night with a spectacular final: John Rolland & Roger Arpaia vs Freddy Cannesse & Juan Garcia. With car headlights to illuminate the court, and kerosene stoves to keep the public warm (thanks to the Tallahassee delegation!).
Tied 12/12, Roger shot the pig, but then Freddy & Juan won the ultimate 13th point, with the very last boule, in a match all present will remember for years to come.

It was great to see the many friends of the Kiss the Pig club again. With their ever warm welcome in a town made for petanque (we played on parking lots throughout) we all sure hope they'll do it again next year.

The FPUSA and Midwest blogs will certainly have lots of pictures and complete results as soon as their bloggers get home. Below already some impressions and - of course - the winners.

February 2, 2007

Distances to Seaside

Several people are driving right now to Seaside.
Joe just called me from the road.
The distances are truly amazing:
from Miami (Juan & Co): 622 miles - 9 hrs 20 min
from Detroit (Joe & Co): 968 miles - 16 hrs 88 min
I'll be doing 642 miles - 10 hrs 55 min

Below are our 3 itineraries.
All of this for a pétanque tournament? The prizes (if you win, that is) will hardly cover gas.
It does show how deranged determined we are ...
It would be worthwhile putting those distances on a Europe map and see where you end up!

February 1, 2007

International shipping

Sometimes it's good to stay up late.. Just got a phone call from a hotel in Manila to confirm an order. It's midnight here.
With the dollar as low as it is (almost like in the late '70's) anything expressed in $$ is cheaper than anywhere else.
Hordes of British tourists went shopping in New York over the holidays taking advantage of an almost $2 to £1 rate.

We regularly ship all over the place. The only problem is that our default shipping (UPS) is not the cheapest for international shipments so we disconnected the automatic calculation from the shopping cart.

If interested, please e-mail us for a shipping quote first. Global Priority Mail of the US Post Office works best to most places. Or check it yourself at http://ircalc.usps.gov/
Select your country. An average set of 3 boules weighs 5 lbs. For one set, the freight cost often eats up the exchange advantage, but for 2 sets it becomes worthwhile.