July 18, 2008

Petanque in Virginia

Richmond is right off I-95 on the way from NY, so I just hàd to stop and visit our friends the "Boulefrogs" in the historic Church Hill district. Just minutes from the highway.

It all started when Richard Taranto, a longstanding member of NCCP - the Washington club - moved there and suddenly found himself with no one else to play. Yet most streets have back alleys with crushed stone, all ideally suited for petanque! So he put an ad in the local community paper in the spring of 2005 and 12 people - all without any real petanque experience - showed up. Nine of those twelve are still members today, and almost thirty more have joined since.
The Parks & Recreation Dept saw the success and supported them with temporary courts in Chimborazo Park. They can now run 5 games at a time, but soon the entire park will be renovated and petanque will be a major ingredient in the new layout.
Very interesting is that most players live in walking distance from the courts. It is wonderful to see them arriving from different corners, each with their set of boules. Beautiful streets, by the way, with pearls of 19th century architecture.

They are thinking of a tournament in the fall. Plenty of alleys in the area to handle 10 or more games. If they do, there will definitely be a Carolina delegation!

Richmond Times-Dispatch slideshow

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