March 10, 2009

Second oldest club in America

La Boule d'Or celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. John Krauer, the actual president, was there in '59 and reminisces:

"I was at the courts in Golden Gate Park with a few petanque players waiting for the Mayor of San Francisco to come to the boules terrain. As the car made the turn to the DOG training field Jean Bontemps ran to the other side of the parking lot and directed the delegation to the petanque courts!!
Mr Christopher excused himself and addressed us with a few words and Jean gave him the BOUCHON and he tossed it and some of our 6 players played a few boules, and we tried to explain the game a little and after wishing us good luck, he left with the limousine.
This was a new playground; before they played in the Mission district next to 3rd Street.
Later after having learned the game a little and bought some boules, we started to play as a team. In October 1960 we had our first International Game.
I was just watching. A team from Canada and another one from Tunisia and some from France where here and our team was playing against the Canadian in the final game and won.
I believe Andre Martin is the only one still alive, Armand Squiteri passed away last year, Charles Nicolas went back to France a long time ago. Andre is also living in France since about 1995 I guess.
That was the start of the first official Club in the USA."

John is originally from Switzerland and his charming wife (and accomplished shooter) Josse is from... Toulon.

A 1964 group photo, courtesy of Ken at La Petanque Mariniere :

To see the beautiful grounds and today's club in action, here's the slideshow of their Petanque 100 celebration in 2007.

Anniversary tournaments are planned for May 30 & 31.

Update 3/11/09
Title corrected. The oldest club in America, founded in 1958, is Le Mistral Club de Petanque, in Worcester, MA (west of Boston). Look at the nice old pics on their site.

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