October 26, 2009

The predecessor of pétanque

There's not much footage of "boule Provençale" or "la longue" (the long one) available online.
A TV station in Draguignan (due North of St Tropez) just uploaded a report on local competitions. It is still popular in certain towns in SE France.
Pointers must take one step (one only), and then throw with either both feet on the ground or one in the air. Shooters on the other hand must take 3 steps before aiming for an opponent ball.
It's spectacular and not easy at all. Look at 1:40!
No wonder Jules le Noir asked his buddies in 1907 to shorten the distance and do away with the fancy footwork. In so doing, everyone would be - literally - on equal footing. He, sitting in his chair with his feet on the ground. The others standing (or squatting) with both feet on the ground.
It suddenly made the game much more inclusive as to age, strength, and gender.
And so pétanque ("feet anchored") was born....

1 comment:

Ben Bull said...

I remember a time Karen and I were in Annecy, France, on the lookout for local Pétanque courts, when we stumbled upon a large building and adjacent flat playing fields that resembled bocce, or lawn bowling, but weren't. The sole human at the place was the bartender, who gave a disparaging look after my question of whether this was a pétanque club... in French, of course, he told me no, it was for la longue, the pétanque dirt was on the other side of the palace... we had a beer and wandered over to a very full and lively piste, with a more friendly crowd, and bar, adjacent.