November 18, 2009

Getting back to "normal"...

I think everyone present agreed that the Open was a "blast", in more ways than one.

It's just been soooo busy ever since. Paying suppliers, cleaning up, saying farewell to players who decided to stay a couple extra days, catching up on last week's orders, etc...

I could go on and on, but I think this interview with our guest of honor, Jacques Pépin, depicts the convivial atmosphere we enjoyed better than anything:

November 11, 2009

Play area - part 2

Yesterday a nifty piece of equipment was brought in to spread a mix of crushed limestone and fine gravel.
It's called a "top dresser". Commonly used at golf courses, it worked great for this application!

We had a lot of rain most of the afternoon (good timing to settle all the limestone) but the forecast for the weekend is excellent.

Some of the players have arrived: Andre & Marjorie from Maine, Gary & Shirley from NC and the Lich family from VA.

Some thirty players are arriving tomorrow, and the balance on Friday.

November 9, 2009

Play area getting ready

Today the maintenance department of Fernandina Beach started preparing the play area for 45 courts. They have been very co-operative and I am extremely grateful for their support.
The area had a layer of anywhere between 1 and 4 inches of coarse limestone rock (#57). Although one can theoretically play on any surface, it would have been quite frustrating, especially for beginners. At first we thought of covering it up with finer stuff, but the cavities in between the 57 are such that hundreds of tons would have simply disappeared.
That left only one solution: scrape up the rock down to plain dirt. And then bring is crushed limestone.
Today was scraping day. With more than adequate equipment!

November 8, 2009

Vincent Canto 1959-2009

In 2007, I noted that multiple boules orders were going to the same area in Arizona. And I got in touch with Vincent Canto, the 'culprit' who replied:
"I am originally from Lyon, France. I moved to Jerome, AZ (350 people) in 84"s and we have a strong fan club of Petanque players. Our teams are ready to compete with any body out there. Any balls? Vincent"

We emailed back & forth a couple of times, and the last news I got was in March 2009:
"By the way. We are currently in Merida Mexico and found a huge club here that plays Petanque. We will continue to play and spread the word."

He and his wife Stephanie had hooked up with our friends in Yucatan!

But the happiness was short lived. In May, I heard from Bill in Jerome ...

Vincent Canto was born to a Spanish father and a French mother in Toulouse, France. He grew up in Lyon where he trained as a machinist and chef. His parents introduced him to petanque at an early age and became very skilled. At the age of 18 he started on quite a trek around the world speaking fluent in Spanish, French and English. First he spent two years in Mexico then England, Canada and Martinique. He arrived in Jerome, Arizona and spent the next 23 years, where he met and married Stephanie. Ultimately, they settled in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico where he died suddenly after playing petanque. He introduced petanque to countless friends in the places he lived.
The stronghold of players is in Jerome, Arizona where play begins on Saturday or Sunday or both each week at 2 p.m. Jerome sits on the side of a mountain, and petanque is played on the flattest part of town which is the old cemetery parking area. The 360 degree scenic view of the mountains, forest and the town are fantastic. It is common to play until dark. Now three generations play on a regular basis. He would look out his window towards the old cemetery and if a game was being played he would rush right over and play or officiate. Vincent was instrumental in starting petanque in central Arizona and we all miss him.

Stephanie went to France to meet his family - for the first time. A trip they had planned to do together.
Immediately the clubs both in Merida - where his brief presence had left a lasting impression - and Jerome decided to hold their next tournament in honor of Vincent.
Torneo Vincent Canto (on Youtube)

And the players in Jerome pledged to send a delegation to the Open: Bill & Manuela, Anthony & Cindy, Felix & Brenda, Ron, and Stephanie Canto herself.
We will welcome them with open arms, and we will use this opportunity to award the first...

Vincent Canto Award
to someone who - like Vincent -, in a quiet, friendly, unassuming yet unflagging fashion, has been promoting petanque in the USA.

I'd like to end this post on a humorous note. In an email some time ago, Ron expressed his concern about playing in Florida:
Since we live on a hillside in Jerome AZ, flat areas are as rare as hairs on a frog's ass. Playing in an open tournament in an area where you can't buy a hill sounds somewhat intriguing!

November 6, 2009

Tournament theme song

As we're getting closer, I want to make sure we do not forget about my pledge in January, that this song would be the theme song of the next tournament.
Rhythm, balls, ocean, friendly ambiance, good food and laughter:

November 5, 2009

Tournament logo & mascot

Here's the final version of the tournament logo.

Many, many thanks to Bradbury Mattes, who's flying in from West Chester, PA to participate in the tournament, but is also a fine artist.
After receiving his B. A. from Marlboro College, Vermont, he was classically trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Accomplished in many media, including figure sculpture, abstract metal sculpture, watercolor, collage and charcoal drawing, he has primarily focused on etching and oil painting in his current work. His recent exhibitions include Immaculata, Audubon, Squirrel Gallery, Sunset Hill Gallery, Historic Sugartown and many more.

He included two important symbols of Amelia Island, the lighthouse and the shrimp, who could be any age or sex ànd playful, akin to folks who like pétanque.

Now we had to came up with a name for the creature. Preferably genderless. Several suggestions came in. Two almost identical!
Dave Barry
(who came in 2003 and 2005, but is very busy with his book tour right now) proposed "Crusty" (as in 'crustacean').
Around the same time Stan Russo (part of the Richmond VA delegation) came up with "Crusty Carreau" which adds a subtle French + pétanque touch.
A "carreau" is the perfect shot, when you knock out an opponent's ball ànd take its spot in the process.

Crusty Carreau is expecting y'all next week!

Thanks to all who submitted logos and name tips. This was the perfect example of a cooperative effort by people who have never met, but share the same passion.

November 3, 2009

Israel launches a league for seniors

( The Ministry for Pensioners' Affairs has decided to introduce a new sport to Israel, and embrace it for the elderly. The ministry has adopted and agreed to support and promote the first-ever national Pétanque league. INN TV joined the finals and spoke with the organizers and participants.

An excellent 2:47 video clip, highlighting all the positive aspect of the game: