Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SearchAmelia Video

Here is a link to a YouTube clip that was uploaded by the gang at The team that they fielded was the only team to win a game against our CarolinaPetanque team of Shirley, Jeff, and myself during last Saturday's tournament. Listen closely and you'll hear someone from SearchAmelia proudly proclaiming, "We beat them!" when Philippe announces that the winning team was CarolinaPetanque.

Thanks to Philippe for a wonderful tournament and to SearchAmelia for the clip.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Petanque America's Amelia Island Area Tournament

We continued our Florida adventure by driving up the coast a ways to Amelia Island, home to our good friend Philippe and his Petanque America operation. He had invited us some time back to participate in a small tournament he was sponsoring primarily for local players and players in the general area. I guess our month vacationing in Florida qualifies us as "players in the general area"? At least he was kind enough to include us as such.

We spent some time on Thursday and Friday visiting with Philippe and getting another tour of his latest warehouse offerings courtesy of his trusty sidekick and helper, TJ. I'm sure all of you who were lucky enough to make the November 2009 Petanque America Open remember TJ. Not sure how Philippe ever got along without her.

Also, on Friday evening Philippe had arranged for a large carillon ( like an organ, only bells! ) that was traveling up Interstate 95 from Naples, Florida, on its way north to stop and perform a concert for the islanders. There were somewhere around 1700 people who turned out for the performance. Very entertaining! As we understand from Philippe, his mother's family in the Netherlands has been in the bell casting business for many years, thus his interest.

Saturday saw fourteen teams of three (triples) gather for the tournament. Play began at a little after nine o'clock in the morning and lasted, with a short break for lunch, until after three in the afternoon. As is the case everywhere we go, there were some good players and lively, enthusiastic games.

It was a casual, fun tournament with some players of limited experience getting their first taste of tournament-styled play. Philippe had encouraged the teams to be inventive in their choice of team names and team shirts. Thus teams like Screwboules, Meatboules, Cool Boules Chillin' (sponsored by a local air conditioning service), Dazed & Confused, The Lonely Boules, and others of a similar nomenclature competed against each other. It made our CarolinaPetanque team name seem rather ordinary, but our "No Whining!" club motto got a few laughs and comments.

The new FPUSA club in St. Augustine sent a fine team up to play. I'm sure they'll grow into a club to be reckoned with based upon the level of play exhibited.

I'm sure Petanque America will probably have a write-up soon, so I'll just say that a great time was had by all. Our team consisited of Shirley, myself, and a local person, Jeff Barksdale, that volunteered to play with us since we were only two and his team had failed to come together. And, oh, by the way, we won!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sarasota Sunday

Gilbert, John, Shirley, Carol, Danny, and Ed_________ John, Joey,Danny, and Pam

Richard, John, Gilbert, Danny, Katie, Carol, Ed, Eric, and Gary______ Danny&Joey

Joey and Pam ________________________________Our hosts at lunch

Fourteen of us braved a forecast that predicted an 80% chance of thunderstorms to play at the beautiful Lakeview Park home of Sarasota Petanque Club. The rains came and we stopped for lunch, hoping that the clouds would pass through. We tried once more after lunch, but then the real downpours came.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tournament at Tampa East

(Tournament champions: Bertrand Cote, Rollande Dufour, Gilles Morin)

The gang at Tampa East RV Resort in Dover, Florida, held a nice triples tournament (random draw for teams with some allowances for gender and experience) on a cold Saturday. The team that Shirley was on made a good showing, reaching the quarter finals. The team that I was on did not fare as well and the fact that I had a very hard time adjusting to playing in soft sand was definitely a factor. As I noted in previous posts, it's fairly easy to get reasonably close to the target in soft sand, but against these guys, reasonably close is far from good enough! Most of the ends concluded with three or four boules within a couple of inches of the cochonnet.

This resort had more "local rules" than almost any place we've ever played. They play from fixed pads at the ends of the court rather than from circles on the court. That's not so unusual, as we usually play that way on our own home court for social play to take advantage of racks on which to rest unplayed boules (and refreshments!) and pre-marked six and ten meter distances for tossing the cochonnet. Strangely, though, they have little red flags at roughly a five meter distance beyond which thrown boules must land to be valid! It really changes the game (too much in my opinion) when a six meter cochonnet toss doesn't allow any room to land short and roll in to the target. But then, there's not too much roll in soft sand anyway! There is, of course, nothing in official international rules specifying how far a boule must be tossed before it lands.

Another example of strange "local rules" is the requirement that a boule must be within a certain distance of the target (I think they said thirty inches if I remember correctly) to count in the scoring. There is no such requirement in official international rules. If you've ever watched the pros play on the internet or in person, you know that they sometimes score with boules several meters from the target due to shooting away close boules or intentionally moving the cochonnet.

And then they have a few "rules" that probably started out as custom and are now thought of as rules. They require that unplayed boules must be left on the ground near their starting pads. You can't even carry them in your hands when walking out to assess the situation! Come to think of it, you can't even walk out to assess the situation! During tournament play, only team captains are allowed beyond the fixed pads.

The players are welcoming to newcomers and you'll find them a pleasure to play with if you ever stop in. Don't allow the soft sand or the "local rules" to spoil your fun. You'll soon see the sand as a challenge and can't help but come away with a real appreciation of just how well some of these guys play on their chosen surface. And you'll just have to "do as the Romans do" as regards some of their strange rules. Most of them have no real bearing on the nature of the game.