Friday, September 30, 2005

A Sign We Hope We Never See Here...

My wife and I ran across this sign during our vacation this summer in Provence. I happened to spot it posted on the side of a building that ran along a narrow street.

For those who don't read French, the sign says "No boule playing allowed." Not a very friendly sign, especially for Provence, the birthplace of p├ętanque!

Decisions Decisions Decisions

Gene and Sharon have really been taking their time, studying boule placement and the line of pointing. Partly, this is for psychological reasons - "it unsettles the opposition"

Glimmers of Hope

Glimmers of Hope
Originally uploaded by JeffreyWiden.
Today's games at Campus Martius brought together Allan, Gene, Tony, Sharon, Jeff, and Hal. Doug, photographer from the Detroit MetroTimes hung about to take some photographs. It was nice cool weather. This should last into the weekend.

East Coast Update

Originally uploaded by mainegal.
For my father's birthday earlier this month, I sent him two sets of boules. The package arrived early and Mom fully aware of the contents wouldn't let him touch it till his actual birthday. This past weekend, Dad finally had a chance to break the boules in at a scout camporee.

My father brought the boules along to play petanque during the free time. He quickly attracted scouts and leaders, many who tried out the game. Petanque turned out to be a big hit with the scouts. Dad was able to win his matches but says one young scout came dangerously close to beating him.

My most recent phone conversation with my dad had about a ten minute discussion of the best places to play petanque in my hometown. Jeff, who vacations not far from my hometown, came across French-Canadian tourists playing on the beach, so Dad is going to check that out as well as some other locales. Now Mom might even join in the fun.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thanks to Maison de la France!

I want to thank Ms. Anouk Thiebaut of Maison de la France for her great hospitality, and providing Mario and me with the ability to play petanque for TWO DAYS! She probably didn't realize that we'd pay to have such fun! We would also like to thank her for the pleasure of teaching our sport to all the convention visitors, not to mention all the French companies at the exhibit (although there's still two guys who thought they could take us -- but we didn't have time to prove them wrong!). We're already anxiously waiting to come back for next year!

Teaching Petanque in Chicago

Mario is about to shoot this convention-goer's good point out of the piste. I tried to tell him to take it easy on the ladies, but he insisted on teaching them a lesson! We taught at least 30-40 people each day, and spread the good word of petanque. We both had a good time, and a good laugh as we plombee'd some shots and sprayed some convention attendees with a healthy dose of sand as they walked by the piste. We started keeping our score by how many attendees we sprayed... I think Mario won?

Jesse Jackson Likes Petanque Downtown

It wasn't enough to spend the last few days teaching petanque! At the airport, on my way back to Detroit from Chicago, I just had to say hello to Jesse Jackson (who was also on his way to Detroit), and thinks that bringing our new cultural sport of petanque down to the City of Detroit is a great idea! Maybe we'll see him playing down at Campus Martius this Saturday!

This Week's Visitors Are a Sign!

Our website is getting more and more traffic from around the country, and also from places around the world. And to think we're attracting visitors for just some simple, really concerned, attempts at making petanque fun! That's the way petanque should be!

Detroit Free Press - Community Detroit

Check out the great article written about us in Thursday's Detroit Free Press. You can see a badly scanned version here.

Detroit Petanque Ducks High Sticking at Campus Martius

The Detroit Petanque Club was joined by the Molson Sportsmen Hockey Team (from Canada). They didn't point or shoot very well with all of that padding and helmets, but we let them win a few rounds anyway for fear of high-sticking!

Jeff Shows Off Fall Season of D.P.C. Uniform

Available in limited quantities - the D.P.C. zip-up and play is a light-weight "soccer jacket" with the DPC Piggy logo on the back, and the DPC round logo on the front. It's perfect for these chilly days, and yet allows for the flexibility shooters and pointers need for victory.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Back to Campus Martius for Lunchtime Group

As the weather was nice, and I was curious as to who was playing petanque up at Campus Martius (does anyone know?) the other day -- we detoured our lunchtime Renaissance Park Riverfront group up to Campus Martius Park. The crowds weren't keeping us from playing, and as you can see, it offered up a feeling of Manhattan. There were plenty of people looking on as Gene, Sharon, Will, Allan, and Jeff played mixed Doubles/Triples. Another reason for shifting to Campus Martius this and next week, during lunchtime, is to get our players ready for the harder, gravel surface (unlike the hard-packed sand at Ren. Cen.)

Allan takes the point
Crowds Passing By - "Watch the boules!"
Gene firing off another shot!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cool and Breezy Day Alongside the Detroit River

Gene must have an enormous wardrobe because he's always coordinated for his petanque playing.

Today's doublettes: Tony/Jeff vs. Gene/Sharon

Monday, September 26, 2005

NEWSFLASH : Giant Rodent Plays Petanque

Visiting treasurer from Seattle
Originally uploaded by mainegal.
Mouseketeer Jeff Widen played boule in the official Presidential regalia of the Detroit Petanque Club.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Undercover Maude!

Maude was the only smart one today. When the rain came down this afternoon, and cut our playtime short, we all got soaked, and Maude just had a good laugh watching us all running around to get to the cars. I think she might have been smiling at me because she knew I had too much gear to carry, and I just got drenched!

Midwest Petanque Champions Spotted

The games haven't been played yet, but we're just urging DPC to save themselves some embarrasement for the October 8th Tournament. When Dan, Jennifer, and Joe come down to the DPC courts, we just can't be held responsible for what happens!

Jeff what big ears you have

Jeff what big ears you have
Originally uploaded by mainegal.
I really don't know what to say but he begged me to bring him back Mickey ears from Orlando.

T'Choupi Shows D.P.C. Team Spirit

Unlike some dogs I know who have to walk around naked, T'Choupi is styl'n in his Detroit Petanque Club T-Shirt.

Nothing says "I have too much time on my hands" more -- than custom doggie clothing.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Joe and Jeff Attend World Bocce Championship

The Palazzo di Bocce is quite a place. It is the absolute BEST venue for Bocce in the United States (and probably the best in the world when you consider its incredible food catering and support facilities).

Jeff and Joe with the Women''s Champion (Italy), and the Junior Champion (Italy) Bocce winners. Their jerseys signify that they're Bocce champions (Like the Yellow jersey Lance Armstrong won in the Tour de France).

Jeff and Joe standing with Mario Pagnoni, Mr. JOY OF BOCCE himself! We talked for hours about the state of boule sports in this country. Mario is quite a remarkable and helpful resource.

Switzerland Takes Top Place in the Singles World Bocce Championship

Joe and Jeff had the pleasure of watching the final three games of Italy (unseated for Singles Bocce for years!) against Switzerland. Each team ahd 1 win under their belt, so it went to the final 3rd game, and at one part, it was tied up, 11/11 (they play to 15). It ended with Italy-13, Switzerland-15. The Swiss & Italian competitors were starting to show their exhaustion, with leg cramps, and lots of foot stomping.

Alliance Francaise de Grosse Pointe

Saturday, the MPC and DPC offered petanque lessons to the Alliance Francaise de Grosse Pointe at the Royal Oak VFW park. The instructors included: Hal, Joe, Melissa, Gene, Michel, Jeanette, Sharon, Eric, Maude and Jeff. We had great weather - played lots of games, and I was able to learn a few more curses in French.

Abbreviated Morning for Campus Martius

Nice cool morning at Campus Martius. A slightly shorter play-day (for Campus Martius) due to an engagement up in Royal Oak with the Alliance Francaise de Grosse Pointe (picnic & petanque).
Melissa is really getting accurate. She's been trying for and successfully shooting the cochon - at will! Watch out - when the cochon is hit out of bounds, and only 1 team has boules to play, all of those unplayed boules are points!

I'm glad to see Rob joined us again at Campus Martius. Renee and Jeff challenged Rob and Melissa to a game. It was nail-biter close - though sadly, I cannot seem to recall the outcome.... ;)

Check for our news article in this coming Thursday's DETROIT FREE PRESS

Friday, September 23, 2005

Doublettes for Today - Allan/Jeff Victorious Over Gene/Sharon

The heavy rain that came down last night (we also received hail!) really firmed up the terrain at the Renaissance Center Park. This made it harder for the pointers because the boules rolled FAST!

Two games of doublettes were played, Team-Allan/Jeff against Team-Gene/Sharon, with double victory going to Team-Allan/Jeff.

Allan was laying in boule after boule - right at the cochon, or placed in perfect position to really challenge the shooting from Gene. Sharon was on-the-boule today, but even her skills were no match for the opposition. Umpiring was assisted by Brian, who lent a measured eye to the boules.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rain Doesn't Keep Nutty Petanque Players Away

Despite a solid weather report of rain showers, Petanque went on. As I ambled up to the piste with my cart, Gene, Tony and Sharon were already into their first round or two. Hal showed up a game later joining me and sharon for double victories.
For more information, contact Hal D'Arpini or check out the Alliance Francaise de Grosse Pointe's website. Joe and I (Jeff) will be helping to teach the Alliance members how to play petanque. As such, there may not be enough room for everyone to play (at once). As for food, people are bringing food to share, so keep that in mind too.

This is on Saturday at Noon, so I will be down at the Campus Martius location for our DPC meet/games, and then hike it up to Royal Oak for the Noon event.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Man the Lifeboats - the S.S.JEFFREY is going down!

Today was an absolute torpedo for Jeff. Teamed up with Tony and Sharon against Gene, Will, and James - the first (of three) went fine, (a win) - but games 2 & 3 were downright awful... 13/3 and 13/5

At one round in the game, the cochon fell into a deep pit in the terrain, in a place I though it could never be removed. Then Will laid in his laser-plombee, rocketing the cochon up and out 3 feet. It was just a matter of time before his team laid in 4 boules.

But really, I'm actually delighted that the pupils are now holding more than their own.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

#1 Bocce Player!?

I had the pleasure of meeting the acquaintance of Mr. Formicone tonight... (Rumor has it that he's the World's best Bocce player...) I watched some very impresive games where he retired his opponents, and provided a very entertaining display of his great boule throwing skills. I'm going to try to watch him as he advances during the week... YOU should too!

Big Birthday Bash!

I was able to have a piece of Michele's 21st Birthday cake tonight... I shared a few drinks with him, and talked about some boules in the U.K. He happens to be the #1 Boule player under 21 in the World! I didn't get to play him with all these tournament games going on at Palazzo di Bocce, but I think I could take him! :-)

Crash and Burn

It had to happen sooner or later, and today was the day. Gene, Sharon and Will took Jeff, Hal and Tony down to Chinatown with a 13/5 finish.

"It was ugly... with Gene shouting out Da-Bears [in response to Tony's Da-Bears taunting last Saturday] and round after round going to them with 13 looming."

Here, we see the careful plotting by the inseparable Gene & Sharon.

[Note: we did have a re-match which gave us a turnabout win: 13/3 but the sting of the earlier defeat lingered]

Belle Isle Hazards

A few weeks back, a friend and I were playing petanque on the track surrounding the soccer field over on Belle Isle. The surface is ideal, our soccer teammates were all running late and he had his boules with him, so why not. Not more than ten seconds after my friend had tossed the cochon, a seagull swooped down and snagged it. Between our fits of laughter, the seagull was chased and the cochon retrieved. The question then became what does the rule book say about seagull interference?


Originally uploaded by mainegal.
I actually took this photo back on September 10th, but the child's excitement to be learning petanque always makes me smile. I thought I'd share the smile.

Jeff is a good teacher, though I hear he rips off Denise's tricks. The children have a lot of fun trying out petanque and keep on trying no matter what.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Detroit Petanque Club Has Visitors from Sister Club

Lunchtime has never been so competitive! Today's petanque session encompassed Sharon, Gene, Bobby (this trio will be the triplette for the Oct 8th event by the way...); Eric and Maude (from the Michigan Petanque Club); Hal, Will, and Jeff.

Triplettes were played (Hal, Sharon & Maude) vs. (Eric, Bobby & Will) - while on one of the many other courts, Tete-a-tete: Gene vs. Jeff went on...

Bobby and Will teamed up in a singles/doubles mix against Jeff at terrain #2 (of 13 at the DPC training courts) playing two games against him, vying for victory. Victory was precariously in their grasp, with the magnificent half-lobs from Bobby, and the miraculous "Deus-Ex-Machina" plombee shots from Will. But Jeff held his own for the wins. "It's just a matter of time before these guys will beat me every game," Jeff mused, "I see the determination in their eyes."