Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Where to Store those Extra Cochonnets

Why not try the cochonnet head-basket?! Now you no longer have to fish around your pockets for a bouchon to use in your petanque game - the handy cochonnet basket hold dozens of jacks.
The adjustable head-strap fits most foreheads - and is quite fashionable too!
Where can you purchase the Cochonnet Head Basket? Not sure, but perhaps someone can make one!

Pointing Practice Equipment

We've seen the Shooting Training Machine - here's the pointing training machine (a bit simpler to re-create from scraps of wood and some long nails. The center portion is a bit narrower than the two side "gates" allowing for different types of pointing practice such as trying to move up to the cochonnet that is just inside a gate - all without having to set and re-set boule configurations.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cousin Clubs: Fenyx Petanque Club & Detroit Petanque Club

Pavel Kral of the Fenyx Adamov Petanque Club sent me an e-mail telling me he's received the embroidered shirts from the Detroit Petanque Club. As you can see from the photos which Pavel sent to me, it looks like the club needed the shirts quickly! Just kidding! Actually, the photo depicts a 90+ degree day at the Adamov piste where the men have the luxury of playing bareskinned.

Pavel is sending over some shirts from the Fenyx club which Detroit Petanque Club members can wear.

And so, we have forged a cousin club idea where petanque clubs in the United States can link up with petanque clubs in Europe, Australia, and Asia to promote a worldwide family of boule players. I encourage those of you who enjoy reading this blog to do the same. Find clubs in another part of the world, in a different country, a different continent, and start a cousin club relationship with them.

To Pavel, Jirka, and Renata of the Fenyx club - hello cousins!

FOR SALE: Machine for Boule Shooting Training

Juan pointed out a FOR SALE on French E-Bay: a Machine for Training in Petanque Shooting.

Description: Very nice machine for a Petanque club which returns shot boules. A target boule is attached by a cable to the center of the shooting piste. The machine takes note of the force of the shots, and displays them on a screen (1,2 or 3) while returning the shooting boule to the player.

[click on image to make larger]

Numéro de l'objet : 280117989509

EBAY France

Chicago Tribune Gives Chicago Petanque Club a Nice Write Up

Higher profile for old boule game

By Patrick Kampert
Tribune staff reporter

May 27, 2007

Please forgive the members of the Chicago Petanque Club as they compare themselves, tongue in cheek, to hoops star Ben Wallace and company: "The Chicago Boules: It's not just a basketball team anymore."

Clearly, they need to work on their puns. But their sporting skills are doing just fine. Q told you about the club last September, when the French version of bocce ball drew teams from Michigan and Kentucky to west suburban Forest Park for the fledgling organization's first-ever tournament. But Saturday's Midwest Petanque Tournament is scheduled for a higher-profile venue: Grant Park's Hutchinson Field No. 7, near Balbo and Columbus Drives.

The growth has surprised club President Dan Danielson, who has seen his group double in size to two dozen members in the last year.

"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "For a game that's virtually unknown, it's interesting how people hear about it."

Sometimes they just stumble across the club practicing. That's what happened a couple of weeks ago as a young man passing by the park in Forest Park stopped to visit. The man told Danielson that he had played petanque as a child but hadn't seen anyone else tossing the metal balls (called boules) since a vacation in Paris. The group also has added practice locations in Bridgeport and Naperville.

Forty people are signed up for Saturday's Grant Park tourney, which begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until early evening. Spectators are welcome.

And as Chicago continues its lobbying for the 2016 Olympic Games, Danielson's group will be doing its part to help. The petanque club will give a demonstration in Millennium Park on June 23 as part of "The World of Games," sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Later in the summer, on Aug. 10, the club will be back at Millennium Park for the city's "Games Galore" presentation.

If you want more information or just want to offer another bad pun to the club (how about "the Chicago Petanque Club is on a roll"), visit chicagopetanque.com or call Danielson at 708-366-3768.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Louis Vuitton Soft-Petanque Set

For those of us who have large bank accounts, the Louis Vuitton soft-petanque set is a perfect accessory for your Ferrari and Malibu beachhouse...
It is a 9 boules set(?) with three different patterns (LV logos) and comes with a keychain that holds your LV cochonnet. Ritzy. Price... unknown.

But for those who like to play petanque indoors, I have a more economical solution, buy the "La Molle" set at Petanque America for a far lower price. CLICK HERE to see them.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Music to Celebrate 100 Years of Petanque

CENT ANS DE PETANQUE (click to hear)
C’est une boule de pétanque,
Cela fait cent ans qu’on la lance
Et qu’on la pointe et qu’on la tire
C’est une boule de pétanque
Cela fait cent qu’on l’adore
Qu’on soit manche ou bien débutant
Râleur, gagneur ou bon perdant
Elle en a fait vibrer des gens
Prendre une Fanny c’est pas marrant
Perdre douze à treize comme c’est rageant
Mais en retrouvant les amis
C’est de nouveau le paradis
A chaque trou, on fait la moue
Un point raté, ça nous rend fou
Mais quand la partie se finit
On oublie tout et on sourit
De notre France, elle est partie
Elle a conquis tous les pays
Et les champions prennent l’avion
Pour représenter leur nation
Refrain 3 fois
Lyrics: Isabelle Zuber
Music: Paul Glaeser

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh, for a Carreau!

By Matt Briggs
7 May 2002

I have been playing the game of petanque for about a year now. You may have seen its modified Italian form called bocce.

Both games are similar, but whereas in bocce the players use brightly colored lightweight, feminine wooden balls, petanque players use dark, heavy masculine balls of steel.

The game of petanque, like golf, looks deceptively simple: all that needs to be done is to get a ball as close as possible to a small wooden ball that is tossed from six to ten meters away.

Players are grouped into teams, each team throwing, rolling, tossing, or dropping their balls until at least one of them is closer to the small ball (called "the little one", or cochonette) than any balls from the opposition team. Teams score one point for each of their balls that is closer to the cochonette than the nearest opponent's ball. These, beyond one or two refinements, are the rules.

For two years I sat on a green bench in the southwest corner of Central Park where the old men play petanque, and I watched. One by one, these mostly French gentlemen would come to the throwing circle (a smallish area penciled into the ground to designate where to stand) and they would throw their balls, each time showing every appearance of great mental strain.

Almost invariably these balls would curve off, or bounce away, ending as far as one to two meters from their intended target. Some, and always by some miraculous path over twigs, roots, rocks, divots, and miscellaneous debris, would nestle right next to the little one. This was always a cause of great celebration on the part of the teammates of the lucky player. The player who made the throw invariably gave a subtle shrug, one that could equally well mean that he was aware of his luck, or that he knew all along that his skill was responsible for this throw's perfection.

As a spectator I could see how each errant ball was misplayed. How could he have dropped it so close? My God! (Or, more precisely, Mon Dieu!) Did he not see that rock? How could he have thrown it so hard, when anybody could see that that shot called for the touch gentle?

I watched with a confident eye, certain that I could do this simple task. I went online and bought balls from Petanque America and showed up at the field the next week. The only thing that worried me was that I would become too good too fast, and so have to find a new place to play, somewhere where there were better players. I would, therefore, start slowly.

The men were happy to find a new victim, or, um, enthusiast. They let me play immediately. They even let me lead off. I stepped to the circle, knew to keep my feet on the ground, sized up the terrain, and let loose my ball. It soared through the air and rolled to the cochonette! It continued rolling past the cochonette, over a hill, across a tree trunk, and, as far as I know, is still rolling through the West side of Manhattan towards the Hudson river.

This was odd because I was certain I had only used a feather touch on the throw. It must be because the ground was too hard. My opponent put a ball about half a meter away. I came back to the circle, and this time I concentrated. Do not throw it too hard! I let the ball fall every so gently, and this time it lined up exactly with the little one. If it had only rolled more than the one meter it did, it would have been perfect.

The afternoon continued much the same. And so did the next week, and the week after that and so on. It was two months before I could make a throw that wasn't acutely embarrassing. But did my teammates mind that I was helping them lose so many games?

To answer that, let me tell you that the best part of petanque is its sociability, its sense of camaraderie. So, no, they did not mind. They loved that I could perform one of the most valuable services that a player can perform: I made the other players feel better about themselves. No matter how badly another person played, once they watched me, they could always say, "At least I am not that bad."

The game is very popular with spectators. Most who walk by our playing field stop to watch (games are played nearly every day of the year). These people give every appearance of enjoying our obvious eccentricities. Little kids like to pick up the balls and feel their solid heft. A few others try a toss.

But it's the fifty-plus-year-old men who watch us that I can see have the same smug and not-so-secret grin that I had before I started playing. I can see their thoughts as they stand with their arms crossed. I can see their eyes roll with silent exasperation on every bad shot. I can see what they are thinking. They too believe that they can do this simple simple game better then we can.

Yes, I was exactly like these men were before I started to play. My smug grin is long gone. It has been replaced by a grimace of agony.

[To explain the title: a carreau is the name of a perfect throw. It happens when you throw your ball and knock your opponent's ball away, while yours stays in the same spot that your opponent's ball occupied. Petanque is, as I have alluded, just as frustrating as golf, but it is free to play. You only have to buy a set of balls once: balls are about forty to eighty dollars. And you can play in just about any space. These qualities make it, in my opinion, a far superior game to golf.]

Matt Briggs is an Assistant Professor at the Cornell Medical School. He is also a consulting statistician. He specializes in the design of modern (Bayesian) large-scale, automatic, and web-based data analysis systems.

You can find Matt's other very witty and amusing stories and cartoons at his excellent website: www.wmbriggs.com/

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Detroit's Downtown Hoedown & Petanque

This year it's the 25th Annual Detroit Downtown Hoedown with Country music concerts, lots of country cooking, and cowboy hats a-plenty. You can find most of the details HERE

And of course, we'll be playing petanque, wearing our western hats, and shooting (boules) . . .

(photos will be posted later)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Videos-Petanque.fr has great petanque content

This website has lots of interesting videos of various petanque tournaments, commercials, humorous takes (check out Marco Foyot giving some feedback on his partner's pointing - HERE). The Thailand/Argentina shooting competition - HERE is fantastic.

Here's the newest OBUT commercial - HERE

Note: Click on the photo, not on the words and the video should play.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Petanque on your Playstation-2

For those of us who need a virtual fix for petanque (especially in the dead of winter) - then you can purchase Petanque-Pro for the Playstation 2. In Petanque-Pro, you choose the type of terrain, the type of match (tete-a-tete, doublettes etc), boule types, and type of tournament and voila - you're playing boule. By playing, you're selecting which player on your team goes, as well as the angle and throwing strength of your proposed boule. I have not personally used Petanque Pro, but from the photos on the website it looks fairly decent.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday's Pre-Mother's Day at Campus Martius Park

Another gorgeous Saturday in Campus Martius Park in Detroit.

Today's participants included: Joe Z.; Jeff B.; Denise B.; Sean; Dave; Danny; Jeff; Mike; Michael; Susie; and Marley (mostly as interference)

Sean who watched a few games finally put down his camera and joined us for an intense game where he laid down a few really close boules. He enjoyed today's game and plans to return.

Michael, Jeff B.'s friend, has played petanque before, laying down his boule close to the cochonnet time after time. Hope you return!

Mike tried on his new Detroit Petanque Club uniform - perfect fit.

If anyone cares to obtain DPC caps, shirts, etc, you can find the link at the website

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Play Petanque on your Cellphone

Petanque on your cellphone, yes, now you can play boule while driving in your car on the freeway!

Play against 8 characters, in 3 different game modes:
Single Game/Tournament/Challenge

Different kind of fields:
Grass / Asphalt / Sand / Ice

Up to 4 players. Play either against your phone or against your friends

Bluetooth multiplayer game on supported phones


Children's Petanque Set

Classic game of petanque on a child's scale. 60mm diameter boules (for the child size hand) and cochonnet 25mm all in a carrying case.

from a European website, www.eurekakids.net

Sunday, May 06, 2007


In his victory speech, Sarkozy said:

"American friends, I want to tell them that France will always be by their side when they need. I also want to tell them that friendship means accepting that friends can have different opinions."

The first round of France's presidential election was held on April 22. Nicolas Sarkozy came in first with 31.18% of the votes, ahead of Segolene Royal of the Socialists with 25.87%.

In the second round, Nicolas Sarkozy came out on top to win the election with 53.5% of the votes ahead of Segolene Royal with 46.5%.

In his speech immediately following the announcement of the election results, Sarkozy stressed the need for France's modernization, but also called for national unity.

Joe Z. Instructs new Michigan Petanque member

Joe Z. was being extra patient on Saturday, instructing "Eddie" the newest member of the Michigan Petanque Club, in the art of the backspin.

Apparently Eddie is a fast learner, as he beat Joe 13/0 in today's game (see the corresponding blog below where Joe satisfies the fanny rule).


When someone makes a fanny at a Detroit tournament, we look for the biggest ass in town for them to kiss.

The Cinco de Mayo Tete-a-Tete Tournament was spread out across Campus Martius Park. Jeff brought the sombreros - and we decided to count our point scores out in Spanish.

Afterwards, some of the participants walked over to Greektown to see what festivities were going on, and that's where Joe met up with some new members for the Michigan Petanque Club (photos).

Friday, May 04, 2007

The E5 Digital Petanque Score Keeper - Get Yours!

What do you get the petanquer who has everything? You get them the E5 digital petanque scorer.

Not only does it keep score for both teams, but it automatically shows you the point difference (how much the opposition has to catch up to your team).

Sure, you can keep a mental note of the score, you can also use the classic leatherette scorer - but for the gadget hungry petanque enthusiast: digital is the way to go...

I don't sell 'em, but here's how I bought mine and how you can get your own for around $19 including shipping:

Go to EBAY, type in the search terms: LCD Hand Tally Counter

You'll see a few different counters come up on your screen, find the E5 (E5-1804 specifically - the other counters don't have the right # of readouts for petanque) - select it, buy it, and enjoy it.

Yes, in essence, it is a counter for crowd attendence, hotdog eating contests, whatever, but it has 4 configurations (you'll want mode 2) which makes the top left and right LCD readouts for the 2 team scores, and the bottom center for the score difference.

Bronze is Back Baby! Italy has many new bronze boule manufacturers

Pavel Kral of the Fenyx Petanque Club pointed out these new Futura bronze boules to me.

Could it be that bronze is back, and better than ever? It was for the longest time that only Integrale manufactured bronze boules, but checking the Boules Homologuees for the Federation of Petanque and Jeu Provencal's listing, there's CAST and UNIBLOC and Futura (depicted here).

Perhaps petanquers are realizing some of the benefits of using bronze as a boule material.

What I also enjoy, is seeing the many different striation markings on these new boules - much like those you'd find on Boules Lyonnaise.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Some of the Teams for the Chicago Midwest Tournament

The teams from Michigan will be:

Jeff B./Kerry
LindseyS./Denise B.
Joe Z./Cyrille D.
James H./Cheryl D.
Jeff W./Hal D.

Also attending will be Brigitte D.; and Philippe B. (not sure if he's playing)

Marco F. had to be somewhere else at the last minute...

Cinco de Mayo - Battle of Puebla Tournament

…it's not Mexico’s Independence day.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over th French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.

The French who were intent on supplying the confederate army with weapons which may have changed the outcome of the U.S. Civil war.

It is a national holiday in Mexico which is also widely celebrated in the United States.

What does this mean for you? BOULE TOURNAMENT OF COURSE!
Saturday (May 5th) we’ll hold a Cinco de Mayo tournament where some players will represent Mexico, the others, the French - and we will have a re-match of the Battle of Puebla on the boule pistes of Campus Martius Park.

I’m not sure whether it will be Tete-a-Tete or Doubles - it depends upon the number of participants.

Bring appropriate headgear (sombreros; berets) for the day. It’ll be fun.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Prefabricated Throwing Circle for Cheapskates

I was at IKEA last weekend, when I found exactly what I was looking for, a cheap - round - rubber shower mat for something like $3.50

a few measurements and scissor cuts later and voila... a prefabricated throwing circle!

They come in red and navy... and make excellent gifts for your petanque friends.

(excerpt) ARTICLE 6: ...Where a prefabricated circle is used, it must have an internal diameter of 50cm.
This circle, valid for the three consecutive throws allowed to a team, must be drawn at least 1 m from all obstacles, and at least 1 m inside the boundary of the playing area [normally the dead boule line] and, for competitions on open terrains, at least 2m from another circle in use.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cochon d'Or Trophy to Detroit Doublette Willie & Nate

Junior Doublette Petanquers Willie & Nate with the Cochon d'Or trophy at Campus Martius Park.

Their scores: 13/6 13/8 13/11 13/4

and in the Final: 13/12

Good going guys!