Friday, August 29, 2008

Jazzy Petanque Scene for Friday Games

With the Jazz Festival's many tents in place, it didn't look like there was going to be anywhere to play, but we shoe-horned in a place at Campus Martius Park and for a change of terrain, used the thicker gravel of that area. Teamed up with Aaron and Rob, we won the first game against Tim; Kevin; and Rafael - but fell victim to their revenge 10/13. I am really glad to see Rafael's pointing coming along so nicely, and Rob's pointing too is back on track. Aaron's been shooting more - and the experience shows with many solid connections. Kevin is very secure with shooting, and Tim needs a little work at getting back to his usual level of perfection. Too much work at his firm is pulling his boules off.

VIDEO from today

No petanque Saturday (Jazz Fest) nor Monday (Labor Day canoeing) but I'll see you guys Tuesday. James H. & Cheryl D. and I are going up to Holly, MI for Renaissance Fest - where Aaron E. will be displaying his swordmanship theatrics. We hope to play a game or two of petanque (olde style).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rochester Petanque Is All Fun

Everyone had a good 'ole time last night! Great weather, and especially high amounts of laughter! This group is getting it's own little distinct character that's quite entertaining, everyone should come out to see for yourselves, it can't be well conveyed in a BLOG... but here's a quick story for you to get a taste!

A little story from the old days... funny for us old-timers, education for the newbies.

For various reasons, during one funny summer we got into a habit of nicknaming everyone for different characteristics we saw in them during their times on the piste.

Well, I think we may have to revisit that tradition after last night's laughs with Pauls theatrics!

When Paul has to make the traditional toss of the cochonette, his throwing strategy is not typical!

For obvious reasons, at the end of an end, every player picks up their boules and normally positions themselves out of the way of play (where the cochonette is about to be thrown). Since Rochester's piste is a large open area, it's not quite obvious where the cochonette is about to be thrown.

In Paul's game, you may stand behind him to be out of his way, and he'll just turn right around and go right in your direction. So everyone finds themselves scurrying around as Paul looks in circles to see what direction he wants to go. It got to be very humorous with all these people just dancing around Paul while he tried to decide... I think this picture shows the silliness (just imagine it animated!)...

So I have to propose two of my favorite names: Paul "the weathervane" or Paul "the Golden Compass"?? It's quite fitting knowing that play does not begin until Paul decides the direction! Let's have a vote!

Is it just me? Or does it get you a little worried when girls are secretly strategizing in a group??

They were definitely discussing their determined play by how well everyone did!

See everyone next week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mike's Performance at Top-Notch

No dust on these player's shoes... Mark/Rob/Jeff teamed up post-Tournament day to battle Hitesh/Mike.

I wanted to see if Mike's performance had diminished since the tournament on tuesday night. Actually, it was stronger than ever, with Mike/Hitesh losing the first game 13/5 but beating us in a revenge match 13/2

Detroit Tournament Results: James & Cheryl Take the Gold

........The day/night before a tournament is always nervewracking for me as I want to make sure every element is accounted for, from the paperwork (score sheets; team number tags; doorprize tickets) to the food plans (crepe reservations; dinner planning; and snacks) to the little things like what the heck to do if construction of a stage is going on in the middle of where you are intending to hold the tournament! Fortunately my good friends were there to help - from moving the equipment to the site (thanks Mike); and getting the delicious crepes from Good-Girls... (thanks Gene) and all of the rest of you who worker-bee-d the tournament to a success - so thanks y'all for helping make our club... a cooperative effort. big thanks also to Philippe of Petanque-America for some of those cool door prizes.

The overall feeling for me was that people had a good sense of tournament play - despite there needing to be a BYE for team-8... (Rob! we're going to have to get you a watch!). The killer piste - that center (of the "H") terrain was murderous - with plenty of boules rolling off the side. In a tournament, knowledge of the ground can be great advantage.

Light was definitely a rarity for the final (fifth) game - as our team had a BYE for that one... All the better for the clean-up and prep for going to Enoteca for dinner. The results were James & Cheryl for GOLD; followed closely (3 pts.) by Dan and Dave with Silver. Our triplette (Hitesh; Kitty; Jeff) took third; and then, interestingly - two teams tied for 4th place: Aaron/Mark & Kevin/Wayne. Then the fun team: Pat and Mike (nicknamed the Rabbit for his superior night-vision) who almost beat the Gold medalist team (James & Cheryl) in near darkness! Mike was having a little bit of a tournament breakdown - but he held it together for that last game which could have turned the tide on the ultimate victors. Gene and Sharon held sixth place - Gene was shooting very solid when we played against his team - and Sharon's pointing was very tight as well.

Enoteca was a delight for it's proximity, and I really enjoyed the family-style platter o' food method. Individual choices take more time, and separate the diners from each other's experience, so dipping into the same tray for grilled sandwiches psychologically bonds the players together. (I think)... Enoteca VIDEO

Next time we'll have an earlier start! This was the final (5th) game at 8:30 p.m. and the brightest cochonnet looked like a rock!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Afternoon of Tournament - Ranking

Mike & Pat teamed up for a try-out as partners - with awful results - a 13-4 loss to Tim & Wayne. Tim, who won't be participating in tonight's tournament was Pat's partner at last year's tournament with a gleaming 2nd place position. Now that Ziggy & Mamary aren't playing - they would have had a clear path for gold.

Mikey is knocked down to third in the average rankings, Jeff is holding on by the skin of his teeth for 1st.

In other news, the tournament day this year (a Tuesday night) was selected for it's "utter safety in availability" and yet Detroit has found a way to put in barrels, and barricades for a potential stage set-up for a musical performance tomorrow. Fun Fun Fun!

Fortunately, petanque can be played virtually anywhere, so if need be, we'll re-locate across the street at Campus Martius Park.

8/27/08 NOTE: The barrels and barriers were not really in our way, there was no construction going on during our event - it was an excellent place for our tournament.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day Before Tournament - Partner's Practice

Pat and Mike teamed up against Jeff and Hitesh for a "Battle Royale" teaser... Though there were plenty of opportunities for Pat/Mike to take the lead and win, Mike's shoddy pointing coupled with some tactical errors from Pat cost a point here and there. Hitesh/Jeff won it 13/9. We will be extremely careful with our strategy tomorrow night - opposing teams will really be earning those points.

Doubles Tournament for Tuesday Night all Set!

The medals arrive today, I spoke with Torya (Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes) and Nino (Enoteca) the food is going to knock your socks off...

We will gather at 6:00 p.m. - and while eating our crepes, we'll go over the simple rules (what makes the boule out, the timing of the games etc) - then we shall begin the tournament - and afterwards, at around 9 p.m. walk a few steps over to Enoteca for a nice dinner. Good food, Good Competition, Everything close together... See you then!

I field test all of the food beforehand - those crepes are out of this world.. crunchy and delicious.

Fenyx Club Represents in Austerlitz and Bratislava

Pavel Kral, our friend from our cousin club: Fenyx Petanque club in the Czech Republic sent me photos of two huge petanque tournaments he (and his wife Renca, and little daughter Alenka, and friend Jirka) attended. One was in Austerlitz (Czech Republic) and the other in Bratislava (Slovakia) near Vienna (Wien).

By the magnicent grounds they played upon, I can see it is a royal experience playing petanque in Eastern Europe. I hope some day soon I can travel to Prague and stop over at the Fenyx club to play in these very elaborate places.

One of Napoleon's greatest victories took place near Austerlitz. In December, 1805, Napoleon's French army defeated a unit of the Russo-Austrian army (commanded by Tsar Alexander I) after nearly nine hours of difficult fighting. The battle took place near Austerlitz (Slavkov) in today’s Czech Republic.

MPC'ers Active on and off the Piste

This past Sunday was also a very hot day at the Royal Oak pistes, but not for the weather, and not for the great shooting, but due to the latest buzz!! Our very own, Hal D'Arpini, was selected as one of the new cast members in Royal Oak's Stagecrafters' presentation of "Showboat"! Please send your congratulations to Mr. D'Arpini! He will be performing at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak in October. More details can be found at the company's website.

Not to be forgotten, also remember to check back soon for the coming details on Jeanette's appearance at the DSO in September. And also don't forget Joe's production of the Kid's Art Maze at the 2nd largest juried art fair in Michigan, the Rochester Art & Apples Festival, the weekend after Labor Day.

Very nice to have just as much activity off the piste as on...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hot Hot HOT at Campus Martius Park

Gene Sanford came by to practice for the upcoming tournament this Tuesday. We had a nice series of games (playing from the safety of the 75 degree shade).
Au Bon Pain provided a little lunch break, and Gene offered up some blues on the guitar.

Some video from today:

Pétanque Up North

Boules Awaiting Play
Originally uploaded by aegan6
Pétanque is not just a sport for the well-defined pistes in Cadillac Square, at the Riverfront, or in Royal Oak. In fact, even the make-shift pistes in Rochester Hills are still pretty "artificial" compared to the places I've been playing recently.

The Great White North of Michigan—roughly defined here as anything north of Saginaw—holds many wonders, both natural and artificial. One of these wonders is the annual camping trip that my father and two long-time friends have been doing since they were my age; about 8 or 9 years ago, they decided to bring their sons up with them, and our party ballooned to six campers who enjoy the luxury of Coleman stoves, slow-cookers, and ovens, a good beer and good liquor, and relaxation.

Traditionally, a frisbee and a football of some type would make their way up with us, but this year I brought my boules and a set I borrowed from Jeff. I taught the assembled masses the rules and basic play of Pétanque, and we set up on an empty campsite across from our own. The site was mostly loose dirt, with a lot of roots, pebbles, and grass interspersed for a difficult and amusing piste. Enjoy some more photos at my flickr account, and take my word for it—Pétanque can be played on pretty much any surface, and taking your boules somewhere new can really improve your game.

By the by, the results were pretty interesting. I played my friend Carl and came from an 8-4 deficit to win, 13-12. My father and I played to a 13-7 victory for yours truly. My father played his friend Tim (Carl's father), and won 13-0, thus making Tim the official Kneff Lake Fanny. There's a picture, but it's not one that I'm sharing. The dads played each other and had some pretty competitive games—my father did well for himself, and it got to the point where I could go back and keep an eye on the brisket that was cooking away in a dutch oven in our fire pit, and leave the boules-players to their own devices.

This past week, I spent some time in Traverse City, and played our hundred-year-old French game in front of a Hundred-and-one-year-old Bed and Breakfast on the Old Mission Peninsula. I'll have the pictures I snapped from that game—in which I once again defeated my father, though by a much closer score, 13-10—up after this weekend of renfest.

It's always a pleasure to take a game on the road so simply, and to expand my skills by challenging myself to learn the new terrain, the quirks of it, and so on. Of course, I also get to spread the word about the game, and that's just as fun.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday - and Pat Teams up with Mike for a Victory

I knew going in that the odds were going to be tough... Pat (strong shooter & pointer); Aaron (milieu (both shooter and pointer)); Mike (odd good luck when it comes to boules); and Rob (Shooter) against Jeff (Milieu); Mark (Pointer); Steve (Pointer); Ruth (Pointer)

A shooter heavy team will do better, I think, than a pointer team as they'll just remove whatever is in the way.

And so the result 13/8 - not surprising. But we fought hard, and made them sweat a little.

I must add that Mark's pointing has been very reliable. A close initial pointing can "use up" all of the opposition's boules.

Welcome to Ruth who I hope can return soon, and Farewell (for now) for Steve - whose Detroit contract ended today - he'll be playing up in Royal Oak on Sundays.

Petanque Tournament at Cadillac Square - August 26 (Tuesday)

We have a number of people who have told me that they will be participating:
Kitty J.
Mark W.
Aaron E.
Wayne M./Kevin C.
Jeff W./Hitesh P.
Dan C./Dave J.
Gene S./Sharon H.
Pat A./Mike D.
James H./Cheryl D.
Others, maybe:
Hal D.; Rafael; Deric T.; Alpha

Thursday, August 21, 2008

our members shoot more than boules

Aaron E. petanque fancier & gentleman about town, can be found battling on a different piste this season. He is up in Holly, Michigan at the Renassiance Festival as a part-time Captain of the Guard, and Part-Time bandit. I'm not sure which persona Aaron favors - but the bandit costume looks more comfortable.

I am planning to go up with a group on August 31st (the festival runs until September 28th). If you haven't been there, or just not for a while, it is well worth the visit. I am partial to the turkey drumsticks and jousting. That particular weekend (31st) is Buccaneer Fest - there are themed weekends all season long. I'll be in my pirate costume. I'll also bring along my "cannon boules" for an impromptu game or two.

Check it out!

Rochester Group enjoys Wednesday Nights

Rochester petanquers are steadfast in their pursuits to get regular game play started. Thanks to Paul, Denise, and Joyce for some really fun games Wednesday night. A few people couldn't make it, but I already have heard about a strong turnout next week! I'm pretty confident that our group is the little club that knew they could! I'm glad this is working out so well--a little more petanque and a few more visits during the week, magnifique!

Mikey is Good Luck Charm

Seven players for today, so we had one doublette Mike/Mark vs. Tim/Steve and a mixed 1 vs 2 between Pat and Jeff/Hitesh.

I grouped Mike with Mark because I couldn't put him with Tim (too powerful combo vs new guys) and I wanted Steve to be teamed with someone who could explain the game while it was being played (sorry Mike). They had a long game - ending with Mike/Mark taking the win 13/9. Mike commented afterwards that his partner, Mark, was taking some chances, trying out the shooting - and he was doing "okay" and Steve - our newest player, was pointing like a champ.

Meanwhile, on piste-B, Pat vs. Jeff/Hitesh played a really close game, with Pat in the lead 12/7 we slowly caught up to a 11/12 situation. The last end had Pat sitting with the close boule at 8 metres, and we had two opportunities to point in... but failed.
NOTE: Pat had his tournament partner, Mike, stand by for good luck. It worked! Some people use horseshoes - Pat prefers the whole horse!