Saturday, August 23, 2008
Pétanque Up North
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.
Posted by Aaron at 2:07 AM