“Remain humble or life will do it for you.”
If you are a pétanque player, you might have noticed that this unpretentious game has a way to keep you humble… or cut you down to size.
National tournaments (like Sonoma’s) are a good way to assess your skills. When you start thinking that you are a big tuna, you might discover that your size shrinks significantly when you venture into a bigger pond. There is ALWAYS somebody who will lick you. Surprise!
This sport, like any other competitive exercise, has something to do with physical ability and mental strength. A great player usually starts young, is naturally gifted and gets a lot of practice. You need to play often, preferably with stronger players, to hone your skills.
And you need to control your temper and stay cool under pressure! The mark of a champion is to remain grounded while achieving greatness.
Unlike other sports, age is no handicap in pétanque. Sexagenarians can be as good as teenagers, and young phenoms could deflate anybody’s ego faster than you can utter OMG!
You can spot a “serious” player by the way he/she behaves on the field. Marching back and forth scrutinizing every inch of the ground (?), marking where the cochonnet landed, crouching to assess the topography of the area, mulling about the next move…
As a photographer, I cannot help but notice those things and they sometimes make me chuckle. D-Day required a lot of thinking and a lot of planning. Shooting or pointing should take a little less time.
But who am I to say this? I am an emblematic Pastis (minus the Pastis) player. I only play on weekends and never farther than 30 miles from my abode.
This does not mean that I am not competitive. I am, and I don’t like to lose. But I was a late starter and it is difficult to catch up with somebody who began playing while still wearing diapers.
So I am a journeyman player. And if you play against me, call yourself lucky because you have a good chance to beat me.
If I were a really good player, I would probably be full of myself… the opposite of the wonderful human being that I presently am. And if I were really good, I would probably not lower myself to play with you.
So we are all lucky. Since I am less than great, I remain friendly and humble… and you, you won’t have to be snubbed by a self-anointed champ.
Don’t let me win too often. It could go to my head and make my derrière too big for my britches.
Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve.