The last boule

The last boule (as well as the first boule) of a pétanque game is extremely important. Both can make or break a game.

I am of course talking about casual players, not humanoids from another planet who can hit at least 10 “carreaux” in a row.

A well-placed first boule is very important; it might force the opposite team’ shooter to intervene, and hopefully squander his ammunition. But the last boule is also equally significant because a slapdash throw could disturb and spoil the winning array already on the ground.

In a tournament, credit often goes to the shooter, but without an outstanding pointer (it is a cliché, I know) a shooter is “bupkis.” Nothing, niente, rien.
The pointer does the embroidery while the pointer rides shotgun. If no enemies come close to the coach, the enforcer won’t have to intervene.

But the problem facing the last player is that by then the field is extremely crowded; an unfortunate throw could push an opponent’s boule forward and nullify all the previous accomplishments. I have wrecked enough games to exactly know what one endures when making such a blunder. It almost feels like shooting a friend.

It is close to a Shakespearean tragedy.

To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

Sometimes, the situation is not worth any gamble. If you are ahead, dropping the last boule and settling for what is on the ground is the safest solution.

The best policy during a pétanque game is, regardless of the circumstances, to never upset your partner. Any careless remark will exacerbate the situation and cause your partner to lose his/her concentration. Blabbermouths hinder a game; they never help anybody or anything.

Players have two things to do. Play and keep their mouths shut. Sparky Anderson


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