Les saltimbanques de la Pétanque

There is Pétanque, and then, there is pétanque. That is, championship pétanque and casual pétanque.


Although these two events look very similar, they are vastly different.
In competitive pétanque the main only goal is to win. Period. No fancy stuff. Just precise, thoughtful shots. Everybody is concentrating and paying close attention to the game. There is very little (or no) interaction between competing teams.

In pick-up games or casual pétanque, the main purpose is to have fun. And you can (and should) try chancy shots that you would probably avoid in a tournament.

So, what then makes casual pétanque so enjoyable?
First of all, there need to be a good interaction between players. To have fun, all people need to be like-minded and have a good sense of humor. Light bantering, the playful exchange of light remarks, is the seasoning that makes the game entertaining.

Originally, pétanque was a leisurely pastime played between cronies from the same village. It was usually done after lunch, in front of the local café or on the public square. The men (women were not included) played with a cigarette hanging from their lips or tucked behind the ear. They were competing for bragging rights and maybe a “tournée” (a round of drinks) after the game.

Casual games still exist, but very often the participants take themselves too seriously. They play to WIN. Nothing wrong with that, but winning without fun is like having caviar and Champagne without the dancing girls.

Keep in mind fellow “boulonautes” that most games are casual encounters, therefore there is no need to wear a formal outfit, play strictly by the rules and refrain from laughing. Joking (no too much) is part of the action. No laugh, no fun.

Fortunately, we are not playing Islamic pétanque.

Ayatollah Khomeini famously proclaimed: “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam.”

 Take this you Infidels!

Your goal while playing casual pétanque, is only to force your opponents to “kiss Fanny” and have a good laugh! Prudish losers by the way,  are allowed to kiss Fanny’s derrière with a blindfold.

See you on the field… and pack some laughs!


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