2023 NorCal Regional Select Triples

Sunday morning, I arrived at the field around 8:30 am hoping to find some relatively easy parking, but I was in for a shock. Due to some flea-market event, our parking lot was chockfull of vehicles, often parked in a very irresponsible manner. I finally managed to find an available parking slot and entered the pétanque field.

Fourteen (14) teams had signed up for the event and most of the players were already actively practicing on the terrain. By this time, it was already warm, and it got much warmer as the day went by. There was plenty of sunshine and everybody was grateful for the shade provided by our great trees. Everybody but me. Shade is wonderful when you are playing, but it makes it very hard for a photographer and greatly affects the quality of his pictures.

Nevertheless, I started shooting early, as my union requires it. Then suddenly, around 11:30 am, my camera’s battery conked out. It greatly surprised me because usually, I can shoot most of the day with a single battery. I then inserted a spare battery in the camera and continued shooting.

Most of the people stopped playing after 2 games and took a break for lunch. But a great number of wasps heard about it and were at the rendez-vous. These pesky little guys have an extraordinary sense of smell and came by the dozens. It became almost impossible to stay seated at the table. Where were the yellow-jacket traps?

After lunch, I witnessed the merciless slaughtering (13/1) of the Pierce/Marcovecchio/McPhee LPM team by Vang/Choulamany/Bissonette, a well-known Fresno gang. The assassins showed no remorse for their deed.

In the afternoon, my second camera battery also gave up, which again surprised me greatly. Intrigued by this unusual series of events, I consulted the Internet and discovered that “Battery life is reduced at higher temperatures – for every 15 degrees F over 77, battery life is cut in half.”  Now you know.

I also watched in its entirety the Concours Semi-finals between the Mathis team and Phomenick’s trio. Phomenick is an awesome shooter and it started very badly for Peter’s team. They were led 0/9 mid-game and it looked like his team was headed for a resounding fanny.

Then at 0/11 Mathis and his guys dug their heels and started a slow comeback. It was like Lazarus raised from the dead. To everybody surprise, Peter, Dave, and Bill managed to win the game by the astounding score of 13/12. Moral of the story: you are not completely dead until the lid is nailed to your coffin.

The Concours’s Finals proved also very interesting but never reached the dramatics of the semifinals. Janice, By Vang, and Choulamany played very well but could not stop Peter’s resurrected and rejuvenated team. Final score: 13/9 for Mathis’s formation.

1st place: Peter Mathis/Dave Lanter/Bill Miller  $126.00 ea
2nd place: By Vang/J. Bissonette/K. Choulamany $105.00 ea
3rd place: Phomenick Lee/Mike Lee/ Pao Ly  $84.00 ea Continue reading “2023 NorCal Regional Select Triples”

Qui se ressemble, s’assemble ?

Il y a un vieux dicton français qui dit « Qui se ressemble, s’assemble. » mais est-ce bien vrai ?

Il n’y a aucun doute que généralement, les jeunes préfèrent la compagnie de leurs pairs, mais les « vieux » préfèrent-ils s’associer avec leurs semblables ? Et bien, il semble que ce n’est pas toujours le cas. Je me souviens d’un octogénaire qui disait souvent (sans rire) « je n’aime pas jouer avec des vieux. »

Cette personne disait donc, je n’aime pas m’associer avec des personnes âgées. Elles sont ennuyeuses et déprimantes… et surtout, elles sont une réflexion de ce que je suis ou de ce que je serai dans quelques années.
S’associer à des vieux ? « Qui couche avec des chiens se lève avec des puces. »

Dans notre société, il est presque honteux de vieillir, et des sommes pharamineuses sont dépensées régulièrement pour essayer d’enrayer cet affreux processus. L’âge est comme est comme un stock désuet qui perd lentement de sa valeur au fil des années. Il ne faut donc pas vieillir, tout au moins mentalement, et accepter cette évolution stoïquement.

La plupart des gens sont généralement critiques. Toute personne rencontrée au hasard de la vie est jugée… et cette opinion est classée consciemment ou inconsciemment dans un fichier secret. Truc Machin, pas un mauvais gars, mais pas marrant du tout.

Il est vrai cependant que certains « croulants » ne sont pas aussi amusants et dynamiques que les adolescents, mais sont-ils vraiment « ennuyeux comme la pluie ? »

Cela dépend évidemment de chaque individuel, mais les « vieux » sont souvent plus lents et moins porté à la plaisanterie. Tout comme on est conquis par la beauté et le parfum d’une fleur, on est tous attiré par la fraicheur et la joie de vivre des jeunes. Pour beaucoup, s’associer à leurs jeux est souvent comme un bain de jeunesse, une cure de Jouvence.

Cet échange cependant marche dans les deux sens. Pour les personnes âgées, c’est une façon de « rester dans le coup », et pour les jeunes, une occasion de bénéficier de l’expérience des anciens.

Morale de l’histoire : ne vous baricaddez pas dans vos habitudes. Il existe un autre monde au-delà de votre cercle d’amis et de votre famille. Ne manquez jamais de vous associer avec des gens différents. Tout comme dans une alliance commerciale ou militaire, les deux cotés bénéficieront de cette coopération.

Alain Continue reading “Qui se ressemble, s’assemble ?”

Santa Rosa extravaganza

It was around 90° F yesterday in Santa Rosa, but the blazing heat didn’t prevent some pétanque aficionados to gather up and indulge in their favorite pastime.

Jean-Michel Poulnot and Ellen Leznik had invited a few friends for a potluck lunch spiced up by “une partie de boules”, and few people declined the invitation.

We were summoned to show up at 10:00 am for our first game and we did. Jean-Michel is fortunate to possess a large vegetable garden where he managed to set up a very nice little pétanque court, very propitious to a few games.

He is also a very organized individual, and, in a few minutes, he divided us into 4 separate teams. Two games took place before lunch and two games after lunch. The morning games were not too demanding, but in the afternoon, due to the increased heat, the task proved a tad more challenging. Unlike our blessed field in San Rafael, his little court provides no shade, and in the afternoon, only “mad dogs and Englishmen (dare to) go out in the midday sun.”

To make it even more challenging, the small court, due to the nature of its topsoil, is eminently tricky, and a boule will seldom go where it is told to go.

Nevertheless, everything went according to plan, and we stopped at noon for lunch. Everybody had been very generous and brought plenty of food. When it is hot though, I am never inclined to eat (particularly hot food) so I bid my time and waited for dessert, particularly for a cool fruit salad and ice cream. The least I could say is that it was a very decadent and wicked lunch, bearing striking similarities to a Roman Bacchanalia.

Jean-Michel supplied lots of beverages and regaled us with a mandatory, late version of La Marseillaise. His singing was so inspiring that everybody felt ready (as the lyrics demand) to take arms and defend the homeland. This yearly ritual is also very useful for expats, to practice a hymn that we were taught at a very early age and that we might otherwise (God forbid) forget.

The contest resumed in the afternoon with the following results:

1st place: Tamara Efron and Francois Piccin
2nd place: Bernard Passemar, Antoine Lofaro, and Jack?
3rd place: J-Michel Poulnot, Christine Piccin and Pia Coyle
4th place: Alain Efron and John Coyle

Thank you, Jean-Michel and Ellen, for a great day filled with fun and camaraderie.


PS: Please enjoy these few pictures


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