Not too long ago, out of the blue, a totally unexpected e-mail fluttered into my mailbox.
It was from a French-speaking Israeli who, wonder of wonders, happens to read my column.
(As you can see, my fame is now worldwide. Even camels know my name.)
This gentleman lives in a kibbutz, in the Negev desert.
There, besides herding sheep and cultivating the land, this fellow tells me that his “kibbutzniks” also play pétanque.
Who would have ever thought…?
I pressed my correspondent for more details and he referred me to an Israeli website.
My French and English are fairly decent, but my Hebrew is feeble (non-existent truth be told) and I found it rather difficult to navigate through the Hebrew reefs.
After making him aware of my problem, he redirected me to a YouTube video.
On this particular clip, a bunch of people is seen playing pétanque. But they are still speaking Hebrew (what did I expect?) and I still don’t understand a word of their jabbering.
After visioning additional YouTube clips though, I came to realize that pétanque is a popular game in Israel.
I checked the Israeli Pétanque Federation website and I discovered that they have 7 clubs in the North, 6 in the Center and 4 in the South, for a total of 17.
For reference, Northern California lists only 13 clubs.
Not bad for a country that is 20 times smaller than California and has a population of about 8 million people compared to 38 million for California!
But how good are these dudes?
Could they beat any of our local teams? Let’s not be cocky. History has taught us to never underestimate a little guy (David) facing a much bigger guy (Goliath).
Wouldn’t it be interesting to invite some of their players to come to California To settle this question?
Not so long ago, a big delegation from New Zealand came here and gave us a run for our money.
Could these dudes be as good as the Kiwis?
On the other hand, we could also consider sending some our people to the Land of Milk and Honey.
This could be an idea in search of a solution…