2012 Interclub tournament

A few days ago, I worried about the sad state of our pétanque field, and about who would volunteer to help cleaning a terrain almost totally smothered by a thick carpet of dead leaves.
I hate to say it, but I have lost faith in the volunteering spirit of our club.
Driving by Saturday morning, I was happily surprised to see a field almost totally devoid of debris and dead leaves.
It seemed obvious that a good fairy came by, and with a wave of her magic wand she did what our club members have been unwilling to do.
But being of a skeptical nature though, I did some discrete investigation and I discovered that our benefactor was not a good fairy but some true-blue club members.
The good fairies who did the bulk of the job were in fact indefatigable Claudie Chourré, Charlie Davantes and a newcomer called Daniel ?.
They were assisted a day later by Fairy Helpers Liv Kraft, Helga Facchini and Emily Etcheverry. Yeah for the girls!
Club fairies, we owe you a big one!

John Morris, Lisa Vaughn, Kevin McGill

Back to the tournament.

I don’t know if it was due to a lack of promotion, but a fairly modest crowd showed up to participate in the 2012 Interclub tournament. We had a total of 40 contestants when a regular tournament usually gathers around 60 people. What is it? EPF? (Early Pétanque Fatigue).

And by the way, tournaments have rules.

The rule number one is to register in a timely manner. And forget the casual phone call. To make the organizers’ job easier, use e-mail. It is clear, succinct and fast. Simply state the number of people coming, spell their names properly and click on “send”. You are done.

Rule number two: be punctual. It is rude and unfair to everybody to hold a tournament hostage because of someone’s tardiness.
I look at a tournament like I look at planes or trains schedules. Regardless of your lame excuse, they will get going on time and so should tournaments.

The contestants of the 2012 Interclub tournament were:

La Pétanque Marinière: 16
Antonia Paulsen, Colette Van der Meulen, Tamara Efron, Alain Efron, Francois Moser, Eva Lofaro, Gilles Karpowicz, Claudie Chourré, Minette Etallaz, Jean-Claude Etallaz, Henry Wessell, Emily Etcheverry, Jean Etcheverry, Mireille Di Maio, Rene Di Maio

Valley of the Moon: 6
Joe La Torre, Maggie Lane, Barbara Hall, Holly Sammons, Jean-Michel Poulnot, Bernard Passmar

La Boule d’Or: 6
Luc Pouget, Jean-Claude Bunand, Joss Krauer, John Krauer, Alain Gusella, Gustave Foucher

Petaluma Valley: 6
Ed Porto, Teri Sirico, Hans Kurz, Wolfie Kurz, Bleys Rose, Sabine Mattei

Sacramento: 6
Denyse Haney, Kevin McGill, John Morris, Lisa Vaughn, Marie Ann Curley, Pierre Bremont

The weather (always important) was good. A little chilly in the morning, but plenty of sunshine in the afternoon.
Coffee and croissants were served before the tournament started

The tournament was very efficiently managed by David Riffo. And I applaud his decision to have timed games. I think that too many people are taking an inordinate amount of time to ponder a playing strategy.
Three 13 points, 50 minutes games were played in the morning. After 50 minutes Dave blew his whistle and all games had to stop. Good move.

In the afternoon, the format of the tournament was changed from doublettes to triplettes.

The finalists were determined as usual, by a combination of wins and points accumulated during the morning games.

They were:

Marin 1:
Antoine Lofaro, Rene Di Maio, Jacques Sarafian

Marin 2:
Gilles Karpowicz, Mireille Di Maio, Tamara Efron

Barbara Hall, Holly Sammons, Jean-Michel (le Facteur) Poulnot

San Francisco:
Alain Gusella, Steve Paulsen, Gustave Foucher

Ed Porto, Bleys Rose, Wolfie Kurz

Kevin McGill, Lisa Vaughn, John Morris

The tournament blow by blow:

  • Marin 1 hammered Sonoma: 13/0
  • Petaluma clobbered San Francisco: 13/3
  • Marin 2 defeated Petaluma: 13/6
  • Sacramento eliminated Marin1: 13/12

Marin 1 (Antoine Lofaro, Rene Di Maio, Jacques Sarafian) was doing very well until its match against Sacramento.
Our guys were leading 12/8 and their victory seemed assured when a lucky (?) shot from Kevin McGill hit the cochonnet and send it flying.
Game over for Marin 1. Adieu veaux, vaches, cochons…

The final game opposed Marin 2 (Gilles Karpowicz, Mireille Di Maio, Tamara Efron) and Sacramento (Kevin McGill, Lisa Vaughn, John Morris).

Surprisingly enough, it turned out to be a lopsided contest. Due to superior pointing by Sacramento, Marin 2 was annihilated by a score of 13/2.
Sorry fellow Marinites and congratulations to Sacramento!


PS: To look at pictures of recent events, turn the sound on, click on the “Home” link at the top of the page, and click again on “My photos” located on the right side of the page. Enjoy.


Dédé, Part 2

All characters appearing in this essay are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


But first, he had to secure the services of one of these two fellows.

He knew that Le Gros Robert was a serious eater and he thought that he would be easier to seduce him than the Corsican, so he decided to approach him first.
Since Dédé’s wife was an excellent cook, he resolved to entice le Gros Robert through his stomach.
-Hey Robert, he asked him one day, do you like pheasant? I got a couple of them and if you are available next Sunday, I’d be happy to share them with you.

Le Gros Robert was a little surprised by this unexpected invitation, but he was not a man to pass up a good meal.
OK he said. Very kind of you. Thank you.
-What are friends for? My wife will be very pleased to see you, said Dédé grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Next, Dédé decided to focus his attention on a female partner.
Good female players were also well aware of their talents and as much in demand as their male counterparts. But they were also more difficult to read… and they could keep a grudge for a very longtime…
Damned women!

He approached Pauline first. She was an excellent player but she also had a sharp tongue.
-Hey Pauline, he said, you look good today. Is that a new haircut? If you were not married, I would make a pass at you.
-Dédé, if I didn’t know you any better, I would think that you meant it.
-I meant it Pauline, I meant it.
-OK Dédé, what do you want? You are not buttering me up for nothing… You must want something…
-Pauline you are unkind. Can’t a guy pay a compliment to a lady without having any second thought?
-A normal guy yes, but coming from you it sounds a little odd… So again, what is it that I have that you want?
-You are a little harsh Pauline… but since you ask… How would you like to play with me at the Cup tournament?
-The Cup?
-Yes Pauline, the Cup. I am looking for a good female partner and I thought of you first.
-I see.
-I’ll probably play with Le Gros Robert… If you join our team we’ll have a dynamite formation…
-Very kind of you, but I don’t care much for Le Gros Robert… and frankly Dédé you get on my nerves…
-How is that?
-You talk too much Dédé, and this is one of the reasons why I won’t play with you.
-Pauline, I promise to keep my mouth shut. Let bygones be bygones… play with me and you won’t regret it.
-No Dédé I am sorry… I won’t play with you!
-OK Pauline, I understand your reluctance to play with Le Gros Robert. But I am pretty sure that I can get the Corsican to play with us instead. You don’t have anything against him, do you?
-All right then, if I get the Corsican will you play with us?
-I don’t know… You caught me off guard…
-Don’t you want to win Pauline? Don’t you want to see your name on the Cup?
-All right, all right… if you get the Corsican, I’ll play with you guys.
-OK Pauline, it’s a deal. I’ll get Pasqualini. But promise to turn down any other proposition…
-I promise.
-You won’t be sorry Pauline, I promise you. The three of us will be unbeatable.

It had not been as hard as he thought, but now he would have to dump Le Gros Robert and entice the Corsican instead. After all, he had not formally asked the Gros Robert yet. He simply invited him for dinner.

But the Corsican was a touchy fellow, and any careless comment could be taken the wrong way. He would have to be very, very careful…

A few days later, he approached Pasqualini who was practicing his shooting on the pétanque field.
Dédé couldn’t help but admire the little fellow’s dexterity. I absolutely need to have him on my side, he thought.

Hey Nunzio, he called out, that was a great shot!
-Thank you.
-I wish I could shoot like you.
-It’s a question of practice. The more you practice and the better you’ll get at it.
-Still, it is a gift Nunzio, and you have it. By the way, how is your mother?
-She is fine. A little arthritis, but otherwise she is OK. Thank you for asking.
-Family is important Nunzio.
-Yes it is.

A little silence ensued.
After a while the Corsican stopped playing and asked:
-Do you want something Dédé?
-Me? No… I was just admiring your shooting… But actually yes…
-Yes. I wanted to ask you if you would be willing to play with me in the Cup Tournament?
-The Cup hé? You are not the first to come calling…
-Did somebody else ask you?
-What do you think Dédé? Am I not good enough?
-That’s not what I meant Nunzio… Everybody knows that you are a great shooter. But you should not play with just anybody… You need good partners. Guys you can count on…
-Like you maybe?
-Yes like me. I am a good player Nunzio, you know that. And I have already been asked…
-By whom?
-By whom? By Le Gros Robert for one.
-But I’d rather play with you. You and I are “paisanos” Nunzio, we understand each other…
-That’s true… but I have to think about it…
-Take your time Nunzio, take your time… but I need to know fairly shortly.
-If you are in hurry Dédé, you can go with le Gros Robert.
-But I’d rather play with you Nunzio.
-OK then, I’ll let you know in a few days.
-Capisco Nunzio, capisco.

Well, he thought, this guy is not a pushover. He knows his worth. I might have to sweeten the pot to get him to play with us. But what is his soft spot?

The Corsican was a rather ascetic fellow who had no known vices… I hate this kind of guys thought Dédé, but there must be a chink in his armor and I’ll find it. Everybody has a weakness, or a price.

To be continued…


Dead Leaves Festival

I prefer the word Autumn to the word Fall, but Fall better describes the post-summer period when aging leaves break off from trees and “fall” to the ground.

In Marin County, our pétanque field is protected from the sun by a dense canopy, but at the end of the summer our canopy disintegrates and dry leaves flutter down to earth.
For some it is a sight of beauty, but this new carpeting can also become a nuisance, especially when overrunning gardens or playpens.

And talking about this, our field is now entirely covered with a thick carpet of dead leaves and will need some sprucing up before our next tournament.

When I was a young lad, I remember how much fun it was playing in this carpet of colorful leaves. Later we would gather them in big piles and set them afire in a pagan-like ritual.
In California, I don’t believe that you are authorized to burn anything.
To dispose of leaves, you have to collect them and dump them in some obscure “dead leaves” cemetery.

Instead of coaxing club members to help cleaning the field, I envision a Dead Leaves Festival where people would be enticed to congregate and frolic among the autumn leaves.
We could even have something similar to a pillow fight… or the Spanish Tomatina Festival of Bunol where thousands of people assemble each year and pelt each other with overripe tomatoes. Wouldn’t that be fun?

The Dead Leaves Festival that I envision could feature munchies and glögg, and after kicking the leaves for a while (and being fortified by the glögg) our captive audience could easily be cajoled into grabbing a rake and helping to clean the field.

It is just a thought mind you, but it is easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar and I see great potential in this festival and its outcome.

What do ya say?