Most everybody in the Bay Area is aware that La Boule d’Or, the San Francisco pétanque club is in big trouble.
After years of glory, the second oldest club in the United States is on the verge of collapse.
It barely manages to attract a handful of players and its tournaments are sparsely attended.
It is obvious that the club needs help to stave off disaster.
But La Boule d’Or’s predicament is not unique.
Many pétanque clubs are steadily losing members and something needs to be done to counter this trend.
The problem in San Francisco and in Marin County is that these clubs were originally founded by native Frenchmen and attracted mainly French players.
Many of these old-timers passed away and practically none of their children (eager to conform with their American peers) took up that sport.
I said practically none because fortunately there are exceptions.
And the exceptions are Agnes and Gilbert Sonet.
Early on, this nice French couple instilled in their son Noah the love of pétanque. He started playing at 3 ½ and now at 11 he is already a remarkable player.
I predict that this boy will undoubtedly improve with age and soon be somebody to reckon with.
We need more people like Agnes and Gilbert… I think that we should look for ways to clone Noah.
But seriously… The only pétanque clubs thriving in America are clubs headed by younger Americans. And rightly so.
They have the savvy and the energy that many older French people don’t have anymore.
So what can we do to promote pétanque?
It seems to me that we need some incentive. We need to dangle some kind of carrot in front of youthful individuals to incite them to set foot on our fields.
What kind of carrot? I don’t know.
I leave it to you readers to provide answers. Let me know if you have a killer idea susceptible to snare potential recruits.
If you do, I am pretty sure that our club could find a nice way to reward the person with the best workable suggestion.
Get your brain in gear… On your mark, get set, go!
Let me start by paying tribute to the dedicated people who cleaned the field Saturday afternoon: Christine Cragg, Claudie Chourré, Helga Facchini, Antoine Lofaro, Charlie Davantes and Sabine Mattei.
Thank you very much to every one of you!
When you see any of these people, buy them a drink (or a lollipop) and give them 3 bonus points next time you play against them.
Back to the tournament.
Sunday was a mild day, bordering on the cool side. It was a little chilly in the morning and fair (with pesky gusts of wind) in the afternoon.
Registration closed at 9:30 a.m. meaning that people who lived outside the Bay Area had to get up pretty early to be there on time.
I am particularly thinking of the people from the Fresno Pétanque Club. It takes about three hours to come to Marin by car. This means that these people had probably to get up at 5:00 a.m. to be to the field on time.
This is what I call dedication to the game.
In the morning, warm coffee and croissants were available.
Forty-five (45) players, fifteen select triplettes registered to play. They were as follows:
Alain Marchand, Alain Efron, Evelyne Marchand
Charles Davantes, Helga Facchini, Liv Kraft
Henry Wessel, Dan Velasco, Calvert Barron
Bernard Passmar, J.M. Poulnot, Tamara Efron
By Vang, May Lee, Thomas Moua
Alain Gusella, Hendrik Idzerda, Minnette Etallaz
Steve Jones, Wolfgang Kurz, Christine Jones
George Zolinsky, Bill Hansen, Christine Cragg
Jean Claude Etallaz, J.C. Bunand, Sabine Matei
Etienne Rijkheer, Kevin Evoy, Carolina Jones
Frosty Sabo, Colette Van Der Meulen, Marcy Mallette
Paul Yang, Jer Thao, Chong Xiong
Patrick Vaslet, Hans Kurz, Holly Sammons
Barbara Hall, Erin McTaggart, Narin Garrett
Fue Vang, Nicolas Yang, Michel Yang
Three 13 points games (not timed) were played before lunch. In my opinion it is too much.
My team finished its third game at 1:30 p.m. (we were starved) and we had to restart playing shortly after that.
We need to start playing earlier (logistically difficult for some people) or strictly enforce a time limit for each pre-concours game.
After lunch, 8 teams qualified for the Concours and 7 teams for the Consolante.
After a successful morning run, my team was eliminated shortly after lunch and this gave me a chance to take a few pictures.
Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to use a long lens in a shaded environment. The photos you will see are the best I could produce under these conditions.
(Your comments are always welcome).
At the end of day (around 5:00 p.m.) the final results were as follows:
2nd Place: Paul Yang, Jer Thao, Chong Xiong – $ 69.00 ($23 ea)
3rd Place:By Vang, May Lee, Thomas Moua – $42.00 ($14 ea)
As you can see, the Fresno club did extremely well (2nd and 3rd place) and Paul Yang’s team lost to Sonoma only by a hair (12/13). Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and thank you all for making such a long trip to play with us.
1st Place:Frosty Sabo, Marcy Mallette, Colette Van Der Meulen – $14.00 ea 2nd Place: Bernard Passmar, J.M. Poulnot, Tamara Efron – $10.00 ea
Another great pétanque day.
Thank you Pétanque Marinière and thank you all for coming to play in Marin’s sandbox.
PS: To look at pictures of this event, 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.
Yesterday we drove to Lafayette to participate in the 2013 Northwest Regional 65 over/under tournament.
This is the time of the year when old geezers have a good excuse to hit on young chicks.
The Lamorinda Pétanque Club hosted the tournament and as usual it was a class act. Etienne Rijkheer, Carolina Jones, Bill Hansen, Carlos Couto and Rosa the dog did a bang-up job to make everybody feel comfortable and welcome.
Croissants and coffee were served and, sparing no expenses, Lamorinda even sprung for a portable potty. As I told you, a class act!
As a veteran of foreign wars, I was invited by Shannon Bowman to team up with her for this tournament. Despite a still sore right foot I couldn’t refuse her invitation and agreed to fly with her as her wingman.
Twenty-two teams competed in this event and they were are as follows:
Peter Mathis/Carolina Jones
Shannon Bowman/Alain Efron
Bernard Passmar/Emily Etcheverry
Liv Kraft/Kevin Evoy
Jean-Michel Poulnot/Sabine mattei
Patrick Vaslet/Holly Sammons
Ed Porto/Denyse Haney
David Riffo/Dollzee Austin
Rene Di Maio/Tamara Efron
Antoine Lofaro/Danielle Gusella
Barbara Hall/Gustave Foucher
Henry Wessel/Calvert Barron
Bill Hansen/Chrsitine Cragg
Jean-Claude Bunand/Mireille Di Maio
Carlos Couto/Minette Etallaz
Jean-Claude Etallaz/Colette Van Der Meulen
Simone Furlan/John Morris
Frank Haney/Helene McGill
Robert Belforte/Beth Lysten
Alain Gusella/Eva Lofaro
Jocelyne Krauer/Mickey Coughlin
Three 13 points games were played before lunch to separate the hot shots from the mere humans and to determine who would play in the Concours and would frolic in the Consolante.
We qualified for the Concours thanks to Shannon great shooting job.
In the morning, in our 1st game we beat Christine Cragg and Bill Hansen: 13-8
In our 2nd game we beat Simone Furlan and John Morris: 13-9
In our 3rd game we beat Beth Lysten And Robert Belforte: 13-6
I need to reiterate that Shannon’s shooting greatly helped our cause.
Around noon, everybody stopped for a bite and Jean-Claude Etallaz became the unfortunate victim of some hungry (or angry) insect.
He was stung by some critter and his arm swell alarmingly. See picture.
But J-C is a tough guy and it was not him who suffered the most. We believe that the insect paid this unprovoked attack with its life.
After lunch, in the Concours Shannon and I faced Frank Haney and Helene McGill. We beat them 13-5
In our fifth game we came across ta-dah! Mickey (the Terminator) Coughlin and
In spite of our spirited resistance, Mickey shelled our positions mercilessly and defeated us: 9-13
The end of the tournament for us.
In the finals Mickey Coughlin (the same evil one) and Jocelyne Jrauer faced Patrick Vaslet and Holly Sammons.
To everybody’s surprise, Mickey and Jocelyne got off to a very bad start.
They kept losing “mène” after “mène” and at one time, they were led 1-10.
It looked like it was going to end up in a humiliating defeat for the Terminator.
But little by little, due mainly to Mickey’s fantastic shooting, his team narrowed the gap to a respectable 8/11.
They finally lost the game and the tournament 10/13.
The last game was essentially a “mano a mano” contest between Mickey and Holly Sammons who did an absolutely marvelous job of pointing. Most of her balls were right up to the cochonnet.
Mickey kept shooting but Holly kept pointing, and scoring.
With an assist from Patrick they finally defeated the Beast.
If ever Mickey teamed up with Holly they would be invincible.
FINAL RESULTS (provided by Etienne Rijkheer)
Concours: final score 13/10
1st Place:Patrick Vaslet and Holly Sammons, (both of Valley of the Moon Petanque Club) 2nd Place:Jocelyne Krauer (La Boule d’Or) and Mickey Coughlin (Redwood Empire Boules Club) 3rd Place:Peter Mathis (Valley of the Moon Petanque Club) and Carolina Jones (Lamorinda Petanque Club) 4th Place:Bernard Passmar (Valley of the Moon Petanque Club) and Emily Etcheverry (La Petanque Mariniere)
Consolante: final score 13/9
1st Place:John Morris and Simone Furlan (Both of Club Français de Sacramento) 2nd Place:Jean-Claude Bunand (La Boule d’Or) and Mireille DiMaio (La Pétanque Marinière) 3rd Place: Barbara Hall (Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club) and the venerable Gustave Foucher (La Boule d’Or).
Great tournament, great organization.
Thank you Etienne, Rosa and the entire Lamorinda team!
PS: To look at pictures of this event, turn the sound on, and click on “My photos” located under BLOGROLL on the right side of the page.