Florida has more than alligators, it has petanque, too!
It was a huge but very pleasant shock for a Northwest player like me to be transported from tossing boules onto rain soaked courts, dressed in jackets and sweaters, to playing our favorite game in 75 degree short sleeve weather on courts shaded from the sun by live oak and pine trees, but Joe Cortright and I had just that experience over the weekend.
Just last Saturday, on the home courts of the Sarasota Petanque Club, in a county park on the edge of town, a bunch of players, some from the West Coast, and some from the Northeast, joined up with our Sarasota fellow players for the FPUSA National Doubles weekend.
On Saturday, the Mixed Doubles began. It was a long day of matches on very difficult courts, hard surfaced and unforgiving, very smooth, but not at all level. Lots of pointing one or even two feet deflected from the cochonnet just to try to get the boule ending up close to it.Boules made a "thunk" when landing and almost always rolled past the cochonnet in spite of strenuous efforts to keep them in front. A close point was worth gold, and it was devilishly tricky to get another one in. Shots had to be made judiciously since shooting out a close boule holding the point often left the next best boule 2 or even 3 feet away. Many games advanced one point at a time.
(from L to R, Juan, Eliane, John, Marieke, Joe, Mary Jane)
The tournament banquet immediately followed the end of the first day's matches and featured a perfectly roasted prime rib prepared by Sarasota club player-chefs.
The next day it was the men's doubles and women's doubles going on at the same time. Games were again underway and Joe and I tried to do at least as well as he had done the day before, when he and Mary Jane (from the Oakhurst Club) had come in 2nd just behind John and Marieke Rolland.
Players were so intent on reading the terrain and controlling their boules, that the courts were oddly silent, very little talking. One only heard boules clicking as they nudged others on the way toward the jack, and the occasional "crack" of a successful shot. By late afternoon, most players were eliminated and were seeeking out seats to watch the final matches.
The last match of the day for the men's championship was played on the "carré d'honneur", a very hard, sloping court, humped at one end, where the players were often dismayed to see a seemingly perfectly pointed boule almost stop on the jack, but then continue to roll slowly, almost imperceptibly away and out of play.
Juan and Mamary won the men's doubles in a well contested match with Gilles and Jean Jaques, and a couple of very good players from Sarasota took the women's doubles.
(from L to R, Gilles, Jean Jaques, Juan, Mamary, David, Salem)
(from L to R, Raquel, Marieke, Jackie, Monique, Marinette, Renee)
All the players departed greatly appreciative of the wonderful hospitality and well organized efforts of our fellow Sarasota friends and players.
See the link below for a complete photo view of the weekend.
Joe Martin with assistance from Juan Garcia
National Mixed Doubles
1st Place John Roland and Marieke Roland
2nd Place Joe Cortright and Mary Jane Campbell
3rd Place Juan Garcia and Eliane Matt
National Women's Double
1st Place Jackie Plessas and Monique Rouillon
2nd Place Marieke Roland and Raquel Garcia
3rd Place Renee Bax and Marinette
National Men's Doubles
1st Place Juan Garcia and Mamary Coulibaly
2nd Place Gilles Canesse and Jean Jacques Rouillon
3rd Place Salem and David Bloom
Click on this Link to View the Pictures: