Parc Ferland, Quebec City,
Some will recognize right away that Kebekwa is the phonetic spelling of Québécois, and is now the name of the pro basketball team in Québec City (the "Kebs"), but it also describes the nationality of most of the 70+ teams of men and women who competed this last weekend in the first "Marseillaise of the Ville de Québec".
Friendlier players won't be found and they quickly showed what good hosts they were too, for the 3 Japanese teams, and the 6 teams with Americans on them.
(the 3 Japanese teams and the Ricard representatives)
A small park just a few short minutes from the Vieux Québec tourist district was set with a large circus tent, a number of smaller "pop-ups", and 32 courts, all ready for two days of serious petanque, some relaxed socializing while sipping some of Ricard's best "jaune", a couple of fine catered lunches, and a bang up dinner and awards presentation that had most of us in bed by midnight Sunday.
La Boule New Yorkaise teams enjoy a yummy lunch (seated at the table on the right)
Courts were just 3 meters by 15, but they played well, small gravel, firm underneath, and shots could be either "a la rafle" or precisely "au fer", otherwise they would bounce. One did have to be careful not to stand in another team's playing area, and, once in a while, a jack would get kicked into another court, but teams waited courteously while the end finished. The organization was flawless and with 32 teams in the Sunday consolantes, two of them were run simultaneously while the concours was also played.
About 20 volunteers from local clubs made sure lunch tickets were doled out, teams located, and all questions answered, mostly in French, but there were ample numbers of English speakers.
Young ladies from Ricard were handing out free samples of the traditional pastis drink and a newer one featuring cranberry juice with a squeeze of lemon. Very nice, you say? Yes, it was.
The final match on Sunday, played on well lighted courts, featured two Québec teams playing to 15 points surrounded by appreciative spectators on bleachers. It was back and forth until one team composed of Yanic, Mario, and "Domi" had come from behind to make the score 12-10. Yanic's team had 3 boules in hand and the point. The other team had one boule left and shot at the boule holding the point hoping to bring their others on the ground, back in, but, as luck would have it, hit the jack instead, popping it out and giving three points and victory to Yanic's team.
(the final, Yanic, Mario, and "Domi" in blue and white)
Three teams with Americans on them finished in the money. David from Chicago came to the tournament hoping to be matched up and was put with two Québec players and finished 14th out of 16 in the concours. John Rolland, our former FPUSA president, also playing with two Québecois finished second in one of the consolantes, and, the team of Robert Pierre, Diana Jacobs, and Joe Martin, finished 2nd in the other consolante. The other 3 American teams, all from LBNY, were waylaid before reaching a final of some sort.
(one of the money teams, left to right, Robert, Diana, and Joe)
(LBNY appears in force)
In one of the many "tombolas" or lotteries conducted during the weekend, Jean Pierre Subrenat won a nice set of Obut boules.
Those Canadians do play a good game and Québec feels like France, so if Europe airfares and prices are too discouraging, think of our friends to the north of us.
see you on the courts,