By Friday afternoon, the 24th, the courts were full of players learning the lay of the terrain, and Lamorinda Club volunteers were setting up for the next two days of competition.
Players from all over, New York, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Oregon, Washington, and of course, California, arrived in high spirits, there were lots of bear hugs as acquaintances were renewed and all looked forward to playing against the best the FPUSA has to offer.
The Lamorinda Club had been preparing for months and the organization was impeccable. String lines dividing the courts were taut, lumber had been laid to stop errant boules, the tournament format had been set, days-end snacks were set to arrive on time, a non-playing umpire, Antoine Lofaro, was ready to measure and give rulings, and Tournament Director Etienne with the support of Club President Bill Hansen, had his play sheets of the team match-ups ready to go. Our sincere and profuse thanks to the club and its volunteers for giving the FPUSA and its players such an enjoyable weekend!
Ed Porto, FPUSA Sport Director makes opening announcements
After team captains reported to the control table Saturday morning and players blitzed through the continental breakfast, play began promptly at 9AM. There were 5 random games that day on assigned courts. Chatter fell off and serious boules work began and continued for the rest of the day, interrupted only by a delicious lunch offered on site by the club as part of the registration.
At the end of the day, the 12 teams with the most wins and best point spreads were slotted into the concours tournament for Sunday's concluding games. The other 8 teams were entered into the Federation Cup, a tournament also open to players who had not come to compete in the Qualification tournament.
By Sunday morning, the 12 teams in the Concours began play in 4 pools of three teams each. Top seeded teams based on the previous day's results were given a 1st round bye and the remaining 8 teams played in their pools. A team losing two games was eliminated and by mid-afternoon, the best 8 teams began the single elimination run to the winner's circle, quarter finals, semi-finals, and the Final. It had been decided that the losing teams of the semi-finals would both receive 3rd place medals and there would be a final match for 1st and 2nd places.
The final match then, was between the New York Petanque Club team (see full names and clubs in the results list below) of Eric, Xavier, and Jean-Pierre, and the team composed of Pascal, Juan, and Ziggy. A double wide court, previously not played on that day by these teams was prepared and after the coin toss, the jack was set and play began.
It soon became apparent that putting in a good point was going to be determinant in this game. Players struggled to get one in, sometimes the points were long, and other times short. The two shooters on each team rarely missed, lots of crowd pleasing, applause getting, hits of steel on steel, followed, and this put pressure on the pointers to get another point in.
The team of Juan, Pascal, and Ziggy soon started to run up a lead after starting strong. The other team managed points here and there, but they couldn't make their count get past 5 points and soon it was 12-5, and then one more end made it 13-5. We had our winners!
Players were back slapping and hugging and sharing the excitement with any and all. The jubilant winners were ecstatic they had won, especially since this was the first time the three of them had played together as a triple. But petanque is that way, isn't it?
While hundreds of photos of combinations of players were being embedded on countless memory cards, volunteers were carrying wine and snacks on trays to appreciative players. it was a gratifying end to a perfect two days of competition.
The next Pan Am Qualification Tournament will be scheduled for 2013 to pick the team for the 2014 World Games somewhere on our globe, our big blue marble. See, even the world is just a boule, though a huge one.
See you at the next one!
Here are many more photos! https://picasaweb.google.com/Juankydotcom/PanAmQualifier2011#
FPUSA Pan American Qualification Tournament Results
Juan Garcia (captain) (Boca Pétanque 2000)
Ziggy Kessouagni (Chicago Pétanque Club)
Pascal Corchia (la Boule Du Desert)
Eric Bertin (captain) (New York Pétanque Club)
Xavier Thibaud (New York Pétanque Club)
Jean-Pierre Subrenat (New York Pétanque Club)
Joint Third Place
Ernesto Santos (captain) (La Boule New Yorkaise)
Alec Stone Sweet (La Boule New Yorkaise)
Richard Meas (La Boule New Yorkaise)
Peter Mathis (captain) (Redwood Empire Boules Club)
PJ Mallette (Portland Pétanque Club)
Mickey Coughlin (Redwood Empire Boules Club)
FPUSA Federation Cup Tournament
Philippe Agnesse (captain) (Portland Pétanque Club)
Antony Nguyen (Portland Pétanque Club)
Lavant Woolfe (Portland Pétanque Club)
Narin Garrett (captain) (Redwood Empire Boules Club)
Peter Wellington (Redwood Empire Boules Club)
Erin McTaggart (Rewood Empire Boules Club)
Peter Paul Montague (captain) (Rogue Bouligans)
Paul Porter (Rogue Bouligans)
Brian Barton (Rogue Bouligans)
Federation Cup Consolante
Winners- Joe Martin(captain),
Joe Cortright (all Portland Petanque Club)