The official Pétanque rules specify that a next throw must be made within a minute of the previous throw or completion of any necessary measurement. “Use that minute,” B.W. Putnam urges. “Deliberately walk the line and choose your donnée (landing spot). Enter the rond, visualize the throw, take a few deep breaths, and throw with confidence and joy.”

Americans in particular seem to feel compelled to jump into the throwing circle and fire off a quick throw according Putnam, author of “Pétanque: The Greatest Game You Never Heard Of.” But the disciplined, intentionally leisurely rate of playing the game is an essential element of pétanque. Besides pure personal enjoyment of the relaxed pace, “pétanque demands time to form strategy and intent.” Few elements of the game provide more challenge and contemplative satisfaction than “savoring that moment” of being alone in the circle before making each throw.

Playing too quickly short circuits the mental effort required to shut out distractions and focus completely on “strategy and intent.” Fast play is actually a lazy approach to the game because it undermines good technique. “Get lazy,” Putnam admonishes, “and you’ll make bad throws.”

French ex-pats established the first Brazilian pétanque club in Salvador de Bahia in 2016. New clubs soon formed in Rio, Fortaleza, São Paulo, and Brasilia. A rapid growth of interest led to the first-ever Brazilian national Pétanque tournament on January 31. Sixteen teams made up of Brazilian players of many ethnicities competed – in southern hemisphere summer heat of 95 degrees!
According to an enthusiastic account of the successful tournament in Le Petit Journal de Rio, organizer Philippe Lebiannic has put out the call to “all Cariocas” to become what he affectionately calls “pétancoeurs.” “Why not import pétanque and pastis to the land of football and cachaça?” Lebiannic asks, urging Brazilians to “continue to come together to promote this beautiful discipline, which seduces beyond borders and nationalities.”

Club play remains suspended due to the Health Order but player-arranged pickup games continue under the posted Reopening Rules on the Oakmont courts between Berger and the OVA offices/Umpqua Bank.

Those using the courts are reminded to keep a minimum of 6 feet social distance at all times and to bring and use their own equipment, face covering and hand sanitizer. Masks covering mouth and nose should be worn at all times. Gatherings before and after games are prohibited.

The Club will announce when it will officially resume sponsorship of open, random team selection Club Play in the regularly scheduled 9:45 a.m. – noon time slot on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Our first 2021 tourney, the Bastille Day Tournament, is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.

Image: Jeff Clemence

“In the circle,” Jeff Clemence pauses to contemplate the “strategy and intent” of his next throw.

Image: Young boy playing Pétanque

Focusing “in the circle” starts young in Brazil. (photo by Pétanque Brasilia)


Oakmont’s Own More Joy

Back again by popular demand, Oakmont’s beloved hometown group with songs from our past that will make you laugh and cry in the same concert. More Joy is a deep and delightful quartet of artists that weave amazing harmonies throughout a broad selection of folk, country, blues and beyond.

Comedy Show at OAK

Laugh along with Steph and Tom Clark and San Franciscan Dan St. Paul about married life and getting older

Ghostly Night

Boomers Ghostly Night with the Neon Playboys – October 29 at Berger Center at 5:00 with music at 6:30