3rd Annual Women’s Pétanque Day
Yesterday, I went to the field to play a little pétanque, but mainly to cover the 3rd Annual Women’s Pétanque Day.
Driven by my (adopted) sister Ann Krilanovich, this event proved very popular and was very successful. Ultimately, about 20 ladies responded to Ann’s call to arms and came to compete and enjoy the day. And enjoyed they did.
Entirely organized and run by women, this event is here to stay and will become even more popular as time goes by. I believe that yesterday, women outnumbered men almost by 2 to 1, and men prudently chose to remain aside to mind their own business.
However, the women proved to be unselfish and graciously offered to share their goods with the male population. The mood was very festive, but I refused to kiss or embrace anybody. A recent little bout with COVID made me a little skittish, and for a while, I will avoid all unnecessary close contact with my fellow pétanquers. Sorry ladies, but I am temporarily off-limits.
Besides fulfilling my duties as a highly paid-paparazzo, I also played a few games with the guys. I ended up teaming up with Eddy and facing John-Philip and Antoine, both excellent players.
To sum it up, it was an excellent day, enjoyed without a doubt by everybody present.
Thank you, Ann (and Christine) for putting together such a great event.
September 10, 2023 - LPM Commemerative Cup
Dylan Maringolo & Wissal El Mahmoudi
Ann Krilanovich & Ed Porto
Shared 1st & 2nd Place:
Colin Kennedy & Loel McPhee /
Joe & Sara Danielson
with mascot Remy
We missed our intrepid reporter and staff photographer, Alain Efron, with his always informative and entertaining tournament report accompanied by great action shots depicting the day’s friendly but often intense competition. While I do not expect this report to be as finely crafted as his, I didn’t want to let our annual Commemorative Cup pass without reporting the results and I thank Eddy Pay for taking the award’s photos along with a few videos capturing some excellent plays.
The day began with battles in the parking lot. The French Market has been relocated to the east end of our parking lot because of construction at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium complex. I arrived before 7AM to find trucks and cars already parked at our end of the lot. The sign I posted in an attempt to save parking for players made no difference at all. I needed to be setting up for the tournament but found myself in the parking lot telling people they could not park in the few remaining spaces. When one woman grimaced at my suggestion that she park up on Civic Center Drive, I told her the exercise would be good for her. She drove off in a huff and I decided it was time to ask Larry to man the lot. It wasn’t a fun job, but he did the best he could to keep shoppers from parking, saving a few places for our group.
With 13 teams on the roster, and a male player arriving on time but needing a partner, we started trying to find a woman who could get to the terrain quickly. Many thanks to Emily Etcheverry who, when I asked how soon she could get there, responded, I need to put my shoes on. She arrived during the announcements where we welcomed new LPM members Joe and Elizabeth who bravely jumped into the select competition after only one session of lessons, and Dylan and Wissel, new members of la Boule D’Or, playing their first LPM tournament, but quickly proving they are not new to pétanque. Soon games had begun with an even field of 14 teams.
The usual three timed qualifying games were played before lunch. Thank you Shama for the great job of managing the score table and Bleys for serving as our non-playing umpire. After lunch 8 teams went to Concours and 6 to Consolante. Louis and I weren’t playing our best and so ended up in the Consolante—but enjoyed a long, fun and hard-fought game against Joe and Sara Danielson. We ended up with a 12-13 loss, in time to see the last part of the Finals.
Joe and Sara were to play Loel and Colin to determine Consolante first and second place but mutually agreed that watching the exciting Finals game would be more fun. As the sun dropped lower in the sky, we gathered around to watch Ed and Ann play Dylan and Wissel in a challenging and entertaining match—the crowd cheering for every great shot, regardless of the team. With a 13/7 win, Dylan and Wissel will have their names engraved on the trophy.
Before I sign off, I want to thank the members who worked Saturday to get the terrain ready, Mark, Sandra, John-Philip, Sara, Joe, Shama, Eddy, Beth, Loel, Colin, Tamara – and please forgive me if I have missed someone. Plus Joe and Sara for shopping for morning and awards snacks, Noel for bringing the prize wine, the Danielsons, Shirkeys, Larry and Shama for arriving early to help with setting up plus a last bit of raking—and at the end of the day, the Shirkeys and Danielsons and all others who helped with putting it all away.
It was a lovely day of competitive but friendly pétanque. Thanks to all who came to play.
Awards photos courtesy of Eddy Pay
August 13, 2023 - FPUSA NorCal Regional Select Triples
Peter Mathis/Dave Lanter/Bill Miller
K. Choulamany/J. Bissonette/By Vang
Pao Ly/Phomenick Lee/Mike Lee
Wolfie Kurz/Holly Sammons/Hans Kurz
Mark Shirkey/Sandra Shirky/Mike O’Leary
Sunday morning, I arrived at the field around 8:30 am hoping to find some relatively easy parking, but I was in for a shock. Due to some flea-market event, our parking lot was chockfull of vehicles, often parked in a very irresponsible manner. I finally managed to find an available parking slot and entered the pétanque field.
Fourteen (14) teams had signed up for the event and most of the players were already actively practicing on the terrain. By this time, it was already warm, and it got much warmer as the day went by. There was plenty of sunshine and everybody was grateful for the shade provided by our great trees. Everybody but me. Shade is wonderful when you are playing, but it makes it very hard for a photographer and greatly affects the quality of his pictures.
Nevertheless, I started shooting early, as my union requires it. Then suddenly, around 11:30 am, my camera’s battery conked out. It greatly surprised me because usually, I can shoot most of the day with a single battery. I then inserted a spare battery in the camera and continued shooting.
Most of the people stopped playing after 2 games and took a break for lunch. But a great number of wasps heard about it and were at the rendez-vous. These pesky little guys have an extraordinary sense of smell and came by the dozens. It became almost impossible to stay seated at the table. Where were the yellow-jacket traps?
After lunch, I witnessed the merciless slaughtering (13/1) of the Pierce/Marcovecchio/McPhee LPM team by Vang/Choulamany/Bissonette, a well-known Fresno gang. The assassins showed no remorse for their deed.
In the afternoon, my second camera battery also gave up, which again surprised me greatly. Intrigued by this unusual series of events, I consulted the Internet and discovered that “Battery life is reduced at higher temperatures – for every 15 degrees F over 77, battery life is cut in half.” Now you know.
I also watched in its entirety the Concours Semi-finals between the Mathis team and Phomenick’s trio. Phomenick is an awesome shooter and it started very badly for Peter’s team. They were led 0/9 mid-game and it looked like his team was headed for a resounding fanny.
Then at 0/11 Mathis and his guys dug their heels and started a slow comeback. It was like Lazarus raised from the dead. To everybody surprise, Peter, Dave, and Bill managed to win the game by the astounding score of 13/12. Moral of the story: you are not completely dead until the lid is nailed to your coffin.
The Concours’s Finals proved also very interesting but never reached the dramatics of the semifinals. Janice, By Vang, and Choulamany played very well but could not stop Peter’s resurrected and rejuvenated team. Final score: 13/9 for Mathis’s formation.
July 9, 2023 Select Triples
By Vang, J. Bissonnette, K. Chounlamany
Brendan Cohen, Tim Wetzel, Tom Lee
Louis Toulon, Wolfie Kurz, Ed Porto
P. Moua, Tim Peppel, Krystal Pulsipher
T. Efron, N. Semenenko, N. Marcovecchio
If my memory serves me well (it is not always the case), the game of pétanque was born in the South of France, where the temperature is usually mild, and where people play in light, comfortable garments.
But yesterday, in Marin County this is not what happened. It was cold and windy for most of the day, and despite my five layers of clothing I still felt ill at ease. This @#^$** weather didn’t prevent players from all over the Bay Area to attend, but for me personally, it was definitely not my cup of tea.
Still, 16 teams (48 players) showed up, eager to compete and pocket vast amounts of cash. I was supposed to team up with my friends Francois and Serge, but at the very last minute, due to acute shoulder pain, Serge (Tamalou) Hanne had to opt out of the game.
Bleys Rose gracefully accepted to take his place and we were grateful for this, but being somewhat superstitious, I have always been averse to last-minute changes.
Despite this contretemps, we did fairly well and won 2 out of 3 games in the morning. But in the afternoon (having been selected to play in the Concours) we were quickly booted out of the tournament.
Even though nobody likes to lose, I was not greatly affected by this development. To me, pétanque and photography always go hand in hand. With the help of Sneaky Pete II, I devoted the rest of the afternoon to trying to capture interesting pictures. Pay close attention by the way to the electric pole and the woodpecker…
As usual, in this sort of tournament, you have a blend of heavyweight and light players, and soon or later, skills and experience will prevail. Yesterday, it became obvious very early that one team did not come all the way from Fresno to return empty-handed.
In the Concours Finals, By Vang, Kham Chounlamany, and Janice Bissonnette faced Tom Lee, Brendan Cohen and Tim Wetzel. The Fresno team showed great cohesion and skills, and very soon it was all over. The game ended fairly early by a score of 13/5 in favor of the Fresnans. Congratulations lady and gentlemen!
1st place: ($171 to team)
2nd place: ($144 to team)
3rd place: ($114 to team)
1st place: ($84 to team)
2nd place: ($57 to team)
June 11, 2023 - Select Doubles
Peter Mathis & Patrick Vaslet
Phominik Lee & Mone Lee
Dave Lanter & Dan Lanter
Hans Kurz & Wolf Kurz
Joe Danielson & Abby Danielson
What I will most remember about the San Rafael June 11th tournament was the frigid wind that swept the field for most of the day. We are in June for crying out loud and everybody should be in shorts and T-shirts. Some people (probably to their ever-lasting sorrow) were dressed that way and had to endure this ungodly weather all day.
The only exception to this predicament was Kevin Evoy who spent most of the day wearing shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt. Kevin is a great player, but in my book, he is nuttier than a five-pound fruitcake. Despite my 5 layers of clothing, I was still cold and shivering.
The second thing I will also remember is that, due to some unrelenting back pain, I had to forgo playing in this tournament. I really wanted to, but was truly incapable of doing so.
The third thing that bugged me that day was the light. For a photographer, light is everything and yesterday’s light was atrocious. Specs of sunshine filtering through the trees, projecting uneven dark spots all over the field… A photographer’s nightmare. You will undoubtedly notice this in the quality of the photographs. But don’t blame me, blame the weatherman.
Otherwise, everything was great. Twenty-two (22) double teams registered to play and the whole thing had the feeling of a family affair.
A very pleasant surprise was the appearance of Jean-Claude Etallaz, who after many months of a deeply distressing experience, jumped back on the saddle and registered to play. We are extremely pleased by this development and hope to see him regularly on our field again. Welcome back Jean-Claude (and Minette) and thank you for your delicious apricot tart.
With Christine Cragg still luxuriating in France, Mike O’Leary, Sara Danielson and Shama Kota-Gutheti took over and ran the tournament… and they did an excellent job.
Thank you, guys, for your great support.
As usual, 3 games were played before lunch, and in the afternoon elimination games took place to separate the journeymen from the Stars.
I was busy most of the day taking photographs and the only game that I watched in its
entirety was the Concours Finals.
Peter Mathis and Patrick Vaslet faced Mone Lee and Phominik Lee and since all these finalists were excellent players, we were treated to a great game. At the beginning of the match, Mone and Phominick took the lead, but shortly after, Peter and Patrick caught up with them and steadily increased their lead.
Everybody played extremely well. The pointers did a great job and so did the shooters, but after a while, the incredible pointing of Patrick Vaslet must have had some effect on the other team, and they started to lose control of the situation.
The final score was 13/6 in favor of Peter and Patrick, but every player deserved a medal. It was a great game and a great finish to a miserably cold day.
Louis Toulon & Nina Semenenko (assisted by Tamara Efron)
April 8, 2023 - Select Doubles
Louis Toulon & Ed Porto
Alain Efron & Bernard Passemar
Peter Wellington & Adair Hastings
Tim Wetzel & Holly Sammons
Shama & Noël Marcovecchio
Ted Bissell & Mike O’Leary
Yesterday, after weeks and weeks of torrential rain, the sky kind of cleared up and allowed us to hold a long overdue tournament. Forty (40) people showed up for this Select Doubles event and by 9:30 am things got underway.
At this point, I would like to recognize Ann Krilanovich for the tremendous job she has done in promoting our sport. Yesterday she brought along fresh-faced Bek Smith to our field, another one of her countless recruits, and she deserves to be acknowledged for her contribution to our common good. Ann, we salute you.
Since my shooting days are over, I secured a few weeks ago the partnership of Bernard Passemar for this tournament, and I felt confident that with his assistance we would do well.
As usual, I brought my cameras, but left the large one in the trunk of my car, to be used in the afternoon, after our elimination from the tournament.
Three games were played in the morning and even though the field was still wet and rather difficult to handle, we managed to win 2 games out of 3.
In the afternoon, we found ourselves in the Concours and managed to win our 3rd game of the day. So far, Bernard and I played rather well, and I felt that we could retire honorably from this tournament even if we lost the next game.
But the capricious Gods on Mount Olympus saw it differently. They allowed us to win another game, and another game until we reached the Finals. So far, we stood with 5 wins out of 6 under our belts, and regardless of the final results we were content.
In the Finals, we faced two heavyweights, Louis Toulon, and Ed Porto and I thought that it would be a challenging game, especially when we played on a different (still very wet) surface.
The game started rather poorly for us, and at one time, our opponents were leading 6 to 2. But we didn’t lose faith and managed to rally. Bernard played extremely well and managed some great defensive shots.
At this time, I didn’t have much of a chance to take many pictures, but I managed a few between games. When we started playing against Louis and Ed, I gave my camera to Tamara and asked her to fill my shoes. Photograph the action I told her and make me look good regardless of what you see. Capisce?
So the last phase of the tournament was photographed by the One and Only Tamara.
Ultimately, we lost the final game 8 to 13, but by all accounts, we lost honorably. By 6:30 pm it was all over, and Tamara dragged me to the car and put me to bed where I slumbered for approximately 10 hours.
February 11, 2023 LPM Mêlée
Fabian & Ron Rohlfes
Mark Shirkey & Larry Cragg
Noël & Loël 😆
Last Saturday, I woke up around 7:00 am to the sound of rain hammering my roof. I thought immediately that the scheduled Marin mêlée tournament would be canceled, but I was greatly surprised to learn that it was not. Our Supreme Leader obviously knew better than Little Old Me (they always do) and I accepted her assessment.
But the sky looked sullen, with big gray clouds darkening the horizon, and I didn’t feel like venturing out. I was going to stay put and work on my Russian vocabulary. But curiosity got the best of me, and after a light breakfast and a hot drink, I drove to the field around 10:00 am.
I expected to encounter at most a dozen hardcore aficionados, but saperlipopette, I counted 28 people on the field. You read it correctly TWENTY-EIGHT! Too numerous to mention all of them, but my pictures will confirm my saying.
Armed with Sneaky Pete (my innocuous-looking spying camera), I resolved to snap a few pictures and fly the coop. A cloudy sky, by the way, is ideal for taking pictures… no annoying shades, and no pesky reflections.
So, after about one hour on the court, I packed my gear and returned home around 11:00 am.
In the afternoon though, instead of getting worse, the weather improved and invited me to return to the field.
I was back around 3:00 pm and went to work again. An anemic sun was filtering through the clouds and instead of comforting me, it bothered me. It made taking clear pictures more difficult and forced me to change location more often. When you have a permanently cranky back, you have to take everything into consideration.
I forgot to mention that Christine and Shama expertly ran this mêlée tournament, and that it consisted of 5 games: 2 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. When I showed up again later that day, most people were finishing their 4th or started their 5th game.
By 5:00 pm, it was all over and time to have a hearty drink (I wish), take pictures, and hand out big moola to the victors. I did my job as expected and ran home immediately after where it was warm and cozy.
Mark & Sandra Shirkey
Tim Wetzel & Holly Sammons
Mike & Erin McTaggart
Alain Efron & Nina Semenenko
Yesterday, to everybody’s relief, the temperature finally dropped down to a more normal seasonal level and made our annual event much more pleasant. It was overcast and cool in the morning (excellent weather for photography) and kind of muggy and sticky in the late afternoon.
To my surprise though, only 15 mixed teams showed up for combat, but it made the event feel more like a family affair: informal and friendly. I surmised that some monarchists preferred to stay home to watch Queen Elizabeth’s elaborate funeral pageantry. The Donald (surely watching from his lair) must have been green with envy.
Due to my rather substandard physical condition, and after much internal debate, I finally decided to team up with Tall Nina, a friendly newcomer. It was a wise choice since Nina proved to be an excellent pointer.
As usual, 3 timed games were played in the morning and elimination games in the afternoon. In the morning, Nina and I did rather poorly and were promptly defeated slaughtered (2/13, 5/13, 2/13) by much better teams. I tried to take notes of the names while playing but ended up erasing everything by mistake.
On our first game though, I remembered being pulverized by Tim Wetzel and Holly Sammons. I was going to put Tim on my enemy list, but he proved so photogenic that afternoon that I had to cancel that project. I decided to put him instead on my “watch” list. Be warned Tim, I am watching you.
Since I am not in my best physical condition, I was hoping to be promptly eliminated in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day peacefully photographing the event. But the Olympian Gods didn’t see it that way.
After lunch, Nina and I played our first Consolante game. As luck would have it, we won that game, mainly due to Nina’s excellent pointing. Damn! We had to play a second game, and triple damn, we won again. Lord, have mercy! Soon we were in the Consolante finals facing Erin and Mike Menefee again. We lost the coin toss and crafty Erin dragged us to the heavily graveled court on the left of the field.
Nina had never played on such a surface, and I am not exactly an expert in this area. Erin and Mike clobbered us 13/2 and finally took us out of our misery, and carried me out on a stretcher… I am kidding.
This long story, to let you know that I had very little time to photograph the event. While we were battling Erin and Mike, the Concours’ finals were taking place at the other end of the field.
Mark and Sandra were engaging Tim and Holly. But as is often the case, the finals proved a little disappointing. Instead of an apocalyptic fight, we witnessed a much watered-down event. Mark and Sandra finally prevailed and won (I believe) 13/8.
Altogether though, a very lovely, friendly event.
FPUSA Men's & Women's Singles, August 14, 2022
Men's Concours Winners
Tom Lee $217.00 + medal
Peter Mathis $145.00 + medal
Chan Xiong $109.00 + medal
Yes, I know… I am fully aware that I am late publishing this report, but like a giant python, I had to digest (and process) over 500 images that I caught last Sunday. This labored digestion required a lot of time and effort and I hope that you will forgive me for being tardy.
But good things come to those who wait…
Last Sunday, 16 women and 25 men came to Marin to compete against each other and to show who were the top dogs (or the top bitches, if you will excuse this pun). A lot of egos were on the line in this tournament and everybody fought hard.
The weather, with sunshine to spare, was good. But the sun, filtering through leafy trees can be photographers’ enemy; it camouflages the faces and clothing of all the players and makes it very difficult to photograph anything correctly.
You might notice that the pictures taken in the morning are not as good as those taken in the afternoon when the sun had shifted. I tried to photograph as many players as possible, but I preferred to shoot in areas devoid of pesky shade patches.
Since I am (not yet) ubiquitous, I could only cover a few bouts, and I ultimately concentrated on the women’s and men’s finals.
In the women’s finals, Holly Sammons and Carmen Ellis faced each other; both very good players, but with different styles. Holly is a super pointer who can position any boule very close to the cochonnet. Carmen, on the other hand (who is also basically a pointer), had no choice but shoot, and she missed quite a few shots. Altogether, it was a very good game that Holly finally won by a score of 13/12.
The men’s finals pitched Tom Lee against Peter Mathis. It promised to be a hard-fought game but to everybody’s surprise, Tom Lee defeated Peter by an astonishing score of 13/2. Peter was off his game, or maybe tired, and missed crucial shots. We all have one of these days… Tom Lee who played an excellent game deserved to win. No matter what, I think that Peter is a great player with great form (one of the best) and I like to photograph him.
It was good to see everybody, especially those living far away from our field. By the way, you are never too old to learn anything. Last Sunday, thanks to AnhHuy Phan from San Jose, I learned something that could improve the quality of my pictures. She works for SanDisk, the memory cards manufacturer, and besides being a charming individual, she gave me some very good tips that I will follow. Thank you.
Paul Moua $73.00
Men's Consolante Winners
Tinh Dinh $84.00
Andrew Loi $56.00
B. Passemar $35.00
Women's Concours Winners
Holly Sammons $130.00 + medal
Carmen Ellis $87.00 + medal
Marie-Anne Curley $65.00 + medal
Ann Krilanovich $22.00
Women's Consolante Winners
Ashlee Dencklau $65.00
Sandra Shirkey $44.00
Tamara Efron $22.00
San Rafael Select Doubles, July 10, 2022
1st Place:Philippe Arnaud & Paulo Custred
2nd Place:Serge Hanne & Philippe Guerit
2nd Place: Tom Lee & Tim Peppel
1st Place:Kevin Evoy&Jean-Michel Poulnot
2nd Place:Erin McTaggart & Mike Menefee
So, how was it, are you going to ask? Well, it was freezing cold in the morning and hellish hot in the afternoon. This didn’t stop 40 people from coming to our field and locking horns.
Due to persistent back pain, I regretfully chose to abstain from playing and instead concentrate on documenting the event with images.
I like to take pictures, but there is nothing more frustrating for a shutterbug than a combination of bright sun and dark shadows. Most of the time, it spoils the contrast and clarity of many shots. But I had to cope with this, and I did my best.
For as long as I remember, I want to warmly thank Hans Kurz for letting a little boy named Daniel borrow his dog Boomer for a good solid hour and get him out of my few remaining hairs. I don’t know how Boomer felt about this, but Daniel was pleased like punch about this turn of events. Thank you again, Hans!
I took pictures most of the day without paying much attention to the winners or losers, but I followed the Consolante and the Concours finals more closely.
In the Consolante finals, Mike Menefee and Erin McTaggart faced Jean-Michel Poulnot and Kevin Evoy. Two good teams with good shooters and good pointers. It started very badly for Jean-Michel and Kevin. At one point, Erin and Mike were leading 7/0. Then they reached 12, with Jean-Michel and Kevin lagging behind. Everybody thought that their goose was cooked, but the cooking was suddenly interrupted by the dynamic duo who managed to come back and win the game by a dramatic finish of 13/12.
Morale of the story: a game is never lost until the fat lady sings.
Now, for the Concours. Paulo Custred and Philippe Arnaud took on Philippe Guerit and Serge Hanne. Two good teams again with excellent shooters and good pointers. I thought that it would be a good seesaw fight with many developments. To everybody surprise, Paulo and Philippe executed the other Philippe and Serge, almost in a matter of minutes. Final Concours score 13/0 in favor of Paulo and Philippe. Sacrebleu, a Fanny in a Concours game! Congratulations Philippe and Paulo!
And that was the way it was…
San Rafael Select Doubles, June 12, 2022
Phominik Lee & Xiong Chan
Michelle Dang & Barbara Hall
Antoine Lofaro & Eric Thiebault
Lynn Bell & Richard Bell
Serge Hanne & Philippe Guerit
Last Sunday La Pétanque Marinière hosted its regular monthly tournament that attracted 30 “doublettes” teams from all over the Bay Area.
Christine Cragg (our venerated club president) recently back from her sabbatical in France (and assisted by Shama Gutheti) oversaw the event. To make sure that she didn’t waste her time abroad, I briefly tested Christine’s newly acquired knowledge and she passed effortlessly. Good for you Christine!
The playing conditions were good, although it was a little cloudy and slightly muggy.
When I arrived on the field, I discovered that it was already claimed by a young duck who didn’t seem to be in hurry to vacate the place. It finally flew away after cursing us in (I guess) Javanese.
As usual, 3 games were played before lunch, and elimination games followed in the afternoon. My partner (François Moser) and I did fairly well in the morning, winning 2 games out of 3. This qualified us for the Concours where after lunch we faced Carmen Ellis and Suzie (Bad News) Lee. I played against Suzie in last month’s tournament, and she murdered us 13/1. I can certify that under an unassuming look, this person is dangerous: excellent pointer and outstanding shooter. You have been warned…
After a tough game, Carmen and Suzie booted us out of the tournament with a final score of 13/9. I always hate to lose, but this worked well with my preconceived action plan. My aching back was begging me to stop, and I welcomed the opportunity to quit and concentrate on documenting this event.
I tried to photograph as many people as I could, but in photography, it is the lighting conditions that dictate who and where you can operate. The ideal conditions are light without any shade which is almost impossible to find in an urban area. This is why I prefer to shoot in a well-lit area.
If you don’t see pictures of yourself, blame the weather conditions.
Tim Peppel & Kue Lee
Tom Lee & Mark Shirkey
Jean-Claude Etallaz & Paulo Custred
Sandra Shirkey & Suzie Lee
April 10, 2022, Select Doubles
What do I remember best about yesterday’s event?
The wind my friends, the cold blasted wind. In the morning we didn’t feel it too much, but in the afternoon, it started to blow. We experienced very strong gusts that seriously disrupted our games. And it got cold, very cold. According to the weather bureau, around 5:00 pm the wind speed reached 23 mph (enough speed as we say, to dehorn a bull) and it got cold enough to cool to incite everybody to cover up.
But let’s start from the beginning. In the absence of Christine Cragg, Mike O’Leary assumed the management of the tournament and assisted by Shama and Sandra ran the show. And an excellent job they did! Kudos to them all and especially to Mike who stayed with us until the end to give away prizes.
Forty people registered to play, and by around 9:30 am things got underway. Three 45 minutes games before lunch, and elimination games in the afternoon.
Originally, I didn’t intend to play, but Francois Moser enticed me with his siren’s song, and I agreed to assist him. Yesterday, the second thing I remember best was the caliber of some of the women we encountered. On our first game, we met Brigitte Moran and Liv Kraft. I was absolutely amazed by Brigitte’s shooting skills. I would estimate her batting average to be around 90%. A really great competitor.
Later on, we met Caitlin and Albert Woodbury. Caitlin also proved to be a mean shooter (I already knew that) and gave us a really bad time. But the ultimate woman gunslinger was Suzie Lee.
We faced her and Sandra Shirkey in the Consolante’s finals and she annihilated us. She didn’t miss a single shot. I had not played against her for a while and I kind of forgot how well she performed. Now, after a crushing defeat, I will remember her for a long time. She is an amazing shooter and totally deserved to win. We lost the finals with an appalling score of 1/13.
Yesterday nothing went according to plan. As usual, I intended (after being booted out of the tournament) to take a bunch of pictures in the afternoon, but the gods of pétanque didn’t see it that way. They let us win more games than planned and almost totally prevented me from doing my job as a photographer.
I managed to take some shots between games, but I had to wait until around 4:00 pm to seriously get to work.
The last game I managed to cover was the Concour’s finals pitting Kue Lee and Tim Peppel against Tom Lee and Mark Shirkey. If I was a betting man, I would have put my money on Tom and Mark… and I would have lost. I forgot how good unconventional shooter Kue Lee was. Sure, he was greatly helped by Tim Peppel, but it was he who nailed the coffin of the other team.
In the end, both teams stood at 12/12. Both Tom Lee and Mark Shirkey missed some critical shots and Kue gave them “le coup de grâce”. The final score was 13/12 in favor of Kue and Tim. Great game. Congratulations guys!
And that’s the way I saw it
Alain Efron & Francois Moser
The New Amazons
“The Amazons were a race of female warriors in Greek mythology, who dwelt in the region of modern-day Ukraine. Two of the best-known Amazon queens were Penthesilea, who took part in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, who was the owner of a magical girdle, given to her by the god of war Ares.”
Yesterday I witnessed a new Amazon invasion. Under the leadership of Queen Ann, women warriors gathered in San Rafael to practice their fighting skills. And unlike what is presently happening in Ukraine, they were a welcome sight.
I am an unabashed woman’s rights supporter, and these women proved once again that (with some practice) they can be as good as men in any field or discipline.
“After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backward and in high heels.”
Some like Janice B. came from far away, but I am not surprised for Janice is known to eat, drink, and breath pétanque. And she gladly came to share her knowledge and experience of the game she loves.
As I mentioned before, the mastermind of this peaceful invasion was Ann K. and I was surprised by the sheer number of women who responded to her call. But I shouldn’t have been. Ann is a “locomotive” who can pull a long line of wagons, and any organization should be grateful to have people like her in their midst.
Ann was supported by two brave men, who wanted to impart some of what they had learned of Petanque. Richard Bell was in charge of showing the participants the art of shooting a boule. While Mark Shirkey was assigned the task of teaching the art of plumbee.
Yesterday I counted around 25 bodies of all shapes and forms on our field. Some were good, some not as good, but I can certify that they all enjoyed the outing and had a jolly good time. And I have the pictures to prove it.
Before I go, I want to mention that Louis Toulon (one of the club’s founders), and Christine Cragg (the actual president) were present on the field to lend their wholehearted support to this operation. Long live Ukraine and the Amazons!
March 13th, Select Mixed Triples
Kevin, Ashlee and Wolfie
So, what happened yesterday in San Rafael? Plenty, my friends and I am here to enlighten you, with words and images.
First, the weather. It was as capricious as a spoiled girlfriend. Cool in the morning, then warming up a little bit in the afternoon, and finally as cold as witches’ bubbies in the evening. it was so cold that despite my five layers of clothing I literally froze my little “derrière”.
To put things in perspective, to give you a full report, I was on the field from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm. A full day of hard labor.
But back to the main story. Sixty (60) people signed up to play in our tournament, with heavyweights coming from Sonoma, Petaluma and Sacramento. These days, with a 2 hours drive and the price of gasoline exceeding $6.00 per gallon, you really must love pétanque to come all the way from Sacto to play.
As usual, 3 games were played before lunch, and elimination games followed in the afternoon in the Concours and the Consolante sections.
My team included Tamara, the other Alain (my twin) from Petaluma, and myself. We lost 2 games in the morning and won one. We then ended up in the Consolante where things suddenly deviated from my script. I was planning on getting eliminated first thing in the afternoon and concentrating on photographing the event, but then we won another game and had to remain on active duty for another game.
Finally, around 3:00 pm, Ed Porto, Patrick Vaslet, and Shannon Bowman battered us 13/8 and we were out of the race. I immediately grabbed Big Bertha (my combat camera) and started shooting everything in sight. There was plenty of action, but since I still cannot be at two places at the same time, I tried my best to catch the most interesting stuff.
Late in the afternoon, I concentrated on the Concours Semi-finals and later in the Concours Finals. In the semifinals, it was Kevin, Wolfie, and Ashlee against Brendan, Tom Lee, and Suzy Lee. Wolfie’s team won.
In the Finals, Kevin’s team faced Mike Lee, Kue Lee, and Michelle Dang, the toughies from Sacramento. It was a very interesting match with everybody playing very well. On Wolfie’s side, Ashlee pointed extremely well. She was obviously in the “Zone” and could not do anything wrong. Kevin also amazed me (and everybody else) with his signature “plombés”. Kevin shot… and killed.
On the other side, Michelle Dang pointed, with Mike Lee and Kue Lee being the enforcers. Kue Lee proved to be an unconventional but very accurate shooter. If you noticed, he threw his boules with “open palm” rather than palm down, but he was amazingly accurate. Mike Lee (the Sphinx) was also very good and helped a lot.
Wolfie’s team finally won by 13/10, a very close score. The last game ended up around 7:00 pm with by then only a handful of half-frozen spectators remaining.
I quickly took the pictures of all the remaining winners and ran like hell for my car and a bit of warmth.
1st place: Wolfie K, Kevin Evoy, Ashlee Dencklau $72/ea
2nd place: M. Lee, Kue Lee, Michelle Dang $60/ea
The 2 teams in 3rd place decided not to play and split the fees
3rd place: B. Cohen, T. Lee, S. Lee/B. Pierce, E. Hay, R. Seder $24/ea
1st place: Ed Porto, P. Vaslet, Shannon Bowman $36/ea
2nd place: J-C Bunand, J. Gautier, Emily Etcheverry $24/ea
Februry 12th, 2022 Melee
Bernard and Shama
Yesterday’s tournament hosted by La Pétanque Marinière felt like a winter anomaly. The weather was unusually sunny and warm for mid-February and it felt like Spring came ahead of itself. But who is complaining?
Thirty-two people came from all the Bay Area counties and registered to compete. Among the newcomers, I particularly noticed the Checkered Stranger, a mysterious young man never seen on our field before. I just discovered that his name is Ben Pierce and that he just joined our club. Welcome to the Promised land young man.
Despite a lingering backache I decided to play and temporally desist from my semi-official position as the club photographer. I requested to compete as a wingman since my spine does allow me any strenuous effort, and inherited Caitlin Woodbury as my partner in crime.
It was a very fortunate occurrence. Caitlin proved to be an excellent shooter who saved our butts many times during that day. Thanks to her skills, we managed to win 3 games out of 4. Not too bad, considering my rather restrained participation. As a bonus, I rediscovered that Caitlin speaks very decent French and was able to understand some of my questionable jokes.
But “Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.” You cannot stop cold turkey and totally cease shooting regardless of the circumstances. I am fortunate to own a small, unobtrusive Canon camera that I carry in my pocket almost everywhere. This camera has a decent focusing range and between “mènes” I managed to shoot some targets of opportunity. Yesterday I shot at least 20 people… and they will love me for it!”
I forgot to mention that the format of this tournament was mêlée, and 2 games were played before lunch and 2 games after lunch. A convenient setup that did not put too much undue strain on my back.
By 4:00 o’clock, all the numbers had been tabulated, and the names of the winners emerged.
1st place: Bernard Passemar and Kota-Gutheti Shama
2nd place: Christine Morier and Eddy Pay
3rd place: Paulo Crustred and John-Philip Wyek
And that’s the way it was.
November 15th, 2021
San Rafael mêlée tournament
Sandra Shirkey & Louis Toulon,
winners of the November 15th
Thirty-eight people gathered yesterday in San Rafael for a late season mêlée tournament. It was foggy and cold, and the weather did not improve much for the rest of the day. But the lack of shade provided an ideal setting for photography.
The games did not start until 10:00 am due to some late arrivals and last-minute changes to the players list. I for one, due to a stubborn back pain, was very ambivalent about playing and ultimately gave my spot to somebody else. The Moirai, or Fates, (the three goddesses of destiny) had decided that I should not play and take photographs instead. And so I did.
As usual 2 games were to be played in the morning and 2 more games in the afternoon. The mêlée format is attractive to beginners and dedicated pointers alike for it gives them a chance to be paired with stronger, or dedicated shooters. And as proven in this tournament, pointers were the real heroes of this event and were instrumental in bringing the bacon home.
In Pétanque, pointers are like infantrymen and shooters are like the artillery. As any general will tell you, no battle can be won without the infantry. Louis Toulon, a member of the winning team, told me himself that Sandra’s excellent pointing was a major factor of their victory.
The event mercifully ended around 3:00 pm and laurel leaves crowns (and some cash) were awarded to the 4 best teams of the day.
Despite my aching back, I managed to hop around the field to cover the action. At the end of the day, I ended up with over 500 shots that I had to review, correct or discard… an extremely time-consuming operation. I tried to keep the number of photographs published under 200 but I did not succeed. Sorry about that.
Anyway, here are the finals results:
1st place: Louis Toulon and Sandra Shirkey
2nd place : François Moser and Robert Brown
3rd place: Colin Kennedy and Tamara Efron
4th place: Bernard Passemar and Teri Thiebault
October 10th, 2021
A family affair
Joe Danielson & Stephanie Wilkinson,
winners of the October 10th tournament
With a grand total of 23 participants, last Sunday’s tournament in San Rafael felt more like a family affair than an FPUSA sanctioned competition; it was nevertheless spirited and fun.
The event was billed a “mêlée », and partners were semi-randomly assigned. I inherited a friendly young fellow named Quintin Mecke (who oddly enough reminded me of Herge’s Tintin) and proved to be quite an accurate pointer. We didn’t do particularly well (2 wins and 3 losses) but we had fun and that’s what counts.
Shama and her dog Tchai (?) kept track of the scores and we are grateful for their cooperation.
Two games were played before lunch, and three after. Among the competitors were 3 members of the Danielson family and judging by the results, they did very well. Thank you, Abby, by the way for pressuring your relatives into play with us.
The number of players might have been small, but the quality proved to be above average. On our first game, we had the (mitigated) pleasure of playing against Richard Bell and Loël McPhee, and they murdered us 0/13. I understand that Richard spent the last 3 weeks practicing his shooting 10 hours a day with only 2 hours of sleep per night… and it paid off.
We also played against Joe Danielson who (as a newcomer) had the impertinence to clobber us 5/13. Abby, I hold you responsible for your brother’s cheeky behavior.
On our 5th game, Tintin and I faced Liza and Liv and they also had their way with us. Liv pointed extremely well, and Liza acted as the merciless executioner. They shamelessly beat us 13/5.
This tournament did not have a Concours and a Consolante per se, and the results were tabulated according to the number of wins and the minimum number of points accumulated during the event.
This also meant that unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures during this event. It is difficult to wear two different hats during any proceeding and I should have stayed on the sidelines instead of playing, but the cochonnet (piglet) always exercises a strong pull and I could not resist its appeal… And my aching back is paying the price this morning…
Here are the final results:
1st place: Joe Danielson & Stephanie Wilkinson $52.00 each
2nd place: Richard Bell & Loël McPhee $38.00 each
3rd place: Eddy Pay & Abby Danielson $25.00 each
September 13th, 2021
Select Doubles -
Erin McTaggart and Hans Kurz, winners of the September 13th
Yesterday, 16 mixed doubles teams gathered at the Pierre Joske court in San Rafael to compete for the annual Commemorative Cup. The weather was perfect… very propitious for a good tournament.
The games started around 9:30 am with the regular setup: 3 timed games in the morning, and Concours and Consolante in the afternoon. I had not planned to compete, but since Christine Cragg happened to need a partner, against common sense, I agreed to fill in.
Christine and I played 3 games in the morning (won one) and were promptly sent back to our locker rooms after completion of the 4th game in the afternoon. Ultimately though, everything went according to plan. After our ignominious exit from the tournament, I changed costume and reappeared on the field as Alain La Foudre, club photographer.
In Marin County, we have a gorgeous field protected from the sun by tall, mature trees. It is great for players, but not so great for shutterbugs. The shaded areas make it difficult to shoot well-contrasted pictures… but “a la guerre comme à la guerre » you have to make do with what you have.
The problem with pétanque tournaments is that many games are taking place at the same time, and this makes it difficult for a photographer to adequately cover the event. You try to include as many games as possible, but you cannot be everywhere at the same time. Thereof the scarcity of a great variety of pictures.
Late in the afternoon, I sat down, along with many other spectators to watch the Concours’ finals. Hans Kurz and Erin McTaggart faced Mark and Sandra Shirkey, two very good teams.
The bout started badly for Hans and Erin who at one time were trailing 1 to 7 in favor of Mark and Sandra. I thought for sure that their goose was cooked. But the mark of the champions is to be resilient, and this is what happened. Through Hans’s absolutely remarkable shooting (the best of his I have ever seen) his team slowly climbed back and won the tournament 13/8. A well-deserved victory.
This is not to say that the other protagonists did not play well. Everybody did, pointers and shooters alike, but the shooters gathered the most attention. Mark also did a great job but was ultimately outclassed by (always colorful) Hans Kurz.
All in all, a great ending to a pleasant (almost family-like) Commemorative Cup tournament.
1st place: Hans Kurz & Erin McTaggart ( name on the trophy)
2nd place: Mark & Sandra Shirkey (medal)
3rd place: Peter Mathis & Holly Sammons
4th place: Eddy Pay & Beth Caetano
1st place: Don & Linda McPherson (medal)
2nd place: Bernard Passemar & Maggie Lane
July 11th, 2021
Select Doubles - Under the
auspices of La Marseillaise
Barry Serota and Wolfie Kurz, winners of the July 11 tournament
Yesterday a sizeable crowd gathered on the Pierre Joske court in Marin County to participate in La Petanque Mariniere’s first official tournament of the season. Besides the 64 players registered to play, a bunch of friends, parents, groupies, and canines also showed up to soak in the atmosphere of this silly French game called Pétanque. And they came from all over… Fresno, Sacramento, Sonoma, Petaluma, Lamorinda… Altogether, I guestimate that around noon we were between 80 to 90 people on the field.
Many came to play, but also to escape the oppressive heat of their respective areas. To put things in perspective, it was around 110 degrees at noon in Fresno while it was 72 at the same time in San Rafael . The local weather was unexpectedly cool, even cold, and caught many people by surprise. Many had to run back to their cars to retrieve some warmer garments.
The tournament started a little late (around 10 am) and lasted probably until 7:00 PM. As for myself, I left after 6:30 pm after completion of the Concours' finals.
In the morning, shortly after Christine Cragg gave us our marching papers, Le Facteur entertained us with an enthusiastic rendition of La Marseillaise . Those who were familiar with the lyrics sang along. Applauds followed and the tournament was on.
Until the last minute, I was not sure if I would play in this tournament or not. I wanted to do it, but my back didn't quite agree.
Hey dude, it said, don't be foolish… don't play, take a raincheck. Your millions of fans will understand…
They might, but I really want to play…
OK then, but don't blame me if tomorrow morning you walk like an arthritic crab.
I overruled my whiny back and played… poorly.
Tamara and I lost our 1 st game 3/13 to Jer and Janice .
We lost our 2 nd game 0/13 against Eric and Paulo . A quick, merciless execution.
And to remain consistent we lost our 3 rd game 3/13 to Mark and Sandra .
A perfect “triplé”.
In the afternoon, we lost our Consolante game to George and Elke 12/13 and we were out.
After I was ejected from the competition, I devoted the rest of the afternoon to record this event. But this time, instead of focusing on different games and players, I chose what the military calls “Targets of opportunity”. “Targets on which attacks are unplanned and which are implemented upon favorable or unexpected circumstances.”
Keep in mind that some pictures are uneven due to the difficulty of taking balanced shots in shaded areas.
I also integrated into my photo album 2 pictures taken by Gilbert Sonnet (Noah and little old me) and 3 others, taken by Christine Cragg after I left the field.
In the Concours finals, Wolfie and Barry defeated Phomenick and Chan by the rather surprising score of 13/3.
1 st place: Wolfie Kurz and Barry Serota $ 115.00 each
2 nd place: Phominick Lee and Chan Lee $ 76.00 each
3 rd place: Fraser Bradshaw and Ian Colon $ 57.00 each
1 st place: Antoine and Max Lofaro $ 57.00 each
2 nd place: Hans Kurz and Carlos Chavez $ 38.00 each
1 st place: Jean-Michel and B. Passemar $ 38.00 each
It was a grand, glorious day… despite my miserable performance.
November 23, 2020
Hot Club News
From left to right, Elaine Andrian, Ann Krilanovich, Wanda Porcella, Cristine Cragg, AbbyDanielson, Lalena Porro Goard
Lately, despite the raging Coronavirus crisis, regular players might have noticed a recrudescence of activity on our pétanque field. I have spotted a lot of newcomers, mainly women, and although I have not met them all, I more than welcome their friendly invasion.
No club or organization is ever complete without a fair representation of the fair sex. After all, they represent half the population of the entire world and they have more than proved their mettle. I am pretty sure that our progressive president-elect is going to include a fair number of women in his cabinet and I applaud this initiative. Keep in mind that our new vice-president is a woman who might someday get the top job.
Our club increased membership is due mainly to the tireless activity of Christine Cragg our president. She has been in charge of our organization for many years (I forgot how many) and I have had the pleasure to closely work with her for 7 long years as the club secretary. I vouch for her.
Few people realize how much time and effort is needed to run our club. The job is demanding and often unappreciated. As a result, few people ever postulate for that position. But Christine has been doing this for years, and like a good wine, she is improving with age. She gets my unending support for her dedication.
It is important to remember that we all have been rookies… In a school, in an organization, in the military. It is always a stressful period that we have all experienced. As club members, our job is to quickly incorporate the newcomers in all our activities and make them feel welcome.
I know that in any discipline anybody always wants to compete with better players, but every beginner should be given a chance to improve his/her skills. I will play with any of them anytime and I urge you to do the same thing.
So, by the way, who are these women? Christine has sent us a list accompanied by names, but since every face is now covered with a mask, I would not recognize my own mother.
The accompanying photo might help, but the only unmistakable person is Ann Krilanovich. Her white mane (and her enthusiasm) stands out and she cannot be unnoticed. It might also be helpful if all the newcomers would personally introduce themselves (or wear a name tag) to some curmudgeons. Their bark is worse than their bite.
Happy Turkey Day to all!