Imaginary Pétanque

The Browning Hangar in 1943

​Here is some fun stuff from Jim Schwobel!

​You can leave comments below.

Here is a short story that I wrote for LBC. Perhaps it will serve as a moment's entertainment for the members during this extraordinary time in our lives?

Imaginary Pétanque

Since we are all sheltering in place, only going out for groceries, I had the idea of creating an imaginary pétanque game that might serve as a substitute for actually playing. Perhaps it will help satiate everyone’s cravings until we meet again. Perhaps LBC members will want to add your creativity?

Speaking of grocery shopping…my last trip to HEB was over two weeks ago. I usually go about once a week but since we Americans have large refrigerators, that allowed me to buy a bit more of some items without feeling like I was hoarding. With existing items in my cupboard, I should be able to avoid shopping for another couple of weeks and with a little creativity, I can go a couple weeks more. However, near the end, I’ll be eating the small packets of ketchup and the jar of maraschino cherries that has been at the back of my cupboard for who-knows-how long. I don’t know how long because they came from an era before manufacturers had to include “best used by” dates in their packaging. 

Back to the imaginary game…We were fortunate that there were exactly 6 of us at the Historic Browning Hangar on a Saturday night and we started with the usual sorting processes you know so well: placing 1 boule each and the cochonnet inside a circle. I wanted to avoid the usual cumbersome task of collecting the boules/cochonnet in my hands and tossing them – so I just kicked everything. Awful mistake wearing sandals. I broke my big toe and on the way to the ground, I caught the plastic ring with both feed and broke it in two places (the ring two places, my big toe one place). The damaged ring also struck the cochonnet, knocking it about 10 meters from the scattered group of boules so we had to find a long tape measure to determine relative boule distances and resulting teams. Time passed.

After the customary confusion of determining teams, caused by most of us picking up our own boule before finding our partners, some of whom had wandered off to the wine table, and which team would start the game, we decided to use the traditional coin flip. No one had any change in their pockets so we fanned out in the Hangar to search the ground for any coin lost at last week’s Farmers’ Market. Finally, a penny was found. This was the first (and time would prove, the last) good luck we had as you know, pennies are hard to see being of similar color to the crushed granite surface.

Let the game begin…On his first shot,  Amine’s boule broke in half so recognizing what an advantage it would be, my team insisted he play the rest of the game with the larger of the two halves. Citing some “official” rule we insisted was in the rule book and since no one had a copy of the rules, we won that debate. He continued to shoot better than 90% with that boule (piece).

On one end, Amine shot the cochonnet (with his hemispheric boule), and against all odds, the cochonnet broke in half! No one had a substitute cochonnet so we played with the Larger half because Marie-Claude’s dog found the smaller piece and promptly ate it. We wanted to take up a collection for the anticipated vet bill but as you will remember, no one had any change.

The game continued until mercifully, we were forced to relinquish the Hangar to the Farmers’ Market vendors who arrived to set up their booths. Yes, it was now mid-Sunday morning.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. You are invited to exercise your creative juices (mine have run dry) and add events to this imaginary game.

Jim Schwobel

LBC members are encouraged to insert your own "recollections" of this game below.

Covid-19 and Pétanque

​We at the LBC have been thinking about how the presence of the Covid-19 virus should affect our behavior when we get together to play pétanque.

This is especially important because a large percentage of our players are older and much more vulnerable to dying if they become infected.

Lots of indoor events are being cancelled all around us, but if we are careful, playing pétanque outdoors is probably not a high risk activity.

​Suggested Guidelines

  • Stay home if your are sick ​-Stay home even if you just suspect you are getting sick. This is very important!​​​
  • ​No physical touching at all ​- Froget about the traditional greetings. We all know we are good friends.​​​​​​
  • Sanitize your hands often ​- Washing your hands with soap and water is best. That is difficult at the hangar because there is no running water.​​​ Use hand sanitizer often instead.
  • Use precautions with shared food​ - Sharing food and drink is, of course, a popular theme when we get together. But we need to be especially aware of the risk of contamination.​​​
  • ​You are responsible ​- No amount of rules and regulations can take the place of common sense. You need to be smart and take responsibility for your own health.​​​

Results – NRPC Tournament March 1, 2020

Message from NRPC

(You can leave comments down below!)

​We had a full house at the Nelson Ranch for the 2020 Spring Doubles Pétanque Tournament.

There were 22 teams, including one team from Dallas and four teams from San Antonio​ who took to the terrains to battle it out in the first contest of the year.

After three qualifying games in the morning and a FANTASTIC pot luck lunch, the top eight teams advanced to the playoffs while the rest of the field played the consolation bracket.

The level of play in Austin keeps rising, and in the playoffs, there were some fierce battles, as well as some surprising upsets.

It was clear that many players brought their "A" game. In the end, there can only be four winners.

​​Tourney Results:

1st Place: Marion Bermondy (NRPC) & Stephen Johns (S.A.)

2nd Place:  Nico Bienvenue (S.A.) & Amy Bienvenu (S.A.)

3rd Place:  Kathy Ragan (NRPC) & Jacques Richard (NRPC)

Consolante: Felipe Cardona (NRPC) & Hasu Patel (HOTPC)

The Legation Boules Club will be hosting a doubles melee tournament end of March, and our next NRPC tournament will be in late May.

There are plenty of chances to compete this year.

​Thanks to all who participated and big thanks to everyone who helped with the set up.

The season is off to a great start. If you missed out on this one, be sure to plan on coming to the next one.

Vive La Petanque!



Michel Costa – Health Issues

​Nico and Michel at the French Legation

​A Serious Heart Attack

​Recently, we at the LBC have learned that Michel Costa had a serious heart attack and has been in and out of the hospital.

Sorry to say that we don't have many up-to-date details, but we are all hoping for the best outcome possible!

If you have any news on how Michel is doing feel free to comment below.

​​​​​​In the meantime, we all want to let Michel know we are thinking of him and hope he can join us on the terrain soon!

New Member – Fernando Posada

​The Legation Boules Club is happy to welcome New Member Fernando Posada to the club. Fernando is a friend of Don Jansky and currently lives in Houston.

Hopefully, Fernando can spend time in Austin playing pétanque with us. He is new to the sport but is catching on really fast.

Welcome Fernando!