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Hello and welcome everyone.  I was in Millau in the south of France.   The big top, the circus of all circus, unreal, amazing,extraordinaire.   Nothing can top this experience,  it is petanque heaven.  The best of the best are here.  I drove down from Paris  with Rodolphe from the LA petanque club, we had a blast speaking french all the way to Millau and back .   As soon as we entered the park  right in the middle of downtown Millau  we saw everyone with a set of petanque balls in their  hand walking to the courts and thousand of players practising all over  unreal about  27000 of them for the next 8 days .  It was evident that  the situation was going to break my concept of petanque  courts playing in the US.  I was looking all  around for the nice courts but everyone was practising everywhere on the grass, in the rocks, around the trees and  on the parking lot.   I walk further up and saw what they called le  Carree d’ honneur  that where they only  play the 1/4, semi, and finals.   Oh my god it was a parking lot with just a little bit of small rocks on it and paint on the floor to mark the courts .  I was speechless , so i asked around and the answer was: that the real  competition.   The games are  all around the park as well as some other part of town near the river where they take you  there by bus.   Courts were assigned by 4 little ropes and a court number attached to the tree .    The best of the best were playing in those made up courts in between tree roots, rocks the size of my hand and major hills that where you see the great players  .   The game of petanque is supposed to be played any where and this was the best proof .   I got to see players like Quintais and Foyot several time over world champions playing in  rocks with a crowd of 300 people around them in complete silence and exploding of recognition when the ball was stopped.   And people will keep on acknowledging if you want to be good you have to able to play anywhere.     Well lucky enough i have  had the experience to play on the Renaissance Faire ground on what we call playing extreme petanque , not just on nice flat courts that you see around the country in clubs .  So I decided to enter every competition possible to experience it all.   Well, let me tell you I considered myself a good players i have being playing since i was 5 years old I learned in Bordeaux  from my grandfather.     But every adversaries that i played against was even better the level of talent was astonishing.     I saw 6 years  kids  doing carreaux 5 times in the row I saw players shooting the cochonnet off boundary at 10 meters time after time on rocks.  And all this was just to try to get to the next bracket.   Now when you get  to play sometime until 4 AM to start again at 9 AM and you get to  win at least  8 games which by the way I never won more than 2 and I was really proud of it .    You get to come to the Carree d honneur and get to see the champions like Philippe  Suchaud , Henri  Lacroix,  Bruno Le boursicaud,  Pascal Milei, Zvonko Radnick, Jean Marc Foyot, Christian Fazzino, Philippe Quintais, just to name a few.   Again  let me tell you, it makes you cry to watch those guys  for 2 reasons, the first:  it is going to take you several life times to get to their level,  the second:  what a gift to be ale to witness games of those caliber it take years and years of practise to make it to this level.    I just can’t  empathize  enough how unreal it was to watch those men and women ;  i was giving a standing ovation at every round. I watched games until I could not seat and see any longer.   One of them stayed in my mind  in semi final in doublette between Radnick and Maison against Pascal Milei and his partner for one hour and a half where each other were doing carreau against carreau for the last 45 minutes non stop over thousand of people yelling at the top of the lungs with excitement.   I saw Dylan Rocher beat the world  record at precision shooting. , I saw the french team win and establish a new world record   against Slovenia at la petanque  lyonnaise. i saw the next generation of young kids making me rethink about even ever  playing the game again .     8  days of pure  joy.   Next year I am hoping to go back and bring in some USA teams to experience it;     Pictures: both guys with beards on right Philippe Quintais on left Henri Lacroix world champions.  Under the sign of Millau RODOLPHE AND MOI Jean MARC FOYOT IN FINAL                                     A + LOVE Arsene


One Response

  1. Arsene,

    It sounds like it was a highlight of your Petanque career to see such wonderful players and competition….

    Only now do I realize the beauty of living so many lifetimes: we can perhaps inch a little bit further each time in La Petanque…

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for that.

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