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HOT NEWS! THE CIRCLE (Les pieds dans le rond!)

Hello everyone and welcome!

One of the most noticeable addition since 1907 to the game of Petanque was the official rules of having a plastic circle to put your feet in during competition.   Wow, the circle, coming from a circus training there is nothing like being in the center of the ring, the center of the circle.   There is something  mystic  about it.  Many cultures respect that magical geometric form.   The beauty of a perfect round shape.    What a magical moment when you step  into the circle.   It is between you and yourself only.  The moment of silence, the moment of pure concentration, the moment of demonstrating hours of practice, the moment of truth, the moment of pure light.  For the longest time everyone just drew a circle on the ground.  This was always a subject of  heated discussions among players because almost everyone would step out of  the drawn circle or would  step over the line.   When I was 5 years old and learned the game from my grandfather, I remember distinctly that it was a privilege to go on my hands and knees  to try to draw a perfect circle with a piece of wood and not with my shoes.  Making sure they remained  clean to make sure that after the game the entrance of the kitchen of my grandmother wasn’t forbidden because of  mud on my shoes.  Most players to this day don’t even use a circle for practices or fun games.  They don’t even  bother to carry an extra huge circle around their neck.   So how do they draw a circle?   Well I have seen many devices.  The first one of course is the front or the back of your shoes and if you look closely at everyone’s shoes you can tell that they  have been using the same pair for a while because they have a distinctive marking on them.  Second, players will just pick a piece of wood on the ground and drawn the circle and maybe keep it in their pocket for the duration of the game and give it back to nature when they are finished.  Some other players will have their lucky piece of wood and keep for a life  time.  Some will use some ingenious piece of recycling metal found in the collected crap in their garage.  I even saw a broom stick so you don’t have to bend over.   Even the Petanque industry tried  to make money on inventing the  perfect device to draw a circle like a spike with a magnet that holds to your belt.  As a matter of fact.  I even heard from my grandfather  that way back  when some players from  ( Le Milieu ) would come play and they would draw the circle with the caliber bullet of the pistol that they would have in their pocket.  Did we lose the magic of drawing the circle or did we gain for the sake of the rules ?.   Make your own conclusions.  We will provide circles for our  coming up annual HOT tournament on Sunday  April First  in Austin at The French Legation Museum.  Start registering.

A+ Love Arsene



One Response

  1. This is very nice, Arsene, to have some history of the use of marking the circle.

    Always nice to hear stories from your childhood, learning the game, with your grandfather.

    Thanks for all the great work you do in keeping this blog going.

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