HOT NEWS! THE MICHAEL JORDAN OF PETANQUE IN AUSTIN!

Hello everyone and welcome.
Great article about Marco Foyot coming to Austin,  in the Austin American Statesman newspaper.
The Micheal Jordan of Petanque in Austin.
A+ Love Arsene.
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The article, hard to read on the photo.
Welcome to Jordan of lawn bowling
Ken Herman

Looks like another busy weekend coming up here in paradise, highlighted by the Texas Book Festival, which will be all over downtown Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, Marco Foyot is in town.

Yes, that Marco Foyot, the several-time (we’ll deal with that below) petanque champion of France. The visit is hosted by the Heart of Texas Petanque Club; its members couldn’t be more excited.

Petanque (pay-tonk), as you know, is a cream-filled French pastry. No, it’s not. It’s a mild rash, common in newborns, that can be treated topically. No, it’s not — and I apologize.

The HOT Petanque Club (and petanques are best served hot. Again, I apologize) offers this explanation of the game it so loves: “Petanque is a French boules game, similar to the Italian bocce or English lawn bowling games” and it is played in Austin by “a growing number of enthusiasts.” Many play at Paggi Square in the Mueller development at the old airport.

The game involves standing in a circle and throwing hollow metal balls so they land as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball, known as the cochonnet. Cochonnet is French for piglet. Yes, it is.

A YouTube search should lead you to any number of petanque videos. I enjoyed “Play petanque in your town,” posted by the Federation of Petanque U.S.A. The video drew the usual wide variety of comments, including: “I truly was excited and captivated by this video” and “1983 called. They want their jacket back” and “1994 called. They want their joke back.”

Michael Hillis, the Austin club’s secretary, let me know about the weekend events and the “rare opportunity to encounter the flamboyant international star.”

“The guy is supposed to be a real character,” Hillis told me, “and doesn’t speak a lick of English.”

The local petanque club is led by President Arsene Dupin, an accomplished magician, juggler and, of course, mime. Dupin, a Parisian by birth, is the resident magician at One World Theater.

Dupin has met Foyot several times and notes that being flamboyant helps make Foyot one of the few people who can make a living playing petanque.

At an earlier stop on his current U.S. tour, the Bangor Daily News noted that Foyot “arrived with flair in a vintage car.” Local petanque club member Max Mattes of Deer Isle, Maine, told the paper Foyot announced himself as “champion du monde” as he exited the car.

The Bangor paper identified Foyot as the nine-time petanque champ of France. Foyot’s website says he’s the seven-time French champ. The Austin club says he’s the five-time French champ. Impressive, whatever the number.

Foyot, 60, has been playing petanque since he was 11 when his dad got him involved. “He said, ‘Marco, in life, be naughty but respect others,’” Foyot reports on his website.

The website notes the London Daily Mail in 2010 said, “With his mullet hair, Hawaiian shirts and rainbow-print sweaters, Foyot is part Zen mystic, part self-promotional genius, part fashion disaster.”

“He is called ‘the Michael Jordan of petanque,’ primarily by himself,” columnist Dave Barry wrote.

Sounds like a show you don’t want to miss. Foyot will be at Zaytouna Lounge, which has a petanque court and is at 11800 N. Lamar Blvd., at 6 p.m. Friday to demonstrate his skills. On Saturday, he’ll be at the Browning Hangar, 4550 Mueller Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m to conduct clinics.

He’ll play in a tournament Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the French Legation, 802 San Marcos St.

Where else but Austin can you, on the same weekend, see great authors and the Michael Jordan of petanque?

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