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Hello everyone and welcome,

Wow!  What an incredible weekend we had for the game of petanque in Texas.  We had two separate tournaments on April’s fool weekend. It was our 9th year celebration.  The first tournament was located at the Historic Browning Mueller Hangar and the next day at the Zaytouna Lounge.  Both events were attended with players from all over, some came as far as Canada, Mexico and Washington State others came from Dallas and San Antonio.  Thank you so much for keeping on supporting the Heart of Texas extravaganza Open Tournament,  thank you to all the volunteers,  thank you to all the sponsors with your donations, thank you to all  friends and family who came to watch the games, thank you to all the members and thank you to all the players who participated.

On Sunday we were blessed with great weather even so the forecast wasn’t looking so good.  The courts were beautifully prepared by our court Master Terry Plemons.  I came in early before sunrise no-one was there.   It was a beautiful feeling to be under the Hangar that was penetrated by the silence of the courts.  Club members volunteers started to arrive to set up the last minute score tables, banners, promotional material etc…  And with the sunrise the magic of the heart started to happen by looking at the smiles and excitements of the players coming to the events.  Some of those players you get to hug  only once a year but they feel like family members, other you never met before but you know that they have to have the love and the passion of the game to come from so far away to participate.   So they also become instantly part of the family.

Like Marcel Pagnol said:  (The French are proud of having invented this peaceful game of pétanque, which, while spreading around the world, works humbly but surely for peace among all people.)   And all of a sudden now all the courts are feel up with players practicing and you can  hear the magical sound of metal balls clicking.   And before you know it, bang, the blowing  of the horn announced the start of the first games.  May the best team win!  And it is a battle to make it through the four elimination rounds to stay in in the Concours or go in the consolante brackets .   The elimination consist of four timed  games of one hour with just a 5 minutes pause in between games.   After the elimination rounds to make it all the way to the finals you still will have to play and win another three games.  Wow!  This is a minimum playing of seven hours almost nonstop.   You have to remain focused at all time, you just cant loose your concentration, it is a must to  keep on focusing on the goal of making it to the top.  And at around seven pm there is only two teams remaining in the finals.  The rest of the players seats, watch, cheers and support the players in the finals.   In the finals now your concentration has to remain to the highest because fatigue become a factor after a full day of playing.  The last two teams remaining were Jeanne Marie Browning (Dallas Club) and Jim Schwobel (Heart of TX, HOT) against Amine Najah (HOT)  and Arsene Dupin (HOT).  Both teams were tie for a while but Amine and Arsene won 13/6.  And the celebration starts, you smile inwardly and the feeling of achievement englobe your heart.  Finally all those thousand of hours practicing paid of and you are holding he winning trophy in your hands.  Unreal.   But this is just day one!  Now you have to pack up the whole place keep it as clean as you found it and try to make it home at a descent time to get some rest for the next day of competition.

The Zaytouna Lounge is an entirely a different feel.   The place is not as majestic as the Hangar but does have this sweet family feeling where passioned players wants to hang out.  You can see and feel the love.  The feeling is such that you feel that you are welcomed into someone home.   And yes actually you do  because the place belong to Amine Najah who built it out of devotion for the game of Petanque.  Everyone was welcomed with his famous Moroccan tea.   We knew the weather was going to be real challenging but we were able to play in between the drops at least the first round of the four elimination rounds.   The huge part of the storm came in and the temperature drop 20 degrees and the sky became dark like if it was night.  We all had to refuge ourselves inside the Lounge. They even issued a tornado warning.  But in the Lounge everyone was happy talking with each other and getting to know one another better.  We all tried to wait for the clearing of the weather  but it was evident that it will take hours, the storm was so intense.  So we decided to go back to the covered Hangar.  When we arrived there the sun was waiting for us.  Again the court Master did his magic and quickly started to reconstruct courts like the day before.  Because of the rain  we restarted late so the finals this time went all the way 8 :15 pm.  But the beauty of the Hangar is that we have a great lights system and we can play at night.  This time the Finals was composed of Jeff Brown (HOT) and Walt Elder ( Carolina) against Karim Moumouni ( Dallas) and Bill Baker (Dallas)  Jeff and Walt had the upper hand and won.

WOW! WOW! AND WOW!  Thank you to you all!  Arsene A+ Love.



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