Rules of the Game of Boules (1),petanque

By Mr.Bordsenius at 2000-01-01

The game of boules is one which is daily catching on with more and more enthusiasts in Paris and the outskirts of the capital, and even in the country districts. The game of boules is an attractive gymnastic exercise, an amusement of skill and spirit. To conduct the game well, so as not to be caught by surprise, so as to prevent large adverse rounds, that’s the spirit of the player who plays the game.

The game of boules is played with three boules or two according to the habits of the players. the jack is called the “cochonnet” (little piggy). The game is played to 11 points, the first one there wins the game. You can play with 2, 4, 6 or 8 players, that’s up to the participants. But the best games are with 4 or 6 players, each with 3 boules. Like those good games with two boules when there are 6 or 8 players. But, I say, if there are 8 players in a game and each plays 3 boules that makes 24 boules, the last to play won’t enjoy it, and won’t play often enough to stay interested, and in winter it won’t keep them warm.

There is at the same time a bad habit, that’s become the rule, of taking four steps to play. Other clubs take two steps and still others just keep going. All of this is only habit, and all these habits make up the laws of each club. It makes you laugh when you see a pointer take four big steps and throw a short jack. Pointing with big strides like that he’ll pass the jack. Making four big steps, has a ridiculous air about it and makes the youngsters laugh, and they, instead of developing a good attitude, laugh and criticize the bad players and end by saying “now there’s a man who’s got me beat with regard to striding”. And they’re right, it’s too ridiculous.

The game of boules is more serious than you’d think, and there should be regulations for the self-respect of good players. I would propose, according to my belief, making one step to give the force for shooting, or pushing (la refente) and pointing. That will give more gracefulness to the players. What I call a step or movement in playing is the same thing. It will be less the subject of criticism than making four big steps running at the boule or jack, or not making any movement to play. Everyone will get accustomed to it and in the future our young enthusiasts won’t have anything more to say. All these observations that I’m making to you don’t enter into the regulations that I propose. It’s an efficiency and an improvement which sooner or later is coming for the sake of players.

If for example a player leaves his club to join another, he has to do a new apprenticeship to pick up the customs of each club, it’s very disagreeable. I thought that a little set of rules for boules would be useful, and please those gentlemen, the enthusiasts and players of boules, to not have to always argue about this or that situation which arises daily, and that each resolves in his own manner according to his own interest, and which are so often badly decided by stubborn people who don’t know the game, who are often the most obstinate when judging situations out of sheer pride - saying I’m right!

These rules I propose could prevent all difficulties with the approval of those gentlemen, the players, who as good players perfectly well know all the situations which can arise on a boules court. I’ll publish my regulations after hearing from them if they and their friends will be so good as to oblige me in this. Gentlemen, I’ve been playing boules for pleasure now some twenty years. Coussin, bookseller.

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