Despite initial predictions to the contrary, Sunday October 1st was
sunny and relatively warm, which a good thing when you are organizing
the first Petanque competition for Juniors in Oregon organized by La
Lake Oswego's Foothills Park with it's purpose built Petanque terrain is
the perfect environment for this type of competition, open, inviting,
and accessible, requiring very little pre-organizational requirements. A
couple of tables moved from the adjacent picnic area suffice to setup
the trophies, medals, and prizes awaiting to be collected by the Junior
winners to be, as well as the large trays filled with French breakfast
pastries kindly donated by "La Provence Boulangerie".
It is 9:30 and many of the potential players and their families have
arrived, each and everyone milling about introducing each other while
enjoying breakfast pastries with a cup of coffee or Chocolate.
At 10 am the competition starts with a complement of 11 teams of
doubles, four of which consisted solely of juniors and the rest mixed
(one junior to one adult). The youngest being 6 years of age playing
with her Father. All Junior players were given a complimentary
competitors button and point markers (complimentary of Bob Puckett). The Juniors were given the choice to play to 11 or 13 points and they
unanimously decided to play to 13, despite the fact that many would have to potentially leave early for other scholastic sporting events after
lunch. Distance of play was set for Juniors at between 5 and 9 meters
respectively. The adults who played with Juniors were honor bound (where possible) to defer to their junior team partners as Captain in making decision on the play.
And the games began, quickly! Proud parents watching anxiously were
actually cheering. It was equally surprising to see the Juniors taking
acre to draw proper circles, measure distances and be generally aware of the rules of the game without the adults needing to step in. Many of
these youngsters knew the play necessary to win, whether tactically or
recklessly, they knew as well as any senior at a National tournament. It was also a pleasure to see some fine pointing followed by an occasional carreaux, YES! Carreaux were made by some of these Juniors. The whole thing was quite civilized, very much animated and loud and very very competitive. In fact it was like watching a Petanque Competition in France.
After a mere hour and three quarters, all the teams had played their
minimum 3 or 4 games and 4 teams were selected on wins and points to compete for the 4 final places.
No one stopped for lunch which La Provence also organized. Time was of the issue for some of these youngsters who had other sports commitments at their schools later on.
By 1:30 it was all over. These juniors had played as many games in this short space of time as most adult competitions have in one day. And before any says anything, some of these games had scores of 12-13. It was just fast paced as kids would have it naturally.
The winning team was Captained by Thomas Rice (10 years old) who pointed brilliantly, narrowly beating the teams Captained by Heidi Andersen (16). In third place the Duo teams of Doug (16) and Jaspre (16) edged out the team of Alexandra Tisseur (12) and Andrew Agnesse (12). Apart from the tremendous prizes donated (Le Fenouil Restaurant donated dinner for two for the first place, La Provence also donated dinner for two as well as two gist certificate for third place), the top 3 place Junior winners were given a trophy and medals, and a special "Most Promising New Player" prize was awarded to Ashley (12) for outstanding efforts. Congratulations to all!
The competition was over and even before the perfunctory winners photo could be taken, several of the youngsters rushed off to their nest sport venues, all smiles and ebullient from their morning of fun. They are the future of Petanque and many of them will be back!
I was a small event by all standards but it was a beginning. Parents did
ask afterwards if we could host TWO competitions next year, one in the
Spring as well as this one in the Fall. The Juniors were more than
enthusiastic when I said I would.
I have the feeling that there will be many more participants next year....
La Boule Rose Petanque Club
Attached pictures include a group Photo, Heidi and Ashley, Panoramic view, Alexandra and Andres, measuring a point (Jaspre measuring, Doug, Thomas, Alec), Victor, Winners (Thomas, Heidi, Ashley, Jaspre)....
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