When Frenchmen get riled

Petanque is a serious game. And we’re talking deadly serious.

If you don’t know the game, well–and may the saints of southern France forgive me for saying so–imagine bocci, only with pastis and lots of Frenchmen. Oh, and death threats.

It is, as they go, a spectacular game, rewarding of serious skill, but tolerant of newbie wild throws, too. It is a game which, for me, brings back the scent of Gruyere, cows and Gallic suavite that was endemic to Francophone Switzerland some time ago.

But far from the relaxing pastime I learned, contemporary petanque is high stakes. It seems that one team in a major petanque championship threatened to kill another if they reported the win they’d just earned over their bellicose brethren. Fraternité, indeed.

And this on Bastille Day, no less. Geddy Lee would not approve. If these petanque thugs had really wanted to scare them, they could have just threatened them with this, about which I apologize in advance, because, well, these are Canadians getting riled, and that’s a whole different thing:

James Heflin

Author: James Heflin

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