East Portland’s Portland Pétanque Club hosts scaled-down tourney

INCLUDES VIDEO VIGNETTE | Don’t call it ‘lawn bowling’ or ‘bocce’ – see why people of all ages, including many from outer East Portland, are drawn to the outdoor sport of pétanque …

In Southeast Portland, people enjoy a day of tournament play at the Portland Pétanque Club.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and its variants, have put a stop to many social activities, it hasn’t completely shut down play at the Portland Pétanque Club (PPC), located at the north end of Westmoreland Park.

What’s it like, to play pétanque?
Watch our VIDEO VIGNETTE of players having fun
in the sun (they play all year long, also):

“We have followed State and County rules the whole time; so, with the onset, we had to cancel all tournaments, as well as organized play, until the ‘lock down’ was over,” said PPC President Steve Walker.

Pitching a pétanque boule is Mike Stasask, President of the Eugene Pétanque Club.

“Play was not done in organized form here then, but folks could go ahead and play if they arranged it themselves, making sure to follow all masking and tracking protocols. As a result, not many people came out to play,” Walker told East  Portland News.

However, since it is an outdoor sport, Walker remarked that pétanque is very attractive –because, with the smaller numbers of participants, social distancing hasn’t been a problem.

Pétanque player Ray Soucie, of Creston-Kenilworth, says that this sport is won by a matter of millimeters.

And on the weekend of September 11 and 12, socially-distanced groups were agaain playing their favorite sport, as a limited version of the “PPC Rose City Open” – cancelled last year – got underway, with a total of 18 doubles teams participating.

“This year, we had players from Mexico, Chicago, Northern California, Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest all come to our two-day tournament,” Walker said.

Gerda Jorgenson, who now lives in Vancouver, says she’ll be trying out for the national and perhaps the world competitions soon – in Sonoma, California.

Simple to learn, hard to master
Pétanque is a sport that falls into the category of “boules sports” – sports played with hard balls. Players or teams toss or pitch their boules (in this case, steel balls) toward the smaller target ball, called a cochonnet, and score points by having it land closer to it than the opponent’s.

“A person can learn the basics of pétanque in minutes, but it takes practice and play to get really good at it,” Walker observed. “We continue to invite people to come in and learn the game – we’re happy to lend newcomers boules, so no purchase is necessary!”

All are welcome to come and try out the sport, at the Portland Pétanque Club.

The current season is winding down, Walker said, but they’ll continue play over the winter, providing that COVID-19 restrictions do not prohibit their doing so.

To learn more about the Portland Pétanque Club and its location, or for contact information, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

>> On our Front Page: After taking careful aim, French-born Alexandra Malette looks serious as she pitches her boule toward the target, called a cochonnet.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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