Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Petanque in Civic Center Plaza



The central section of Civic Center Plaza used to feature a long, rectangular fountain which was eventually replaced by a lawn. Since the Slow Food Nation extravaganza last summer when the lawn was torn out for a "victory garden," the area has been packed dirt which isn't very inviting to anyone.



The other day a quartet of young people finally figured out a brilliant use for the long, dirt strip which now ends with the monumental six arms, three heads Buddha statue.



They were playing "Petanque," a French version of bocce ball using metallic "boules."



As the Petanque America website relates,

"Whereas official 'bocce' rules call for a smooth, prepared court with markers and sideboards, petanque can be played on most outdoor surfaces, without any setup. No special skill is required, adults can play with children, and the equipment is inexpensive."


"The game of petanque is simple, relaxing, lots of fun, and a perfect way to make new friends. Last but not least, petanque can be - and usually is - played while enjoying a cool drink (the French will often go for pastis) and tasty snacks."

7 comments:

Matty Boy said...

I love petanque! My parents took a trip to Tahiti and they brought back a petanque set. I watched people play in the dirt lots near teh Louvre last time I visited Paris.

namastenancy said...

Now, we need a stand that sells pastis and tasty snacks. That's a great use for that space - very imaginative.

AphotoAday said...

Ah yes, the "City that knows how"...
First a lawn, then a temporary garden, and now just plain dirt. Oh, I suppose it's special decomposed granite that was crushed to San Francisco's rigorous specifications -- nothing is too good for S.F...

janinsanfran said...

We play boule (petanque) every summer with an older relative. We even played in Riverside Park in NYC one time. Those are mighty new balls -- love the image of you reflected there.

KR said...

P├ętanque and bocce ball players, lawn bowlers and croquet players, unite: On Sunday 6-27-10, come out and play at the Civic Center Ball Court, starting at noon or any time you care to choose. Or, if you can't make it on the 27th, pick some other date.

Reclaiming the commons boule by boule...

sfmike said...

Dear KR: June 17th was Gay Pride Day which was a claustrophobic scene, so I presume you mean any other weekend.

KR said...

Yeah, my petanque-playing crew and I realized a couple of weeks ago that Civic Center was out because of the Pride Parade. I neglected to post as much; I figured that most people would be aware as Pride weekend approached....

We ended up playing, improbably, in the shadow of the Death Star (the new federal building) at 7th & Mission. The, ahem, court there is sloped and presents other variables to make for an interesting game. We had thought to go out to the proper petanque courts near 38th and Fulton, but nixed that idea due to public transportation and free-concert-in-Speedway-Meadow-related issues.

Next time we're gonna shoot for Civic Center again. But it may be challenging to find a non-festival/non-protest day when we all can hook up!