Sunday, December 26, 2010

Report from FPUSA National Sport Director

Dear FPUSA Members,

Another year has come and gone, and I hope it was a good one for you all.

FPUSA experienced growth in membership once again in 2010, crossing the 1,500 member threshold with more clubs than ever before. Although numbers are not fastidiously kept, it is clear that participation was up over the 7 national and 21 regional tournaments held in 2010.

Thanks again to all our host clubs and volunteers for putting on the 2010 program and to all who played or supported our title tournaments. We are making strides in our organization and sport administration — not perfect by any means, but members are really coming around to the improvements that we have been trying to implement over the past few years.

I want to give a big thanks as well to the 2010 FPUSA Sport Committee members, Gilles Canesse, Christophe Chambers, Diana Jacobs, Albyn Jones and Paul Yang, for their valuable help in making sport policy and for serving the membership at our tournaments. And to our FPUSA Blog masters, Juan Garcia, Dan Danielson, Joe Martin and Frank Pipal, and to the numerous club bloggers out there, for posting photos and results of our title tournaments throughout the year.

Here are a few highlights from 2010:

Seniors' World Championship
Our compliments and congratulations should go to our Team Captain Jean-Pierre Subrenat, Xavier Thibaud, Eric Bertin, PJ Mallette and Coach Steve Ginsberg for their fine performance at the World Championship in Turkey this past October. They qualified for the concours playoff, something a US team has not done in recent memory, with a position of 18 out of 48 teams.

It was a long haul for our team. They qualified way back in September of 2008 (when we were unsure about the World Championship schedule). Then they had to travel to Montreal in December of 2009 to "qualify" again for one of the two Pan American Confederation's slots at the 2010 WC. It turned out that there was only the USA and Canada at the Pan Am playoff. But our guys kept their competitive edge and defeated Canada, winning two of three games, and took home the first Pan American championship trophy. Nice job, all around!

Women's Qualifier for the 2011 World Championship
This past July, nine women's teams competed for the honor of representing us at next year's Women's World Championship. The event was characterized by tight games and good spirits, so compliments to all for making the event successful and rewarding.

As we all know, only one team can take home the gold. And they were Antonia Paulsen, Diana Jacobs and Pym Nielsen. Winning in comeback fashion over a couple of strong teams in the semis and the finals, they scratched their way to impressive victories, never giving up until the last boule was played. The team has selected Cynthia Stroud, who was part of our 2009 US Team, as the fourth player. Be sure to wish them the best of luck, next time you see them!

Juniors' Qualifier for the 2011 World Championship
For the first time in quite a while, we held a Juniors' Qualifier. Two teams from Fresno, California and Eugene, Oregon faced off for a one-day, best-of-5 series this past July. The sportsmanship that all players and coaches exhibited was exemplary. The match was close and, in the 5th game, Fresno won a nail-biter, taking the series 3 games to 2. The day's match was so close that the total "points for" and "points against" after the five games were dead even!

Congratulations to Pengsue Normen, Hai Normen and Kenny Yang for a job well done. And to the Eugene team of Jackson Bedbury, Carly Stasack and Rio O'Mary. Carly was chosen as the fourth player. Special Thanks to Coaches Paul Yang and Mike Stasack, and to "Chief Statistician" Ryan Baker.

Note: no dates or host sites have been set for the 2011 WC's. Hopefully there will be announcement early in the new year.

2010 Nationals
We did very well with Nationals in 2010. You can get results from the various entries on our blog, but turnout was great both in Brooklyn (Doubles) and in Lafayette, CA (Singles and Mixed Triples). Triples, hosted by Portland, suffered a bit by not being a qualifier, but luckily there was one team from New York who competed. All other players were from the west coast.

2010 Regionals
It was nice to see the calendar fill up in three of our regions. The NE is still a tough nut to crack — must be that old "Yankee independence" thing, or something like that. But a big thanks to the NYPC for carrying the program forward there. The players really appreciate it.

Some notes on 2011:

Please see posted events calendar.

2011 Qualifier:
FIPJP has changed the traditional "Seniors' World Championship" to "Men's World Championship." All male players must be 18 years of age or older. Our Qualifier will therefore be "Men Only." More details on the event to be held in Lafayette, CA will be forthcoming. We will try to have a secondary tournament, an "open," so that women, juniors and players who are not interested in going to the WCs can be part of the event

2011 Nationals
Make your travel plans now for the upcoming Mixed Triples and Men's & Women's Singles to be held January 22-23 in Boca Raton, FL. Entry forms and hospitality info will be released soon.

And how about that Fresno Petanque Club?! They will be hosting their first nationals on May 14-15: Mixed Doubles and Men's & Women's Doubles. FPC has a reputation for top notch hospitality, so this one promises to be a real barn-burner!

2011 Regionals
With our regional offerings now at 7 different formats, you might say we are at our saturation point. The flip side of this "something-for-everyone" approach is that there is plenty to choose from for regions and host clubs. If you have any ideas for new or improved formats, please contact me or a member of the Sport Committee.

Again, three regions have filled the 2011 calendar pretty well. It's still early for event planning in the northern climes, but it's nice to see Maine Boules Club signing up for a couple NE regionals. Let's hope for a few more slots to fill in up there - maybe a Mixed format or two. Despite the many challenges and few members in the Midwest Region, we are still holding out hope for a Midwest regional at some point in time.

Note: SW and NW Regional Singles will be separated into Men's and Women's in 2011. This is an experiment and, is optional for the host clubs. If successful, we will consider making it a permanent feature of our regional program.

2011 Regulations
Everyone's favorite topic. Ha!... The Sport Committee will discuss and submit some format and rule updates for our title tournaments and qualifier in the new year. FIPJP/FPUSA official rules of the game will be published by Secretary Frank Pipal and distributed to the clubs with the 2011 license packets.

The 2010 regs and official rules will remain applicable until the 2011 editions arrive.

Best Holiday Wishes to you and your families.

And thanks again for your support of FPUSA!
Ed Porto
FPUSA National Sport Director

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Seasons Greetings from Boule on Kill Petanque Club

From the Boule on Kill Petanque Club in Esperance, New York, we have a Happy New Year Greeting.

Our thanks to them for providing this little snow person who must love boules, but only in the winter, don't you think?