From Provence to Burns Park
Thanks to a couple who used to live nearby, Ann Arborites can now play the French game petanque in Burns Park. It's similar to the Italian game boccie, except that players stand inside a small circle to throw baseball-sized metal boules at a smaller ball called a cochonnet ("piglet"). Players score by placing their boule closest to the cochonnet--or by knocking away their opponents' closer ball.
Since the steel balls can be picked up with a magnetic wand, "it's a good game for elderly people," says Howard Ando. "How many people can play in a pickup game of basketball?"
Ando, sixty-six, and his wife, Jane Wilkinson, sixty-five, partially funded the limestone court (Pfizer, Ando's former employer, also contributed). "It's a social game, a way to meet people," says Ando. "Everyone can play initially, but your skill level never ends."
[Originally published in September, 2009.]