San Jose has its bocce courts. Thanks to Monte Sereno, Saratoga may soon have its petanque courts. For people who know what petanque is, that is actually good news.
So what is petanque? Essentially, it’s a game of jacks for adults, using three hollow metal balls to strike a wooden ball. The game originated in Provence in 1907, and now has a following in places as diverse as Quebec, Laos, and England. And in Saratoga, of course.
That city has wanted to build a petanque court, but the cost—$17,000—seemed almost forbidding given the economic climate. Fortunately, Monte Sereno has come to the rescue. The town received a considerable sum of money from the 2002 Proposition 40 Parks Development Fund, even though it doesn’t actually have any parks. That means it can distribute the funds to neighboring towns like Los Gatos or Saratoga, whose services local residents use. “We generally look to where our citizens use parks in surrounding communities,” says City Manager Brian Loventhal.
They have given $40,000 to Saratoga, and some of it will be used to develop a new petanque court. In return, Monte Sereno players will be able to book the court at a reduced rate. They should not run up against too many scheduling conflicts either. Only twelve people in all of Saratoga actually play petanque.