In Washington DC, in January, when you get out there on the piste in 40-degree weather, those metal boules can get pretty cold.
My first impulse of course was to pull on my gloves. But there were problems with the gloves. They were nylon ski gloves. They were warm enough all right, but they were bulky. Between the thick insulation and the slippery nylon surface of the glove, I had no grip or feel for the boule; I couldn’t control it. It was hard pulling the gloves on and off, so I finally ended up playing bare-handed, despite the cold, stuffing my hands into my pockets when I could.
The other day I saw a friend wearing some unusual gloves, and then later the same day I found them in an appliance fix-it shop. (You can probably find them in a gardening shop or a hardware store.) So I bought them and thought I’d give them a try. They cost $5.
The gloves are Magid ROC40T-L The ROC Rayon Made from Bamboo Collection Nitrile Gloves, Mens Large by Magid Glove. I also found them at amazon.com They are basically a sort of light cottony glove (I guess technically the are not cotton, but some sort of rayon made from bamboo.) They are not bulky at all, and they are slightly elastic, so they fit snugly but comfortably over your hand. Your impression is of a very thin glove — just the opposite of a bulky ski glove.
The palms and insides of the fingers are coated with some black substance (I guess it is called “nitrile”). It is flexible and sort of rubbery, with a surface that is not sticky, but not slippery either. With this kind of surface, I think you could actually get a good grip on a boule, with decent feeling. The reviewers of the glove say things like
- These gloves are good for light to medium duty jobs that require more ability to use fingers.
- These gloves work great for jobs where you need some “feel” for the work and a sensitive grip, like pulling weeds or picking up pine cones and small brush.
The gloves are meant to be light work gloves. The reviews mentioned that they aren’t very sturdy. But I figure that that shouldn’t matter if I’m going to be using them only for petanque.
So I bought a pair.
They are not very warm — they weren’t designed for warmth. But they are warm enough — the nitrile coating does indeed take the edge off of the temperature of a freezing boule.
The gloves don’t breathe; the nitrile coating traps perspiration. But my hands aren’t perspiring very much — they are cold. That’s why I’m wearing gloves in the first place.
Best of all, after a frame or two, I’m just playing normally. I’ve completely forgot that I’m wearing gloves.