Never pick up another player’s boules

Here’s a tip for new players.

At the end of a mène, new players will often pick up boules belonging to other players and hand the boules to their owners. They do it out of a desire to be helpful. But— here’s the tip— don’t do it. Never pick up another player’s boules.
There are two reasons.

The first reason is that, although the other players realize that you’re trying to be helpful, the truth is that you’re not actually helping. For a brief moment, while the other player is trying to find his boules on the ground, you are actually preventing him from finding his boules. And at the same time you’re neglecting your responsibility to pick up your own boules as quickly as possible. So what you should do is concentrate on picking up your own boules as quickly as possible, and leave the other players to do the same. If you’re in a hurry, don’t even pick them up — just kick them out-of-bounds and pick them up later.

The second reason is that sometimes a player (it could be you!) mistakenly thinks that the mène is over and starts to pick up boules before all of the boules have been thrown. It’s an honest mistake, but it causes problems. According to Article 27 (FIPJP rules, 2016 version), “At the end of a mene, any boule picked up before the agreement of points is dead.” Some umpires will apply Article 27 quite literally— if a player from Team A picks up a boule belonging to Team B, the umpire will declare Team B’s boule to be dead. Which of course is grossly unfair. A player on one team shouldn’t be able to kill one of the other team’s boules at will. So such situations raise problems about how to interpret Article 27, which is a can of worms that you just don’t want to open. So don’t open it— Never pick up another player’s boules.

Finally, here’s another useful tip for new players. At the end of the mène, when it is time to pick up boules, wait a bit. Wait until you’re sure that all of the boules have been thrown and the score has been decided. As a new player, wait until you see more experienced players picking up their boules. Then start picking up your own boules. If you see another player’s boule that is way off in left field somewhere, don’t pick it up… instead, kick it toward where the other boules are clustered around the jack. That will help its owner to find it as he’s looking for it on the ground.


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