Leisure boules vs competition boules – when did the distinction begin?

When did people first start distinguishing between leisure boules and competition boules?

It seems to me that it must have begun when the requirements for competition boules were first codified. As the requirement for boules were gradually written down and refined, boule manufacturers must have began to distinguish between their models of boules that met those requirements (“competition” boules) and their models of boules that didn’t meet all of those requirements but were functionally similar and less expensive (“leisure” boules). Assuming that this is what happened, our question turns into a slightly different question— When did the idea of certified “competition” boules first emerge?

Based on our historical archive of the versions of the rules of the game of petanque, the answer appears to be that happened between 1962 and 1974.

  • In 1962 the FIPJP (international) rules first required boules to be certified (agréées) by the the FIPJP.
  • In 1964 the FFPJP (French national) rules first required boules to be “agréées par Sa Fédération”.
  • In 1970 the French national rules first required boules to be stamped with the boule’s weight.
  • In 1974, the French national rules first required boules to be stamped with the manufacturer’s mark.

In 1984, the French national rules were adopted as the FIPJP international rules, and most national federations adopted the FIPJP rules, unchanged, as their national rules. That’s how we got the rules that we have today.

Interestingly, the requirement that competition boules be stamped with the IDs of the boule’s model and set aren’t in the rules of the game. They are in the FIPJP document called Requirements for the Certification of Competition Petanque Boules. Unfortunately, I have no way to trace the history history of that document.

THE BOTTOM LINE
If I had to pick a specific year for when the distinction between leisure boules and competition boules first completely emerged, I’d pick 1974. That was the year when the French national rules first required all of the three things that the international rules now require— (1) that boules be certified, (2) that boules be stamped with the boule’s weight, and (3) that boules be stamped with the manufacturer’s mark.