Only A Game Only A Game

Support the news

Laughter In Paris, But Lament Back Home02:13
Download

Play
(JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
(JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
This article is more than 5 years old.

We were tired in the way that the day following an overnight flight that lands early in the morning can make you tired.

After dinner on that day, we found our way to a park, of which there are many in Paris. They feature green places to rest, these parks do, and healthy hedges, which means sometimes you can’t see what’s making the noises you can hear from the other side.

I thought briefly about approaching the group with the wooden pins to ask about the game. Then I remembered that I couldn’t speak the language of the people who were playing it. And <em>then</em> I remembered that I was on vacation.

What I could hear from the bench on which my wife and I sat was the clicking of balls hitting other balls -- a game of bocce, maybe -- and the laughter of the young men and women who were apparently rolling the balls. That was off to the left of the bench.

From behind us, beyond another hedge, came what sounded like the clatter of wooden sticks or pins that somebody was tossing at other sticks or pins.

I turned and looked through a gap in one of the hedges to see if I had that right. I did. Wooden pins.

Off to the right, there was another game of clicking and clatter and laughter. Maybe there were balls and pins in that one.

Men and women, boys and girls, played around us on all sides.

I thought briefly about approaching the group with the wooden pins to ask about the game. Then I remembered that I couldn’t speak the language of the people who were playing it.

And then I remembered that I was on vacation.

I leaned back on the bench and I listened to the clicking and the clacking and the laughter of the men and women and boys and girls, playing together.

Across the ocean, the baseball team that plays in the city near which I live was in the process of losing eight games in row. The football team that plays in the region was in the process of losing its quarterback for 25 percent of the season, unless mercy prevailed, which seemed unlikely. The Olympic bid based in the city was falling apart. Sometimes you can’t fool enough of the people enough of the time, even if you’re rich.

[sidebar title="Tom Brady Vs. The NFL" width="630" align="right"] Last week, Only A Game's Doug Tribou spoke with labor expert Lewis Maltby about Tom Brady's rights as a union employee. [/sidebar]

Probably nobody at the ballpark was laughing. Nobody in the corridors of power in Foxboro or at NFL headquarters in New York or at the offices of Boston 2024 was laughing, either.

But all around me, people I couldn’t see were playing games -- men and women, boys and girls -- and I could hear the clicking and the clacking, and, on all sides, the laughter.

This segment aired on August 8, 2015.

Related:

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

More…

Support the news