May 22, 2022

Do you know the choule à lacrosse, a very old game brought up to date by enthusiasts

We find its traces in the Middle Ages and especially in the 16th century in the Cotentin. Lacrosse cabbage has been practiced again for a few years in Normandy. This very old sport, which looks a bit like field hockey, has regained its letters of nobility thanks to lovers of sport and tradition.

It is a sport unlike any other. Some think it looks like field hockey, others like old rugby, but in the end, lacrosse choule has no equivalent. It is practiced with or without a stick and its principle is simple: Send the ball into the vicquets or if you prefer the goals in front or behind.

From the same family as the Irish Hurling, the choule à lacrosse is an ancient sport, traces of which can be found in certain writings from the Middle Ages in the Cotentin. The playgrounds of the time were the farmyards or the church square and the choule served rather as a stress relief for the population.

After being banned in the 19th century, it sank into oblivion, being practiced only clandestinely during weddings or patronal feasts. It was at the beginning of the 2000s that the cabbage resurfaced with, in July 2001, a reconstruction of the games in Normandy from Roman times to today.

We have completely forgotten our roots. Enchouler in Norman means to jostle. We practiced this sport at home until 1942/43 and since 2001, we have been trying to restore it to its former glory.

Jean-Philippe Joly

President of the Norman Games and Sports Federation

Today there is a federation of Norman games and sports which is passionately trying to promote these forgotten sports such as carambola and cabbage. Since 2007, a Normandy cabbage and lacrosse championship has been held.

For the moment it is made up of eight teams spread over Normandy. From the Cotentin to the Pays de Caux via Caen and the Department of Eure. There is even a team in Paris and it is not over. Team creation projects are in the making in the Pays d’Ouche or near Coutances in the Manche department. One of the flagship clubs of the choule, 21st century version, is located in the North Cotentin. The “Goubelins de choule Hâot Coutentin” in Norman (les Goubelins du Haut Cotentin) has existed in Cherbourg for four years now.

The club has about fifteen members, men, women and teenagers, all in love with Normandy and its traditions. When the weather is nice, the team plays at the green beach of Querqueville. If the weather is bad, everyone retreats to a gymnasium. Training takes place on Wednesday evenings throughout the year.

We are very attached to the traditions, to the history of our regions. La choule allows us to practice a sport in a friendly atmosphere, among lovers of tradition. We like to meet up with friends to share these moments which always end with a traditional 3rd half where we share Teurgoule and Norman cider.

Bruno Vanier

Founder of the choule club of Cherbourg.

Bruno Vanier discovered cabbage about fifteen years ago. Player of the PLO Octeville Handball for 40 years, he came to the cabbage to also find the conviviality which tends to disappear according to him in traditional sports.

Two mixed teams of four face each other on a grass field, the size of a basketball court. The game lasts twice 10 minutes. The object of the game is to score with the goal stick, with a ball approximately 10 cm in diameter. The ball must pass in the goals called viquets, and it does not matter how. There are few or no rules, but you must hit only with the stick.

“Choule is a rather physical sport, very cardio and that’s why the halves last 10 minutes and no more. During these 10 minutes, we don’t stop, we attack, we defend, we are always in movement” adds Bruno Vanier. The 8 teams participating in the Normandy championship compete in tournaments 7 times a year. Difficult and unprofitable to travel hundreds of kilometers to play twice 10 minutes when you live in Cherbourg and you have to play against a team from Pays de Caux in Seine-Maritime.

Organizing tournaments is the guarantee of being able to play all day long in a relaxed and family atmosphere. It is also an opportunity to be able to export this sport made in Normandy. The Federation of Norman Games and Sports aims to eventually create 50 teams and seeks to export cabbage to the Spanish Basque Country. The Scots have taken to the cabbage and a tournament is already planned with the Scots, as soon as the health situation allows it.