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Our Friend Mike Lee

Today, our club lost more than a talented player - we lost a dear friend. Mike Lee, the one we often bragged about being the best player among us, passed away at the heartbreakingly young age of 55. While the ache I feel is immense, I can only imagine the unfathomable grief his wife, children, and grandchildren must be experiencing. Mike's family adored him, and their loss is profound. Mike loved his wife and family deeply, sometimes bringing his grandson to the courts.

If not for petanque, the game that brought us together, I may have never had the fortune of knowing Mike. We lived in different neighborhoods and had different jobs, but the court was where our paths intertwined. I first met Mike in 2017 when I started playing, and he immediately took me under his wing, teaching me the nuances of the game, including how to "make a rainbow" when pointing high.

Mike took petanque seriously, yet he also knew how to have fun. During tournaments, he was laser-focused and quiet, but those of us in the club know him as a man with a wonderful sense of humor, often laughing at himself when he threw "potatoes." We've played in countless tournaments together, especially in mixed doubles competitions. Win or lose, Mike was always steady and supportive – the perfect partner, calm under pressure and encouraging when I faltered.

We had planned an adventure together in Port Townsend this August, a trip Mike was excitedly looking forward to, as he had never traveled out of state for tournaments before. He had even bought a brand new set of ATX boules, but tragically, he barely had the chance to use them. For Mike, petanque was a reprieve from his hard work.

Beyond the courts, Mike was a true friend. He helped us fix our car, shared fresh vegetables from his garden and family farm, and his singing voice was something to behold. There were weeks when we were with Mike almost every day at the courts. He was family to us. We shared so many treasured moments – road trips to Sonoma, San Rafael, or Fresno for tournaments, enjoying noodles after practice, and supporting each other through personal griefs.

The petanque court will never be the same without Mike. I'll find myself searching for his green truck, hoping to catch a glimpse of him one more time. He has left an incredible legacy and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Rest in peace, Mike.

Your friend, Michelle


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