The tsan, which in English means field, is a sport practiced only in Aosta Valley, the Italian region in which I live, this sport practice is vaguely similar to Baseball and Oina (traditional sport of Romania), the duration of a match can be up to four hours of play. Once it was practiced in the fields and pastures in the periods when there was no livestock, the first written document that talks about it dates back to 1920, the first official regulation dates back to 1949 that also gave birth to the regional championships.

Game Rules:

First we start by saying that is a team sport, each game can only participate two different team, which see them involved one against another, the players in the field are 12, and 2 in the bench. The official size of the field, which in reality is a normal lawn, must be at least 135 meters in length, any higher measure is tolerated, even the inclination of the same is indifferent, even if it is preferable to be as level as possible for playing more easily.

Phases of play:

The game takes place in four phases, called battià or baquià:

The players of team 1 in turn throw a small ball called tsan, which is hit with a long pole called percha or pertse, which can be made of green wood or plastic material, which is held in oblique position by a metal support, indicated in the scheme on the left with a lilac rectangle located in the center of the circle called Deden lo serkio (that in english mean “inside the circle”). The members of team 2 are all placed in the field in reception, engaged in an attempt to intercept the shot, they are positioned between the space called deden bon (inside the good) and the line called bitse, as well as in the extensions of the sides of angle that forms the isosceles triangle formed by the bitse and the sides that join its extremity (limite fisico del campo). The pitcher may throw until one of his shots is intercepted by the other team or until he throw the tsan off the field three times in a row or four times in total. Interceptions are made with wooden pallets (called pilon or boquet) that can also be thrown into the air in an attempt to reach the tsan. The throws made are counted good (bone) only if they arrive in the field and are not intercepted (a rule similar to that of Baseball), the number of these bone is accumulated and becomes the number of throws that can be played in the second part of the game.

Once all the members of a team have pitched is the turn of their opponents and they will change in receipt.

After that, all the players have to transform their bone in meters with shots called paletà, those shots are make intercepting the tsan that will be launched by a player of the opposing team with an high parabola, staying near the percha. To be able to intercept it is used a wood pallet pressed called a piota. The distance is measured in meters with a measuring tape. Finally, the distances accumulated by all the players of the two teams are added.

The team that gets an advantage of at least forty meters on the other wins, if the advantage is less, the two teams draw. For the semi-finals and finals and during any play-offs, even just one meter of advantage is enough to win the match.

What you see above is a map of Aosta Valley, divided into its various municipalities, as you can see not everyone plays this sport, if you consider the fact that the population is only about 127,000 inhabitants in total in the entire region, this sport can be considered really “niche”. Personally I have never played, but I find it really interesting and has always fascinated me a lot. Generally those who play there wear a helmet because the ball, being made of pressed wood, is very dangerous, unfortunately sometimes there are accidents due to some unconscious that does not wear it, especially during trainings.

Lexicon of the game in Aosta Valley dialect (Patois):

PERSE: perch in wood from 4.5 to 5 meters long used for the initial shot

BES: fork support for the perch from 1.6 to 1.8 cm high

T ASPOT: incision on the perch in which the ball is placed for the shots

PLAT: flat area of ​​the ball

BAQUET: stick to hit the ball at the start of the race

PALET and BOQUET: small wooden boards used in the second phase of the game for the reception of the tsan

PALETA or PIOTA: indicates the service phase or is also intended as a service tool

TSACHA: the opening beating

SERVIA: second phase of the service or game

DAMA: the first shot that takes place at the perch

In conclusion I leave you with a video where the game is explained and where you can see some game actions, is in French and Italian languages, because in Aosta Valley we speak and study these two languages ​​fluently considering the proximity of our region to France.

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  1. sandwichbill

    Interesting article, Dexpatacus and well written, indeed. It seems that baseball came to America by many routes. In England there were baseball, or perhaps rounders teams, that played in local parks and playing fields before the game was taken up by the Americans, although they no longer exist, as the tsan does in the in Aosta Valley.