Something you might not know about summer camp: It breeds passionate athletes in many different sports, even ones that are little known outside of summer camp, such as ga-ga. Although it’s not well known in America (but becoming more so everyday!), hoards of campers dream all winter about getting back into the ga-ga pit. Many camps even have ga-ga tournaments! Camp challenge weeks even have ga-ga challenges. There is no doubt that campers are going gaga for ga-ga!
So what is this ga-ga? It’s a little like dodgeball in a circular enclosed space. Many camps feature ga-ga pits , but the game can be played virtually anywhere there are four walls or barriers. As in dodgeball, when players are hit with the ball, they are out. They may, however, use the walls of the ga-ga court to clear the ball. As players are struck by the ball, they are eliminated, and leave the pit. The last boy (or girl) standing wins. Two primary ways that ga-ga differs from dodgeball is that ga-ga strikes must be at or below the knees and players bounce rather than throw the ball. Also unlike dodgeball, players may either bounce the ball at other players or against the walls of the pit. Some camps have adopted rules of play unique to their campers’ style of ga-ga play, while others prefer to stick to the official rules…What? There are official rules? Yep. In fact, there is even an International Championship Tournament held annually in Europe. More than 30 countries , including the U.S., winner of multiple championship titles, participate.
No one quite knows how ga-ga originated or where it comes from, but rumor has it that the game gets its name from the sound the ball makes during the opening play. It’s bounced twice in the air and the players say “ga” on each bounce. On the third bounce, the ball is in play (some rules call for three bounces with the ball officially in play on the fourth bounce). So warm up your ga-ga hands and start stretching. We’ll see you in the pit!