What is gaga ball? Island students are finding out

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·2 min read
What is gaga ball? Island students are finding out
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Eliot River students enjoy a game of gaga ball Wednesday afternoon. (Danny Arsenault/CBC - image credit)
Eliot River students enjoy a game of gaga ball Wednesday afternoon. (Danny Arsenault/CBC - image credit)

Students at Eliot River Elementary School in Cornwall, P.E.I., are playing a game fairly new to Island schools — inside a wooden octagon.

The wooded structure is called a gaga pit — where gaga ball is played.

The game is a dodgeball variant, which has been getting more and more popular in school districts across North America the past several years.

"From what I understand it was played in the Jewish community summer camps back in the '70s so it has been around for while in that community, but I think it's probably taken off a bit more now in North America," said Darren Ford, resource teacher at Eliot River Elementary School.

Gaga means "touch touch" in Hebrew, Ford said.

"On P.E.I. there's been a number of schools who reached out wondering how we did it," but he admits he got the idea from Englewood School in Crapaud.

Eliot River students enjoy a game of gaga ball Wednesday afternoon.
Eliot River students enjoy a game of gaga ball Wednesday afternoon.(Danny Arsenault/CBC)

Gaga ball is like a walled in game of dodge ball with some differences. Players start touching a wall of the pit, a referee throws a ball in the centre and on the third bounce it's in play.

Once the ball is in play, any player can hit it with their hand, sending it in the direction of another. If you get hit below the waist you are out and have to stay out of the pit until the game is over.

"It's very competitive," said student Kohl Dallaire, adding if the ball hits your hands or above your waist you are still in the game.

About 20 players pile into the pit to play the game and the elimination process continues until one winner is left standing.

"It's satisfying when you hit two people with one shot," said Dallaire.

'Good game for everyone'

Darcie Flick, another student who was playing gaga ball on Wednesday afternoon, said she started playing at school this winter.

"They just put them up because we saw a video online and I think, like, the principals liked it. So we put the pits up and we just started playing," she said.

"It's like a good game for everyone to, like, try sports, you know."

Flick said she thinks it would be a good game for any school across the Island.

All the kids who play together are within the same cohort to keep the game within public health guidelines due to COVID-19, Ford said.

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