New game at Swan Park
By James Card
Eagle Scout candidate Mark Reinke built a Gaga Ball pit at Swan Park as his Eagle Scout service project.
The pit is located near the new splash pad.
On Sunday, Oct. 1, Reinke held sessions teaching others how to play the game.
Gaga Ball is played in the octagonal pit and it is similar to dodge ball. Just about any ball can be used such as a rubber kickball or volleyball. The object of the game is to eliminate other players and be the last person standing.
To knock out another player, a player smacks the ball and it must hit the other player below the waist or knees depending on local rules.
Above-the-waist (or knee) shots do not count and the game continues. Knocked out players must exit the octagon and if a player accidently hits the ball out of the octagon, they are out of the game. The ball is tossed back into the octagon and must bounce three times (as the player chant “ga” upon each bounce).
After the three bounces, the ball is in play. This is also how the ball is put into play at the start of the game.
The ball cannot be picked up and thrown or scooped. Players cannot hit the ball twice in a row. There are numerous variations of the game. Some allow for catching a ball in midair (like dodgeball) to put another player out.
The origins of the game are unknown other than it has evolved and spread at American summer camps since the 1950s.