I Am Still A Ga-Ga Master

I recently had the opportunity to play Ga-ga for the first time in many years and was pleased to see that I am still a Ga-ga master.

For those of you who are unfamilar with it here is a short description.

"Ga-ga or GaGa is a form of dodgeball that is thought to have originated in Israel. "Ga" (גע) means "hit" in Hebrew. The game is popular at Jewish, American summer camps, many of which have special ga-ga arenas or so called "pits" in which to play.

Game Play/Rules

Ga-ga is played within an octagonal enclosure when available, or in any other space that is completely enclosed by surrounding walls. The objective of the game is to eliminate your opponents by hitting a ball with either an open hand or closed fist into the region at or below his or her knees. That player is then out and must leave the playing area. A player can also be eliminated by having his or her ball caught in the air."

Some of my favorite memories are of massive Ga-ga games in which there were just tons of people in the court. Those were fast paced and somewhat physical games but ever so much fun.
I always enjoyed playing a very physical game.

I loved going after the people who would tap the ball off of the wall and try and stalk the other gameplayers across the court. I'd slide over to them and try to slap the ball away. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it led to an early demise, but no guts, no glory.

During this most recent edition of Jack's Ga-ga experience I was able to teach my son how play and tried to teach him some of the finer points of the game. He loved it and I loved watching him play. He still needs to work on learning how to lose gracefully, but at 5.5 that is not always an easy thing to do.

He was also fortunate not to suffer a bad case of Ga-ga knuckles but if he is anything like me they are coming.

In any case, it was nice to have a chance to play with him and watch him learn to enjoy something that I have had so much fun playing.


PsychoToddler said...

I used to play gaga. I sucked.

Another meshugannah mommy said...

My son is the Ga-ga king. I wonder if his counselors will be able to drag him out of the pit this summer...

kasamba said...

Imagine playing ga-ga while listening to radio goo-goo.

Leaf said...

Nice blog. gaga brings up some very fond memories. I think I still have time to quit my job and go to sleep away camp this summer.

Jack Steiner said...


As I told my son, practice, practice, practice.


It is a lot of fun.


Freddie Mercury would be proud.


Me too. :)

Sarah Likes Green said...

brings back memories of the playground...

Jason H. Elbaum said...

We used to play this in the school halls during indoor recess. I don't really remember the rules we used. I had the advantages of runthood: I was small and agile, and the bigger, athletic players didn't take me seriously until I was one of the last players left.

I haven't found any support for the urban Jewish legend that the game originates in Israel, though.

Bill said...

Never heard of it, guess that's because I never went to a Jewish, American summer camp. Somehow I think that not being Jewish or American had something to do with that.

However I am going to introduce the Game to our cub scout pack.

Sounds cool.

Jack Steiner said...


Good memories, I hope.


Small and agile is a good recipe for success.


It is a hell of a lot of fun.

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