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Gaga Ball

Gaga ball is a physical game in which participants attempt to dodge a ball in an octagon pit, with the ultimate goal of being the last participant remaining. Players may strike the ball only with their hand, and they attempt to hit the ball in the direction of other participants to eliminate them from the game. Elimination occurs when a participant is hit in the leg with the ball. Participants may not hit the ball with two consecutive strikes, and a strike that guides the ball over the fencing of the octagon results in that player’s elimination. Game are fast-paced and the players eliminated typically return for the start of the next game within minutes.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Israeli dodgeball; Octo ball; Panda ball; Ga-ga; Gaga

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Gaga ball originated in Israel and was introduced to North America at Jewish youth summer camps in the 1970s.

Who takes part?

Gaga ball is most commonly played by children and youths at summer camps and in physical education classes. However, males and females of diverse ages and ethnocultural backgrounds take part in this activity.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

In the Greater Toronto Area, this game is played year-round in indoor settings such as gyms and churches, and in outdoor settings during the warmer months of the year.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Gaga ball is organized informally, however, it is typically played within an organized setting such as a summer camp, physical education class, or church youth group.

Cultural Significance

Gaga ball has traditionally been associated with the Israeli Jewish community (“gaga” means “touch-touch” in Hebrew). However, gaga ball does not play a significant cultural role in Israeli-Canadian or Jewish-Canadian communities.

Is there anything else we should know?

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Categories

Physical Game
  • Central Presbyterian Church
    165 Charlton Ave W
    Hamilton, ON L8P 2C8

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