When I saw my good friend and Mayor of Princeton, Greg Wright, share photos of a new addition to Lafayette Park I did a double-take. The new feature is called Gaga Ball. Is this some sort of Lady Gaga party? Will I need a meat dress to play? After a little research, I am now well versed in the game of Gaga Ball.

Photo: Greg Wright
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If it sounds familiar to you, you might've seen it featured in an episode of Bob's Burgers. A lot of people on the internet actually thought that Gaga Ball was just a made-up game for this episode.

Gaga Ball has been around since the 1970s. I actually originated in Israel, and then caught on around the world. It's super popular in summer camps. Apparently, it's gaining popularity, because, in my research, I found several children's party facilities that are centered around the sport. Basically, like a Sky Zone but with this dodgeball-ish game.

PHOTO: GREG WRIGHT

Each facility has its own specific games rules but according to The Gaga Center in New York City this is the 'official' way to play Gaga or Ga-Ga Ball:

  • All players start with one hand touching a wall of the pit.
  • The game begins with a referee throwing the ball into the center of the pit.
  • When the ball enters the pit, the players scream 'GA' for the first two bounces, and 'GO' on the third bounce, after which the ball is in action.
  • Once the ball is in play, any player can hit the ball with an open or closed hand.
  • If a ball touches a player below the knee (even if the player hits himself or herself) he or she is out and leaves the pit. If a player is hit above the knees, the play continues.
  • If a ball is caught on a fly, the player who hit the ball is out.
  • Using the walls of the octagon to aid in jumping is legal as long as the player does not permanently sit on the ledge of the octagon.
  • Players cannot hold the ball.
  • If needed, a second ball can be thrown in the pit to expedite the end of the game. The last player standing is the winner of that round.
PHOTO: GREG WRIGHT

It's pretty safe to say that I would be no good at this game. I would totally trip just getting in or out of the pit! But I'm super happy to see positive progress in my hometown.

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