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
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.


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.

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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