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By Cameron Small
Hometown Weekly Intern
Over the decades, the popular game for kids to play at recess has changed. Soccer and basketball eventually gave way to tag. Tag gave way to wall ball. It seems now that wall ball has given way to ga-ga ball. Now, thanks to the Medfield Afterschool Program (MAP) Carpentry Club, Dale Street School has its very own ga-ga pit as a part of the playground.
The MAP Carpentry Club consisted of eleven boys who worked together to build the pit. Their names are Jason Gelormini, Liam Gallagher, Ned Teany, Nicky Hasapidis, Clark Russell, Jack Robertson, Chris Hoffman, Sam Flamand, Joe McDonald, Matthias Ogrinc, and Olin Day. Their names will eventually be immortalized on a plaque by the pit.
Jason Gelormini explained how they made the pit, with a few corrections by Kurt Jackson, the site director for grades 4-6: “We had stakes [4x4s] and we put big pieces of gray plastic [plastic decking] on the sides to create—with three of them on a side to create a wall—and we had six walls. And then we put the wood poles in the ground and cemented them in. And we put two doors in one of the sides so you can get in and out.”
Ned Teany explained some of the rules to ga-ga ball: “So you have the pit, and the goal is to hit people below the knee with the ball because then they would be out. And if you’re the last one standing, you win.” A person can also be eliminated, as Teany explained, “by hitting the ball over the fence, or you can get out by someone else catching your ball in the air when you hit it.”
Gelormini, Teany, Gallagher, and Jackson gave a demonstration of the game, not actually going “out” and leaving the pit—but then other students and teachers saw them playing and came over to join in despite the 80 degree weather.
The game starts with all players touching one of the walls of the hexagonal pit. Someone drops the ball into the pit, and the players say “Ga. Ga. Ball” with each bounce of the ball. They are not allowed to go for the ball until “ball” has been said on the third bounce. After that, it’s every person for themselves.