ICS students going ‘gaga’ over new game - Republic-Times | News

ICS students going ‘gaga’ over new game

By on October 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

ICS students play Ga Ga in the newly constructed Jim Lewis Arena. (submitted photo)

“It’s a good getting-together and easy-learning game,” Immaculate Conception School student Emma Melliere said.

“You have to be honest to play it,” said fellow student Caroline Keefe.

Emma and Caroline are just two of the many students at ICS in Columbia  who  just can’t get enough of their new Ga Ga pit.

Tom and Shari Smugala of StoneTree Fabrications designed and constructed the pit after marveling at  its popularity at Camp Ondessonk while Tom was on a father-son weekend  with his son, Jordan.

Ga Ga means “to hit” in Hebrew. The game is a low impact version of dodge ball that can accommodate 40 to 50 kids at a time. There is no time or age limit.

The new pit has been named  the Jim Lewis Arena in honor of  the school’s late custodian, who was dearly loved by students.

According to ICS principal Mike Kish, Jim Lewis Arena provides a fast-paced and quick turnover setting for recess and  P.E. class. Many of the matches take only several minutes and everyone can jump back in.

“Ga Ga gives students a chance to learn that if you follow the rules of the game, everyone gets to play more, even a little player can be the winner, and disputes are nearly non-existent!” Kish said. “We are grateful to Tom and Shari for suggesting and making this possible.”

Kish said the new game has really caught on with the youngsters.

“This morning I was shown a picture of a Ga Ga pit constructed in a student’s back yard,” Kish said. “Talk about popular!”

A referee begins play only after all the players are standing in the Ga Ga pit and are touching the side walls with a hand. If the ball caught, everyone must re-touch the wall and it starts over with a “ga ga” bounce. If the ball goes out, it restarts with a wall touch and two bounces.

One player tosses the ball into the air. On the first bounce, all yell “Ga” and on the second bounce, all yell “Ga” and the game is started.

“It’s a frenzy at school,” ICS parent Kathleen Carter-Groppe said of the game. “The kids absolutely love it!”

Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.