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Waynesboro, Pa. church goes 'ga-ga' over dodgeball

March 17, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — “Ga-ga, ga-ga!” dozens of voices chanted Sunday, neither imitating a baby nor yelling for a pop star.

Instead, the crowd in Fairview Avenue Brethren in Christ Church used “ga-ga, ga-ga!” to pump up enthusiasm during the game of the same name. Forty-eight participants ages 3 to 63 jumped into a makeshift ring to duke it out for a ga-ga tournament.

Ga-ga is easier to say than it is to play. The game resembles dodgeball, except participants essentially slap the ball around with an open palm and try to eliminate opponents by driving that ball into their lower bodies.

“I just like the thrill of hitting the ball and getting somebody out,” said Monty Ditch, 17, of Waynesboro.

Steve Long, a deacon, said the church started ga-ga tournaments last year. Typically, the games are held in a designated area behind the church, but the St. Patrick’s Day tournament moved inside because the sand pit was wet.

Folding tables formed an octagonal ring for the tournament, which had lightweight balls bouncing off walls, tables, the ceiling and a few onlookers’ heads.

Participants divided into seven age groups for preliminary rounds of double elimination, Long said.

“The final round is one on one,” he said.

Malachi Walizer, 11, found himself eliminated in one of his early games. The Waynesboro boy, who started playing ga-ga two years ago, played with a plan of jumping over the ball.

“I get the ball, and I get people out,” he said of the rest of his strategy.

Allison Monn, 12, of Waynesboro said she mostly would recommend trying your best as any type of strategy. She said players focus on hitting the ball off walls.

“It’s fun because you can compete against people and show off your skills,” she said.

Monty started playing ga-ga several years ago at a camp. The Waynesboro teenager won both of his early games, and a smile remained on his face as he watched friends compete.

Long said the church would like to have more community involvement in the ga-ga tournaments. For more information, visit www.fabicchurch.org.

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