Groton on the Inside: Going GaGa for GaGa Ball

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If you read my article in this column two weeks ago, you may be one of the people who has since wondered what in the world gaga ball is and what gaga pits are. Girl Scout, Sarah Dean, earned her Silver Award by planning and building a gaga ball pit in the Groton Memorial Park on Sykes St. Since that article was published I have lost count of how many people have either written or literally stopped me on the street to ask what it is.


Gaga ball is, in a sense, a gentler version of dodgeball, but instead of being played in an open field (or on the street in the ‘hood where I grew up), it is played in a specialized octagon-shaped pit. A gaga ball is made of soft foam, and the object of the game is for each player to try to hit the others below the knee with the ball, causing them to be “out,” which requires them to leave the pit. The proverbial “last man standing” is the winner of the game.


Why is it called gaga? The game originated in Israel, where the word “ga” means hit or touch. At the start of each gaga ball game, all the players are inside the walls of the pit, someone from the outside tosses the ball in, and as it bounces, the players are supposed to shout “ga” for the first two bounces of the ball; thus translated, they are shouting “hit-hit,” after which the ball is in play, and the fast-paced high-energy game is underway.


There can be several variations to the game, some of which are posted on Dean’s pit at the park. If you’ve never tried it, you just may want to gather some friends or family, find yourself a gaga ball, head down to the park before the snow starts flying, and give it a try. Not only will you probably have a great time, but you will also be a part of the fulfillment of Dean’s vision to “provide something inclusive for everyone to enjoy, including adults.”

Socks against cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In recognition of everyone who is currently fighting, and in memory of those who fought, yet lost the battle of breast cancer, two Groton businesses, Brandi’s Tastefully Simple and Brittany Station are kicking off this month of awareness by selling breast cancer socks for $6.99 each. These crew socks are available in different combinations of pink.


For every pair of cancer socks sold, $2 will benefit the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes. These funds will be contributed in memory of two Groton women who were very special in the lives of these business owners; Sherry Jones, mother of Brandi Buggs of Brandi’s Tastefully Simple and Eileen Urda, a friend of Janet Watkins of Brittany Station.


Socks may be purchased at Brittany Station, 152 Main St. Groton; stop in or call ahead at (607) 898-4994, or through Brandi’s Tastefully Simple at blb2017ts@gmail.com or tastefullysimple.com/web/bbuggs.

Other fundraisers around town
School has been back in session for over a month now, and with that comes the need for various student groups to hit the pavement raising funds for some of the extra needs they have beyond the school budget.

To help make the community aware of some of the fundraisers you may be asked to consider, the following is a list of those I have been made aware of.
The Elementary School PTO is selling Yankee Candles now through Oct. 12, the Jr/Sr High School senior class is also selling candles Oct. 5 through 15, the French Club will have its annual wreath sale Oct. 12 through 22, the Spanish Club will offer poinsettias Oct. 26 through Nov. 5, the Groton Visual and Performing Arts will conduct its popular fruit sale Nov. 2 through 12, the high school junior class will be selling coffee Nov. 16 through 26, and the Tri-M Society will sell cookie dough Nov. 9 through 19.


Our Groton Girl Scouts will also be out and about from now through Oct. 26 with their nuts and candy fundraiser. If a Girl Scout doesn’t find you, and you would like to find them, contact Jennifer Foote Dean at footejennifer@hotmail.com or 607-216-5250

McLean Community Bazaar
The annual McLean Community Bazaar will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 at the McLean Fire Station, including a luncheon that will begin being served at 11:30 a.m. There will be an array of booths to check out including craft items, holiday items, attic treasures, Kountry Kitchen Baked Goods, Rada Cutlery, a can & bottle drive, and a free blood pressure clinic.
Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit items to Linda Competillo, lmc10@cornell.edu or 607-227-4922

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