Grants Pass middle school gifts elementary schools new game

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – A new game is taking over grade schools across the country, and it’s made its way here to the Rogue Valley.

Gaga ball is played in an octagonal pit, with the goal of being the last person standing.

Players slap or hit the ball trying to hit other players below the knee to get them out.

“There’s like ten people in a pit, and you try to hit the ball into people’s knees, but if you hit the ball out of the pit you’re out, and if you hold the ball you’re out,” Allen Dale Elementary School 4th grader Blaydin explained.

While the objective is simple, there are different strategies kids use.

Some play more aggressively while others try to defend.

“Probably just to crouch and hold your hands in front of your feet then hit it to the person that hit you with it or somebody else,” Allen Dale 5th grader Trinity said.

But gaga ball at Allen Dale Elementary only goes back a few months.

Students at North Middle School have been constructing gaga ball pits for their CTE class and gifting them to elementary schools in the Grants Pass area.

“It feels good to give stuff to other kids because all the elementary school kids are still little and they enjoy playing with games like this… because I have a little brother at the elementary school, and I’m sure he enjoys playing with it,” North Middle School 8th grader Cashel Bost said.

That’s what it’s all about for CTE teacher Dan Coulter, the man behind the project.

He had the idea after gaga ball at North Middle School became more popular, and he saw an opportunity to help his students give back to the community.

“To me, it’s that idea that I’m not building something for me specifically. I’m building something for someone else to get some enjoyment out of, to make someone else’s life better, and to build kind of that mentality in the kids and be a part of that,” Coulter said.

Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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