Oina Game in Romania

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Oina Game in Romania
Social practices, rituals and festive events

 

The Oina is a game that is part of the wooden bat and ball games and of the category of traditional sports and games. The Oina is currently played in in many communities in all the historical regions of Romania, with similar characteristics, but known by different names. Created and developed by Romanian communities that practiced shepherding, the game encouraged the competitiveness, dexterity, and sharpness of those who practiced it, combining skills of defense and attack. Older versions of ball and bat games, attested in the European area in the Middle Ages had the role of preparing young people for war activities. Sometimes, Oina is considered a Romanian “baseball game”. Mentions of certain ball and bat games, similar to the game of Oina, practiced in the Romanian territory appeared in the 18th century; the first comprehensible description of Oina dates from 1875. Currently, the game of Oina benefits from the safeguarding national strategies and is passed on to the younger generations both within the clubs and sports associations that operate under the auspices of the Romanian Oina Federation, and within the communities where there are no organized clubs. Oina trainers, mostly volunteers, are responsible for organizing Oina promotion sessions in clubs and schools. The game of Oina is also practiced in festive events and local holidays, where competitions and demonstration games are often organized. In its regulated form, the game of Oina takes place on a flat field of a rectangular shape, preferably covered with grass, between two teams of 11 players, for two rounds. In the first round of the game, one of the teams is “at bat”, while the other is “at catch”. In the second round, the teams reverse their roles, the victory being obtained by the team that accumulates the most points.

The game of Oina, in its standard form, is practiced throughout Romania. Currently, there are five Oina county associations and 32 clubs: 12 of them in urban areas and 20 in rural areas.