In our last post, we spoke about Ion (John), one of the boys at Mia’s Children involved in sports. Ion plays, among other things, the game oina.
Oina is like a mix between baseball and monkey in the middle, but it is much older than either sport. Invented in the 1300s, it has become the national sport of Romania because of its ties to the country and its long tradition there. In fact, there are only two oina federations in the world: one in Bucharest and one in Moldova.
Oina is similar to baseball. There are two teams: a team at bat and a team at catch. The weight of the ball for both games is nearly the same, and the bats are similar.
But while a play in both games begins with a pitch and a swing, in Oina the pitcher and batter play on the same team. The pitch is simple and close up, like in tee ball. And once the batter hits the ball, regardless of whether the opposing team catches it, the team at bat runs from one part of the field to another along lanes on the field (called advance and return corridors).
The opposing team waits in the outfield and tries to hit the runners with the ball. The runners can deflect the ball with their hands, but can’t catch it. If it hits their bodies, the opposing team scores and the player leaves the field.
The game only takes 30 minutes and thus is a popular P.E. activity in Romanian schools.
Sound complicated? Well, it is. But try explaining American football!
This video shows a partial game of oina: