big group aWhite Rock Elementary has a new play structure today, an octagonal wooden pit built on their playgrounds and dedicated this morning. The structure was built as an Eagle Scout project by Brandt Urban (shown in the photos wearing his Scout uniform), a WRE 2008 graduate who was assisted by his friends from Troop 890. The concrete pad upon which the pit was built was provided by the Dad’s Club of WRE.

The pit was the idea of White Rock’s graduating class of 2012, now 7th graders, who attended Sky Ranch together as 5th graders. While there, they played a cool game called “Ga-Ga ball” or “Smashball,” and they’ve loved it ever since.

dedication aThe students also wanted to honor their sixth grade teacher, Bernie Thornton, who loved sports of all kinds and who died unexpectedly just after school let out last spring. The White Rock game will be forever called “Bernie Ball” in Mr. Thornton’s memory.

As Brandt’s father, Bryan, dedicated the structure in Bernie’s honor this morning, he explained the origin of Ga-Ga ball and the rules. It apparently originated in Israel, where “ga” means hit. In Ga-Ga ball, therefore, each ball bounces twice before it’s played. Judging by the squeals of delight, I’d say the kids were Ga-Ga over Ga-Ga ball.

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