Bogdan Boghițoi and Sorin Vidis – Oina Project
“Although virtually unknown abroad, Oina is a game that still has deep roots in Romania, especially in the countryside, where it originated. In certain respects it resembles baseball, and, according to some, it is its ancestor, which has been taken to America by the Transylvanian emigrants of the 19th century. Unlike mainstream sports it doesn’t bring money and fame. Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly a thrilling game, which in its country of origin it is still practiced and taught by a core of highly passionate aficionados, thus offering one of the purest contemporary illustrations, probably anywhere in the world, of genuine sporting spirit.
Far from becoming a tourist trap or multi-billion money making machine, by and large, oina lives a quiet but fragile life in backwater Romania. As a matter of fact it is mostly ignored even by the Romanian public, especially by the younger generations, that are barely aware that it ever existed, let alone that it is still played and enjoyed. We can even say that its survival is a small miracle, in a post-communist society, more keen to get attuned to the latest globalized fashions. Its improbable resilience is due to a network of highly passionate practitioners, who continue to play it, teach it to children or manufacture at home the necessary gear. Thus, far from the money and fame bringing circus of major sports, which have introduced extraneous and all too material motivations, oina remains in today’s world one of the rare sanctuaries for a genuine sporting spirit.
You can keep up with the Oina Project updates on the official site: http://oina-project.ro/