What is Oina?

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.

The craft

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Salcea, Suceava County, May 2014. Mr. Roata, now retired, manufactures oina balls within the precincts of the school he was formerly the headmaster of, and where he still helps train the oina team.
Due to low volume, oina gear cannot be made economically on an industrial scale. The task of providing the players with the necessary equipment is left to a handful of people that still manufacture it artisanally. They have become the guardians of this rare craft.
Photo by Bogdan Boghitoi. All rights reserved.





Colibasi, Arges County, June 2015 Teenage girl warming up on the football field  close to Dacia Automobile Factory during the Junior Girls Oina Championship. Photo by Sorin Vidis. All rights reserved.

Sheer joy


Mioveni, Arges County, June 2015 Teammates embracing and expressing their joy for winning a game during the Junior Girls Oina Championship. Photo by Sorin Vidis. All rights reserved.

Lucky no. 9


Sibiu, Sibiu County, November 2014. One thing about oina is that it can be played almost anywhere, even indoors. Photo by Sorin Vidis. All rights reserved.