What is oina?
The stereotypical answer to the above question is “the national sport of Romania”. Oina somehow resembles baseball, which has prompted quite a few to speculate that it might be its old world ancestor. It is a dynamic sport, exquisitely entertaining even for the spectator, where each second means action. Nevertheless, it never became the industry like its North-American counterpart is, nor, as local sports often do, does it sell holiday packages, the same way petanque does for France.
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.
About the project
This is a long term photojournalistic project undertaken by Bogdan Boghițoi and Sorin Vidis , aiming at creating a visual record of Oina as it stands now. The project is entirely shot on film. For new pictures and news updates please return to this website, or follow us on Facebook.