Van-style baseball becomes favorite recreational activity during ongoing winter season
With access to hundreds of villages blocked due to thick snow in eastern Turkey, residents of those villages have resort to pass their times by playing a Van-style baseball game known as “topa garane” during harsh winter conditions.
The game, also known as “guhşegi” and “topa kille” in Van and the neighboring Şırnak and Hakkâri provinces, attracts both young and old to come together and play the game as a good recreational activity.
Passed down through generations, the game requires two teams of six players at least on each side to play it on a snow-covered area with a stick and a ball made of horsehair.
After the teams are selected, one player from each team will stay at the point where the shot will be made.
While one of the players throws the ball in the air, the opponent tries to send the ball the farthest they can by hitting it with the stick.
Players of both teams then compete with each other to reach the target first and get the ball.
Residents of Göründü, a neighborhood with a population of nearly 1,000 in the province of Van’s Gevaş district, also play the game in their free time in winter.
Ercan Tübtemür, a resident of the neighborhood, said they try to pass the traditional game on to future generations.
Remembering that in previous years, people used to play the game with a ball made of animal hair, Tübtemür said now tennis balls were used instead.
“Villagers who wanted to have fun used to play this game in the past. It is only played in our vil-lage in our region. We learned it from our grandfathers, and we try to keep it alive,” he said.
“We pay attention to our traditional games. Our game is like baseball. The only difference is that there is no loser in the game. It is played for fun,” he added.