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EXCLUSIVE: A visual exploration of Romania’s National Sport OINA

Very few people know that the national sport of Romania is oina (romanian pronunciation [ˈoj.nə]). With roots from the rule period of Vlaicu Vodă in 1364 — when it spread all across Wallachia region — oina somehow resembles baseball (USA) and lapta (Russia) games.

It is a dynamic sport, exquisitely entertaining even for the spectator, where each second means action. No, oina is not baseball. But it is as real as baseball. And yes, in certain respects it verily looks like baseball. The romanian sport 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.

These are the reasons why Bogdan Boghitoi and Sorin Vidis — two romanian guys who at some point in their life fell in love with documentary photography — made the photographic book of “OINA”.
In this fast paced digital age, they took the time to explore this world in depth, just to tell the story of a sport that seems almost obsolete. Self funded, they started the photojournalistic project back in 2014 and documented it for two years, across Romania.

The present photobook is the direct outcome of their slow approach and amazing discoveries regarding romanian’s sport “OINA”. They started a crowdfunding campaign and are looking for support to print this amazing book.
You can help by pre-ordering your copy here or here.

Don’t forget to hit the play button below and have a closer look at these beautiful black & white pictures.

© All rights reserved Oina Project / Bogdan Boghitoi and Sorin Vidis

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