About

Mamba GaGa is jointly owned by Chris Wallendal and Adrienne Gentles. Chris and I met in the early 90’s when we both worked together. We met again after almost 20 years, began dating, and eventually combined our five children in a household in June of 2012. When we got together and blended our two families we tried to find activities and games or have events that would tie our children together, hoping one day they would love/hate each other like siblings.  In late July, I took my kids and a friend’s child to Bible camp in NJ. The camp had a gaga pit and at the end of the camp day the kids would run back up to the gaga pit and play for hours in the sun and blaring heat. As the car pool mom, I was responsible to show up with kids by dinner time, but hours later I still could not convince them to leave. I sent a text picture to various people, amused by their obsession with the game. The pit seemed relatively easy to build, being plywood sheets cut in half length wise and attached by hinges – rudimentary, but effective.

Chris and I decided that a gaga pit at our house would be great for parties or just something fun that our kids could do together. So Chris and I built a wood pit made of plywood capped with a wood railing to avoid splinters and rounded the edges for safety. The wood pit was a hit! Our kids and their friends played endlessly. Great fun, but it was essentially a not too attractive permanent structure in our back yard. Each of the eight pit sides weighed approximately 50 lbs. and moving for mowing or when not in use did not happen, it was just too heavy and cumbersome.   Even though GaGa had been around for almost 30 years and kids everywhere love the game, it really was not a residential friendly sport. Thus began our mission: How to make a high quality gaga pit light enough that one mother could quickly and easily set up or take down the pit by herself at home.

To reach our current Mamba GaGa pit design, Chris and I spent countless hours watching kids playing the game, received valuable input from kids, parents, and educators, consulted with our suppliers and manufacturers, and held endless brainstorming sessions. Our goal was to create the perfect product to enable GaGa to be played everywhere kids gather – gyms, schools, in neighborhoods and at parties. Chris milled hundreds of wooden prototype hinges of various forms and we had the kids test them on pits in our basement. We tried various materials including PVC, round steel tubing and trampoline materials, to name a few.

For various reasons, we returned to sides that feel more like a baseball pitch back, not only to enhance the sport but to make each panel light enough to carry, assemble/disassemble and store by one person in the minimum amount of space. The open net panel design also enables observers to see the activity in the pit, something we felt was important both for spectating and adult supervision. We added a pinned hinge to allow for flexibility of pit shape and the ability to adjust the number of panels used to allow for unlimited pit sizes. This would allow future specialized goals and other sport panel options to be easily incorporated into existing pits so that new games could be added as well as enable a single player to practice their skills. The pits could also be assembled or disassembled in minutes without using tools.

Our hope was that this “awesome game”, as it was described by “newbie” teenagers when they tested our pits, would unite our kids of various ages, talents, interests and athletic ability and help them see that “What binds you as a family is more important than what divides you”. GaGa has truly been that with us and now is a family project. We believe that it can do the same for your institution, group, neighborhood or family. Young kids to adults can play at the same time with varying degrees of athletic ability because Mamba GaGa’s pits have a way of leveling the playing field – there’s nothing like seeing 14 year old athletic superstars being humbled by 8 year old girls. What is great about GaGa is it is a “Kid Owned Sport”, not a sport a parent has to teach, referee or provide lessons to learn. Thanks to GaGa we nag our kids a little less often to be nice to each other. Whatever the reason, GaGa is a whole lot of spontaneous addictive fun! One day we believe Mamba GaGa pits will be everywhere, at your school, church, camp, in front yards, and neighborhood cul-de-sacs alongside the familiar basketball hoops and soccer goals. “Gaga for GaGa!” is so appropriate.

And in case you are wondering how we came up with the name “Mamba”, it is the first letters of our kids’ names.

Our Reputation Precedes Us

Erin Devor

Lincoln Middle School PTO

“The Lincoln Middle School Parent Teacher Organization purchased a Mamba GaGa Pit this past summer for our 6th through 8th grade students. The GaGa Pit has been a huge hit at our school. We set it up for our students to utilize during lunch recess time. Students get excited to see it set up. The enthusiasm and interest of GaGa has continued to grow. It is a fun game for all.”

Kevin Furniss

Harvest Church

“Mamba GaGa is awesome. They were great to work with and quick to answer any question that I had. We ordered a Large Pit, and it arrived in the exact time frame I was quoted. Our kids at church loved it so much that we called back and ordered another Extra Large Pit. We use it every week and never had a problem. I would highly recommend Mamba Gaga!!”

Mike Wynne

New Horizons Day Camp

“We love our Mamba GaGa kit at New Horizons Day Camp! We have had it for over four summers now, and it’s still in perfect condition. It’s extremely durable, portable, and easy to setup. The campers have a blast using it, and we’re 100% satisfied — awesome addition to camp!”

Dan Liles

Arapaho Road Baptist Church

“We have wanted to build a gaga pit of our own. We always seemed to get stuck on the weight, girth, and storage challenges. Not anymore, thanks to Mamba GaGa pits! Thank you so much for delivering such a great game in such a lightweight, durable and easy to store package!”

Emily Stern

JCamps/ Rosenbloom JCC

“At J Camps we love the Mamba GaGa pit! Gaga is a camper fan favorite and this GaGa pit is durable and easily moveable. It was the perfect find for our camp that wanted to store our GaGa put inside for rainy day activities, but could easily take it outside on a sunny day. Great buy for us!”

Mark K.

Greentree Elementary School PTA

“Every day brings smiles to those kids faces! Thanks for making their dreams become reality!”

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