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Vancouver Courier: 2013 was the year fitness got fun

Megan Stewart, “2013 was the year fitness got fun,” Vancouver Courier, 24 December 2013.

Running isn’t just for runners anymore. And racing wasn’t something only racers did this year.

In 2013, the stamina sport of barefoot purists, weekend trailblazers, lanky Kenyans and P.E. teachers found legions of new fans thanks to anti-establishment events that put the dance into endurance. Yes, I wrote that.

The emergence of playful 5k runs is an answer to the punishing military-inspired obstacle courses like the half-marathon distance Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race. Only suckers sign up to suffer. (I’ll be doing the Tough Mudder next year.)

Instead of boot camp abuse, repetitive circuits and urban fitness regimes to prepare for barbed wire, 10-foot walls, frozen water and electrocution, the preparation for these gentler, more playful events amounts to little more than lacing up a pair of shoes and showing up with a group of raucous friends, ideally without a hangover.

The softer, light-hearted side of exercise doesn’t mean you can slack off. You still signed up to run; you just expect to keep a smile on your face the whole time.

The most incredible development in Vancouver recreation this year, however, focused on mental exercise as much as physical exertion. Credit to Germaine Koh for founding League, an open organization that emphasizes problem-solving as a form of play.

Koh is an artist who holds a three-year residency at the field house in Elm Park. On the last Sunday of each month, League meets at the Kerrisdale location at noon and everyone is invited to “drop in to exercise your strategic instincts, stretch rules and limits, and workshop ideas for action.”

[Read more at http://www.vancourier.com/2013-was-the-year-fitness-got-fun-1.770179#sthash.ekGkcUQS.dpuf]

Press: Vancouver Is Awesome

Vancouver Is Awesome
Locally based artist Germaine Koh introduces League to promote collaboration and problem solving through play
POSTED January 24, 2013 BY Court Overgaauw

“Remember being a kid and turning the games you loved on their head by introducing or removing rules, or adding new obstacles and challenges? I remember personally doing things like putting two chess boards together to form some sort of mega-chess, or changing Monopoly by putting every property up for auction. Change was a way to introduce new life into an old game, or simply to see what would happen and what could be created if you altered the parameters. In that spirit, Vancouver based artist Germaine Koh is inviting anyone that would like to join her to come out and re-imagine play with League…”

[Read the full posting in Vancouver Is Awesome]

Upcoming play 30 December

Next play date: Sunday 30 December, from noon.

Going in circles

The world hasn’t ended, and a new year looms, so this date will honour all things cyclical: circles, looping, turning-about, maybe snowballs. Reach out if you have ideas, or just come prepared to improvise.

The Kerrisdale Village News just wrote about this aspect of League:

…artist Germaine Koh is looking for the sports-minded who like a little ‘improv’ in their games.

What do you get when you mix the origins of an established sport with a healthy dose of improvisation? Well, you get “League”.

[full article]


Press: Georgia Straight, “Vancouver artist Germaine Koh asks public to help invent new sports”

The Georgia Straight
Vancouver artist Germaine Koh asks public to help invent new sports

By Stephen Thomson, October 12, 2012

Germaine Koh wants to bring fun and games to a small park in Vancouver.

The local artist is behind the new “League” project, a free drop-in program that gives people a forum to play games and sports they have invented together.

The gatherings will be held weekly at the field house in Elm Park in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood.

“It’s a project that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I sort of proposed it in gallery situations when I’ve had exhibitions and we’ve never been able to pull it off,” Koh told the Straight by phone today (October 12).

“I’m quite interested in creating situations that bring people together in kind of open-ended, experimental ways,” she said.[...]

Koh described League as experiment to get people thinking creatively. She said its success will rely on public participation.

“It’s a kind of proposition about that we could be more playful in our everyday lives and that we could look at a lot of different situations in a playful way,” she said.
[...link to full article]

City of Vancouver press release

City of Vancouver press release

More than 30 local artists set to work out of Park Board field houses

October 2 2012

More than 30 local artists, including internationally renowned visual artist Germaine Koh and composer/double bassist Mark Haney, have been selected to participate in the Vancouver Park Board’s artist studio residency project in seven locations.

“The arts are critical to a community’s quality of life,” says Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth. “The studio space will provide a supportive, creative environment where artists can develop their work, engage residents and increase participation in the arts.”

Germaine Koh, winner of the 2010 VIVA award, will use the Elm Park field house as the home base for the community-based project League. League will be a weekly gathering of people who come together to play sports and games invented by members of the public. Participants will attempt to play with the guidelines, equipment and spaces suggested, and will further adapt the game, evolve strategies, and invent new equipment through trial and improvisation.

[... link to full release]