We use it as a motivator, as a reminder of how we’re stronger when we’re more than one. It’s a nod at how getting together and doing something with our fellow humans can work like an elasticated net to launch us upwards, and be there to catch us gracefully when we fall.
Team spirit. Team work. Pushing ourselves to achieve new things, or just being among kindred spirits. Sharing a skill and contributing, seeing if it’s still possible to learn, finding out what we’re made of, cooperating and communicating with others, consciously choosing to live our lives with curiosity and with vivacity. This is what it means to be part of a team.
So, in a country so focused on community and achieving things collectively, we pay homage to some of this city’s teams. But rather than looking at the conventional teams we find in Hanoi, we meet groups that are bringing a less orthodox sense of team spirit to the capital.
Competing in international tournaments in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea, the Hanoi Ladies Gaelic Football Team is one of the few internationally influenced teams that can boast such a high number of Vietnamese players.
“We strive to get Vietnamese players involved at all times,” explains team captain Claire Coughlan. “Most teams support us in tournaments because we are the only team who have locals that play. Currently we have around four or five, which is the highest ever number of Vietnamese players, so we’re delighted. They absolutely love it.”
Since 2007 the club has continued to move forward, even when having to tackle issues such as the availability of pitches or being low on members. The sheer determination to win trophies keeps the team motivated.
“We have been so close in the last two Asian Gaelic Games where we reached the final and were beaten marginally in both by Kuala Lumpur.” The success of the Hanoi Ladies Gaelic Football Team is, according to Claire, based on a pure and simple love of the sport.
The Hanoi Ladies Gaelic Football Team is open to all and actively encourages new members to participate. To learn how to keep your balls when all around you are losing theirs, contact Claire Coughlan at email@example.com or check out www.vietcelts.com
For most of us, being seen at 6am on a Sunday is a rare and unwelcome occurrence that we try our damnedest to avoid. For one group of aviation enthusiasts, however, they aren’t just up and awake, they’re up and flying high. Formed under the Ministry of National Security back in 2004, the Hanoi Helicopter Club is one of many similar groups who are active in all of the country’s major cities. While a major league hasn’t yet been set up, the cities will meet to compete against each other. At these events, the ‘pilots’, who have to under-go examination in order to receive their flying certificate, are judged on technique, tricks, presentation and erm, whether or not the vehicle can successfully carry flowers.
With the desire to create a platform for lovers of everything aviation, the club hopes to one day invite teams from other countries to come to Hanoi to compete.
If you’ve got your head in the clouds and want to be among like-minded people, get in touch with Duong Quy Don on 0989 146393 to find out about joining the group. If you are a foreigner, you must have proof of legal residency in order to join
Driven by the joy of singing, the desire to perform in world-class venues and the excitement of working in harmony with Vietnamese counterparts, Graham Sutcliffe has been directing the Hanoi International Choir for an impressive 11 years. In collaboration with the Vietnam Opera and Ballet, the choir mostly performs at the Hanoi Opera House, but has also folded itself into other spaces such as the Goethe Institut and some of the city’s hotels.
On what is required to get into the choir, Graham is positive about general singing ability.
“I believe most people can actually sing if they practise a bit,” he explains. “Too many people believe they are ‘tone deaf’. In 11 years I have only had to refuse two people membership to the choir due to them not being able to sing.”
With a string of outstanding performances under its collective belt, the choir has taken on some of the greatest and most challenging choral works around, including Verdi’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Rutter’s Requiem, Puccini’s La Boheme, Bizet’s Carmen and much more.
If you can hold a note, and even better, can read music, email Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about joining the choir
So committed to their cause that they wear Hanoi Bowling Club branded t-shirts to practice, the team, which is in its 12th year of ball-play, meets three times a week at Star Bowl on Pham Ngoc Thach. Under the misty hue of neon bowling alley lighting, and against the backdrop of sickly-sweet pop music, the familiar bomp! roll! clatter! of the bowling sequence echoes around the room among strike congratulations and spare groans.
Motivated by their desire to represent Vietnam at international level, such as at the SEA games, the club competes around Vietnam to bring its best players to the surface so as to advance them to the national team.
With no joining fee, and an open door to anyone under the age of 50, the team hopes its personable approach to the sport will help raise its profile within Vietnam.
For more information search for Hoi Bowling Ha Noi on Facebook or call Binh on 0983 923868
“The best thing that we have achieved is seeing our students, aged from four to 40, who have never danced before or imagined themselves being able to perform on stage, become a dancer or a dance teacher,” says ISIS World Dance Company leader Phuong Lien. Proud of her club’s achievements, the troupe has an impressive CV of clients for whom they have performed including Mercedes, VTV, CNN, VCTV and FPT. The company has been meeting several times a week since 2006, and is a regular contributor at organised dance events.
From pole dancing to jazz, belly dancing to Zumba, burlesque to hip hop, the group’s vision is to bring people the opportunity to explore, through movement, their own body’s ability, and to learn about the origins of dance.
“We believe that the quickest way to get to know different cultures and countries is through music and dance,” explains Phuong, who hopes this year to expand the company by opening a number of ISIS dance schools across Vietnam.
For more information about ISIS check out www.isis.vn
While cheerleading is still a relatively new sport in Vietnam, the cheerleaders at Hanoi Amsterdam High School have been shaking their pompoms for the better part of seven years.
Not exactly standing on the shoulders of giants, the girls have still been able to reach new heights including a string of winning appearances on the TV show Blue Dance, and a number of consecutive annual trophy-grabs at the Ba Dinh Aerobics Competition. Team leader Bich Thao Le feels inspired by what her group has already achieved.
“Such wonderful achievements as these make all of us proud and [make us want to] try really, really hard,” she says. “But the spirit, the energy, the passion and the love each member puts in one team, might just be the biggest achievement overall.”
Membership is currently only available to students at Hanoi Amsterdam High School, including freshmen, juniors, seniors, boys and girls. But the team hopes to welcome students from other schools in the future.
Just For Kicks
Standing barefoot, still, and dressed in matching black suits, the congregation of the Wing Chun Club is an intimidating sight to behold. All eyes stare unblinkingly ahead, arms raised to shoulder height, awaiting direction from the master. Then with the synchronised motion of a group familiar with the routine, there is the sound of movement and the exhalation of breath, broken only by the directive barks of the master.
Meeting three times per week in a dully-lit mirrored gym, the group has been active for some 10 years. Motivated by the will to improve health and promote truthfulness and fairness, the Wing Chun Club is sponsored by UNESCO to compete and perform at local events and festivals. As it actively welcomes new members, the single-most vital factor in joining the group is a strong ethical mind.
“We don’t want anyone to use this to harm or attack other people,” explains long-term member Manh. “There are blind people in my class because the teacher encourages everyone to participate.”
If you want to improve your high-kicks, breathing and balance, give Manh a call on 0903 255375