Projectball. The name itself may sound cheesy, but this company is seeking to bring something to Korea not part of the normal Korean lifestyle. Traditionally sports in Korea are not very popular. As students grow up in Korea, many of them will often choose academics or more academic extracurriculars during their high school years than sports. As they continue to grow up, sports gradually fade out from their lives. Except for the occasional soccer match on the weekends, many young adults in Korea do not play sports regularly. Many Koreans believe in a common philosophy: if you are not going to be good at an activity and able to turn it into a career, then do not attempt it at all. This philosophy applies to sports as well. The vast majority of Koreans do not play sports anymore, and this is often due to the lack of space and organization for casual athletes to play. The levels of play are too extreme, either you play with some people you meet at the basketball courts, or play with professionals. There is a lack of opportunities for those who wish to play competitively, but are not good enough to play professionally. What Projectball seeks to do is to bring a competitive sports environment for those casual athletes who still want to play sports. I was curious about the person who came up with this idea, and so after going to multiple project ball sponsored sporting events, I talked with Heindson Her, the CEO and founder of Projectball.
|[Photo of Heindson Her. Photo Courtesy: Minjae Kim]|
Heindon Her was an everyday basketball player who came to Korea. Being an avid basketball player, he soon set off in a search to play basketball at a competitive level with other casual players such as himself. However, soon after he started his search, he realized something; what he was looking for simply did not exist within Korea. Even if a version of it did, it was exclusive to a small circle of individuals. Heindson set out on a journey to create a community where casual athletes could play competitively with and against one another. He started out small, setting up pick-up games here and there, renting out a court and then inviting people to play. He did not charge much for it, around 5,000 per person, but as time passed, more and more people started to flood the sign-up sheets when they were posted, and the weekly basketball nights became increasingly more competitive, and intense. As Projectball grew over the past three years it started to expand. It now offers multiple basketball, volleyball, and dodgeball leagues, and is looking into expanding into other areas of physical activities, including running and yoga.
|[Picture of beach volleyball. Photo Courtesy: Minjae Kim]|
When asked if Projectball’s success over the past years has changed its end goal, Heindson said that it had not at all. He still seeks to create a community where athletes can come together, play sports, and bond with one another. It will be interesting to see how the company develops amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but whether you are a casual athlete looking for fun, or a more competitive one which seeks to play at a higher level, Projectball is the place to go.
Yongsan International School of Seoul
Minjae Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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