Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Glory Days

As I was travelling in the bus to work, I passed by the National Stadium. I began to flashed my mind back to my younger days...i mean teenage days to be exact.

I grew up loving playing and watching soccer. My Dad used to bring me to East Coast Park to run around kicking the ball. Then when I reached Primary school, I was playing soccer before and during recess on the school field. I have a dream..To become a soccer player representing Singapore.

By the time I reached Secondary 1, I went for trial for the school Team. Sadly I was not good enough to be selected. There was one day when my Dad brought me to Joo Chiat Complex to get some sports item. We came to a sports shop.

The name: David Lee Sports World

It was opened by then the National goalkeeper. To my surprise, they are recruiting players to form a team. My Dad signed me up. Our training ground was in a school next to the old Jalan Besar Stadium called Christ Church Secondary. I thoroughly enjoyed the training and matches. I remembered me scoring some great goals for the club. After 1.5 years with the team, the team was dissolved due to some internal problems.

The training at the club greatly benefited me. I was selected for the school team during my Sec 2 time. I recalled losing our first match 0-4 to St Andrew's Secondary. In our second match, I fractured my wrist and had to miss out other matches.

I opted out from the School Team in Sec 3 fearing getting injured again. The itch of getting back to playing soccer was getting harder to bear. So in 1990 to 1991, I rejoined the school team. Those were when my own glory days started.

In 1990, our school team was dued to play strong teams like Ping Yi , East View , Woodsville and Machperson Sec which was coached by Ex-National Player. We won 1 and lost 3 and was eliminated. However, the match against East View was the one where I scored my 1st goal for my school. The memory was still fresh inside me...

The ball was bouncing with no one challenging for it....there were players from both side going for the ball...Seeing the goalkeeper out of his position, I rushed to lobbed the ball from outside the six yards box ....the ball flew over the goalkeeper and "GOAL!!!"..I was in seven heaven....nothing can describe the feelings that moments. Despite scoring, we lost 3-4.

In 1991 which was on last year with the school, we were grouped with strong teams. We played Bedok ITE in our last match having already eliminated again. Everyone was expecting Bedok ITE to thrash us. Prior to this match, the ITE team won all the matches. There were supporters from the ITE having home ground advantage.

20 mins into the game, the unthinkable happened...

We were going team-mate passed the ball from the left....everyone missed it...the ball rolled in to my path...." BANG!" ...I decided to take it first time. The ball went straight into the left of the goalkeeper leaving the goalkeeper stranded. The home crowd was stunned into silence. Same story, we lost 1-2.

Despite playing for my school for 3 years, I have no trophy or medal to show for. My trophies came mainly from playing the 7-A tourament held in a small field in my old home at Lengkong Tiga. It was an annual event held by the RC there.

In the first tourament in 1991, my team were the champion, then in 1992 my team came in second. . Then in 1993, my team became champion again but no trophy this time...only a jersey and a pounch which I threw away long time ago . In these 3 occasions, I was the captain of the team.

As you can see from the pictures below ( from left to right)

1) Champion 1990 - Inter-House Soocer Tourament .
2) Champion 1991 - Kg Kembangan Zone 3 1st Mini 7-A Side Soccer Fiesta
3) 1st Runner Up 1992 - Kg Kembangan Zone 3 3rd Mini 7-A Side
4) Runner Up 1992 - Bedok Lutheran Church Soccer Tourament
5) Champion 1994 - Le Meriden Changi 7-A Side Mixed Soccer

Sadly I could not fulfill my dream of becoming a soccer player due to lack of seriousness and discipline.

Anyway, I'm proud of myself when I looked back at my playing days and of course..these trophies...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Life without EPL

I have been pondering whether to seriously terminating my Sports Channel as a sign of protest or should I "gong gong" and pay whatever Starhub Cable extort from us. I can't imagine weekend without EPL, midnite without Champion League and others soccer actions. An increase of $10 plus 7% GST is a hugh jump. I'm thinking to absorb these increase out of my own pocket.

With Liverpool looking exciting this season, it will be a pity not able to watch them in action. Sure, i can watch at my buddy's place but who doesn't know to watch at the comfort of his or her home. The feeling is gonna be terrible when I heard people shouting "GOAL!" knowing I can't watch the game.

If I continue paying for the sake of watching, I would be sending the wrong signal to Starhub...well...I dun know what to do. Said is easier than done.

I'm a part of history!

The date to remember : 30th June 2007. Venue: National Stadium.

It was a significant day for most Singaporeans as it was the closing of the Grand Old Lady. Sadly but truly, the National Stadium will be torn down to make way for the new sports hub. There were 2 friendly matches to spark the day. Singapore Ex-Internatiional vs M'ysia Ex-International and the highly anticipated match between Singapore and Austrialia which feature stars from the EPL namely Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer & Lucas Neil.

What matter to me was not the match but the purpose to be a part of history. I remembered my mum told me that my dad brought her to the National Stadium when she was expecting me. That should be in 1974. The Stadium was opened in June 1973. By bringing my dad to the National Stadium, it completed the begining and the end of the Grand Old Lady.

Apart of that, the Stadium also brought many memories. From the Sea Games to the Merlion Cup to the Malaysia to the World Cup qualifier and to the Tiger Cup. My fondest memories was during the 1990s. When Singapore played Selangor in 1990, we won 4-0. Alistair Edwards was named the Man of the Match. After the final whistle, he came up to the VIP box to received the trophy and it was then I took the stairs down to the stadium track to take a photograph of him holding the trophy. I was certainly proud coz there were so many people asking me for the photo after that and I appeared on National TV. Hahaha.

One more memories was an exhibition match between Singapore Selection and HK celebrities. During halftime, my ticket was selected to particpate in a penalty kick. The goalkeeper? Eric Tsang. I was about to take the kick when I saw him coming off his goal to narrow his angle but I placed my shoot low toward his left and the ball went into the net. The crowd applauded. Another occasion was I was having training with then Tiong Bahru FC at the National Stadium. All these were sweet memories.

After the match, there was the lighting of the cauldron for the last time and the some moments back to the past. It was such an emotional night. I did shed some tears when the host Mark and Brian Richmond brought us back to the past. Of course, there were the fireworks.

As my dad and me exit the stadium, my dad requested to take some photographs....I can also see the sadness in him. I also took one photograph with him during the halftime break. I will certainly regret if i did not pose a picture with him.

We had Teochew porridge before I went home. The time? 12am. Though it was late, I enjoyed the time with my dad. It has been 2 years since I went to watch a match with him.
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