Story by REDintern Koh Yizhe. Photos by REDcrew.
National Stadium, Saturday, June 21, 2008 – The penalty shootout went into sudden death. The stadium fell silent as Jack Tan prepared to take the deciding penalty. Two previous players Lai Jun Wei and Ng Cheng Cong had already missed their crucial penalty to set up this showdown. With all eyes glued on him, Jack picked his spot, lined up his shot and charged forward. GOAL! The ball flew into his favourite right corner, just out of the reach of the goalkeeper. The crowd gathered at the National Stadium cheered their support.
All pressure was now on Koh Yizhe as he stepped up to take the spot kick. The on-lookers once again grew silent and held their breath as Yizhe picked his spot and kicked with all he had. It was a strong shot but too close to the goalkeeper and an easy save was made.
Never heard of the players? Wondering if you missed the "last" football match at the National Stadium? Don't fret. This was just the closing activity of the REDaction! internship workshop held at the National Stadium Theatrette last Saturday. REDcrew Lai Jun Wei and Ng Cheng Cong, together with REDinterns Koh Yizhe and Jack Tan, faced off in a best of three penalties against goalkeeper Leslie Tan (affectionately known as “Uncle Les”). The competition went to sudden death when both interns converted all their three kicks. And the crowd? Well, no-one there besides us Red Sports people.
The day began with a talk about the development of sports in Singapore by Dr Bervyn Lee of Singapore Sports Council. He explained the importance of the sports industry in Singapore and the role of media within the industry. Next was the writing workshop by Red Sports editor Leslie Tan. He taught the interns the format of writing a sports report and the do's and don'ts. Interns then got the chance to practice what they learnt through a hands-on editing activity. I never knew how tedious editing was until I tried it!
After lunch, Leslie explained the technical aspects of photography. Taking a photo has never been so complicated! This was followed by a sharing session by Red Crew Cheng Cong and Jun Wei. They gave examples of how simple elements like seeing the eyes of the player or the position of the ball can make or break a photo.
It was a breath of fresh air to get out of the cold theatrette and onto the National Stadium field for a friendly 2 v 2 football game. It was also a great opportunity for the photographers to whip out their cameras to take some shots. Two of our interns were pitted against the REDcrew members Cheng Cong and Jun Wei. As the players dashed around the field in whatever attire they were wearing, the photographers started snapping away at the action. There were a few goal attempts by the REDcrew but they were saved by Les, the goalkeeper. It was a thrashing as the REDinterns put in three goals while the REDcrew managed none. There was also a short 50m dash as Uncle Les ran down the track with some of the interns.
Round three saw everyone back in the theatrette to cool off. Red Sports editor Dawn Yip gave a presentation on New Media. With instant two-way communication possible with new media, readers are now able to comment on what is written on the site, a crucial point for the interns. This means we have to be responsible for what we write and we also have to be prepared to receive comments from readers with regards to what we wrote.
The afternoon was not over and the best was yet to come when the Red Crew and some of the interns proceeded to the National Stadium field to take penalty kicks. I believe I speak for everyone who attended the workshop that going out to the field was the highlight of the whole day.
It is not everyday that one gets to play on a field that held so many memories for Singaporeans. This was the same field that Singapore football legends like Quah Kim Song, Dollah Kassim, Mohammad Noh and Fandi Ahmad made names for themselves! It was the same field where Singapore lifted the 2005 Tiger Cup. Lionel Lewis also stood on that same goal-line when he saved the crucial penalty against Malaysia to send Singapore into the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship finals.
At least, after the National Stadium makes way for the new sports hub, I can say I scored at the National Stadium.