Love is in the air in the S.League's opening weekend
I had been counting down to this day for what seemed like an eternity. Clutching the essentials for the evening’s proceedings, I walked up to the point of rendezvous.
Certainly, I did not know what to expect. The last time I saw her, she let me down. It was a miserable date and I didn’t have any feelings for her. But somehow, I was cajoled into giving her another chance.
How would it turn out now? Does she still look the same? Would she be able to strike a connection with me? Will she be as eye-catching as people had been making her out to be recently? What if she stood me up again?
After 90 minutes with her on Sunday and then another 90 on Monday, I was sure that my questions were answered. I had fallen head over heels in love with her.
I had fallen for the S.League – and it had all started on Valentine’s Day.
How could I not?
She treated me to a four-goal meal at Bishan Stadium in the match between Home United and Warriors FC. Within 24 hours, there she was again, offering me another sumptuous platter, this time in the form of a six-goal thriller between Tampines Rovers and Geylang International at Jurong West Stadium.
Both games ended in draws, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Just last season, everybody shunned her. But suddenly, she was a prized possession. They just couldn’t get enough.
Word on the street was that she had undergone a facelift, while there were whispers she received a couple of injections – one formerly known as LionsXII and the other bearing a Caucasian name.
Jermaine Pennant, I was told.
But whatever had happened, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Neither could the combined 4,686 people that were present over these two matches.
Both encounters produced end-to-end action, players who fought till the final whistle and stupendous goals that would make any SMRT commuter stop and stare during his or her trip.
There was no sideways football and there were certainly no mentions of the words philosophy and process. For so long, I had been searching for the theatre of dreams, but only ended up discovering the hallways of snooze.
But this was different.
The football flowed, the players set pulses racing while the crowd was boisterous in response.
The likes of Yasir Hanapi, Zulfahmi Arifin, Jordon Webb, Amy Recha, Nikola Rak and more were in the mood as they displayed their artistry out on the pitch.
For as long as I can remember, I have not seen this much of a buzz around the local league and quite frankly, I am still soaking it all in.
It is early days but this love story certainly has the legs. How far it will run is anybody’s guess.
With all that has been said, there is a need to temper expectations. But the hope is that this will only get better.
The atmosphere at our local stadiums used to be stale, but now a smell of hope fills the air. Long may it continue.
Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo