San Olympus, Makara 15, 2077, m249
As much as he tried to conceal it, Titans manager Paulo Salgado was baffled. His top-ranked team had just lost 3-1 to league’s worst. Reporters assembled in the Titans’ locker room after the game gingerly tried to coax some kind of explanation out of the notoriously cantankerous coach. Was it a case of fatigue? Had his team’s runaway success made the team overconfident? Did they not prepare as rigorously as usual?
“Alright, just shut up,” he said, throwing his hands in the air. “You want the honest answer? I have no idea.”
He fiddled with the zipper on his jumper.
“This is hands-down the most embarrassing defeat of my career.”
And well, it should be. The Titans matchup against the Huacheng Dongji — in San Olympus no less, the most boisterous of MAFL stadiums – was seen as a foregone conclusion. It was so severely lopsided that many fans in San Olympus didn’t even tune in. In fact, the first-half of the game posted the lowest viewership to-date from the colony – which is usually the MAFL’s most active market. And in doing so, those fans missed the most astonishing upset in the league’s young history.
DJ had already signalled that it had given up on the season, selling off its star Darkeem Dennis to focus on a major rebuild. Before the game, they were 4-13, firmly in last place.
“That should teach them,” Dongji manager Rain Chen said. “Teams always rule us out. And frankly, it pisses us off. It makes us play harder. Look at today: They were so arrogant. You could tell guys thought they could just come out and pad their stats. Shooting when they shouldn’t. Trying silly moves on our defenders. “
“You can’t count any one out in this league.”
When word of Chen’s boasts reached the San Olympus locker room, it nudged (Santiago into a full-blown tantrum.
“Coach Chen is saying he taught you a lesson,” one Huacheng-based reporter said.
“Bullshit,” Santiago said. “That idiot has nothing to teach me. Neither do you people.”
He signalled to a staff member, who aggressively ushered the reporters out of the room.