Tales from the Pitch #5

Lunae, Makara 23, 2077, m249

Earth to Mars, Mars to Earth


The other day I was reading through some old NASA reports (I know, I know, but it is the life I chose), and there was a curious line that has stuck with me, not because it was especially profound, but because it turned out to be so amazingly wrong.

It is the expectation that, due to the extreme distance between the two planets, Earth and Mars will become fully separate cultures, and will quickly forget about each other.

I will concede that yes, eventually, Mars has become its own distinct culture, but even here on Mars each settlement is its own distinct culture. That is just what happens when different people end up living together. You don’t need to be some brainy anthropologist to figure that out. The part of the above quotation that surprises me is the idea that the two planets would quickly forget about each other just because we are far apart.

First, technology makes it pretty easy to make contact with our Terran brothers and sisters. Sure, it isn’t as perfect as contacting your neighbour here on Mars, but it is hardly some slow plotting interstellar pony express.

And second, NASA scientists have grossly underestimated how super cool MAFL is and how much it interests people on Earth. A few weeks ago the Earth-World Associated Press ran a piece about how much the Earthers are loving the Mars Aero Football League.

And why wouldn’t they? In it they can see aspects of the original game of Earth football, and therefore have an immediate connection with rules and aspects of play. Sure, natural sports have been on a decline on Earth, but I’d argue that is more for environmental reasons than lack of interest.

After Earth’s World War II, immigrants from all over Europe made their way to North America. They didn’t suddenly forget about their customs or the family they left behind, but instead they built a new set of customs and a new life. That is what we are doing here on Mars, and MAFL is the perfect example of how we’ve brought something from Earth with us and made it our own.

Hearing about how their favourite MAFL team is doing isn’t just having Earthers follow some sport. It is teaching them about us and our life here on Mars. Every time they get to view a match they are learning about our settlements, our atmosphere, and how technology, hard work, and ingenuity have made our lives here possible. MAFL represents the success of the Mars mission. Implicitly we are telling everyone on Earth that we have the basics covered (air, food, shelter), and now we are able to create culture and civilization.

I can’t wait to hear more about Earth-based fandom: to find about where on Earth my beloved Titans have the most fans, to see how they react to our first series of playoff, and then to our first championship match.

MAFL isn’t just some league. I hope that people are seeing that more and more. It isn’t just changing Mars; it’s changing Earth too.