Unbelievable! What drama! What triumph! The first season of the Mars Aero Football League was a resounding success. This tiny little idea that people would be interested in a new Martian sport created a greater impact than anyone could have imagined.
Of course, personally, I’m still crushed. My poor Titans. My wonderful, sweet Titans. They made it the entire way to the championship only to be defeated. And on home turf no less. Now, the Comets played a great match, so I can’t be too miffed, but the Titans were saddled with a series of injuries. Their aggressive style of play got them through the season at the top of the standings, but it came at cost, and I would love to see how a fully healthy Titans team would fare against the Comets.
The arena was packed. I’ve never attended any event like it. There is an energy that is created when you have a crowd of that size, even when we are gently packed into spectator transports. With every goal there was a thunder from the five-thousand-plus crowd. People were having a great time and they knew that they were part of history.
The population of Sans Olympus swelled by fifty percent, with sports tourists from every colony wanting to see this main event of the season. I will be interested to see if MAFL can build upon this, and be a driver for inter-colony tourism. The tourism economy is small part of overall Martian GDP, but it is growing exponentially with each passing month.
I’ve heard that Earth has also been overwhelmed with excitement about this championship match. Earth viewership of the event was more than twice as high as the next most watched game, and proves that interest in Martian sports goes far beyond our colonies on the Red planet.
So what is next for MAFL? The Commissioner has been coy, but there is no doubt that a 2nd season will occur, and with it will most likely bring some changes to rules, team rosters, and even league size. I don’t want to start any rumours, but there has been some interest from a few colonies to field an additional team. This might be smoke and wishes, but eventually we will need to talk expansion.
And what about my Titans? Even though they lost, Sans Olympus held a hero’s parade for them to show our love and support. We also got to see why these athletes are role models to so many Martians. As I mentioned, there were a number of injuries so a group of players, including team caption Ware, needed to visit the hospital in Sans Olympus.
Medical breakthroughs have been rampant over the last century, and prevention against disease was one of the main problems Earth scientists looked at before anyone ever set foot on Mars, but sickness and injury still occur. Most of the medical work is done by robots, but human doctors are still the main force of diagnosis and treatment. The human touch is calming for the afflicted, especially when they are children.
Now, there aren’t many sick children in the Sans Olympus hospital, but when Captain Ware heard that there were some in the wing next to her, she gathered her teammates for a visit that these young fans will never forget. The look on their little faces was priceless, even for XX (insert name) who happily told them that the Comets were his favourite team. Each child got an autograph, a mini game ball toy, and a team picture. It was a fun time that was honestly needed as much for the Titans as it was for the kids.
It should serve as a reminder that MAFL isn’t just a bunch of people playing a game; it is a new part of Martian culture that has reverberated all throughout our society. I can’t wait to see what next season will bring.