Martis, Dhanus 17, 249
I was born on Earth and I have memories, for good and for bad, of playing sports and being outdoors... real outdoors, breathing the actual air and not having to be reliant on any bubble to protect me from an environment that isn't species appropriate, to put it mildly. I like games, but yes, I was one of the skeptics of the MAFL and open concept stadiums. Just on the practical side alone, we have a lot of other pressing matters to contend with on this planet, so risking lives to play outdoor soccer didn't seem like a worthy priority.
With this notion, I've only followed the season in the news or caught partial segments, so this past week was my first live experience.
As our shuttle drove toward the stadium grounds, something started to happen. I began to feel anticipation that I hadn't expect. Was it possibly because I haven't been outside of the hab for months? This clearly wasn't an instantly gratifying holo experience that could be switched off; the shuttle wasn't going to turn around on my account, after all.
Had I underestimated the powers of anticipation that can be brought on from a glorified bus ride? Or had I forgotten the feats of engineering and series of miracles that had taken place in order to fly us across the solar system, land on an inhospitable world, set up camp to live, grow food, and not only to actually survive on this red dust ball, but to also invent and enjoy sport here too?
I didn't leave the comforts of the bus... The spectator deck was surprisingly immersive and I wouldn't have believed that the shuttle would, in all intent and purposes, disappear as I became enthralled with the match.
Within the first 5 minutes, I had to remind myself this wasn't a virtual game. These players were really performing feats and maneuvers I've never considered safe, let alone possible... and I've lived here for more than two decades. It also shattered my preconceptions of size, strength and prowess.
At 38 minutes, #30 Isabelle Marsh, a petite, young woman, charged to deliver an incredible kick that beat Dynamo's goalkeeper to open scoring. Just minutes later, seconds before half-time, #39, Aba Samma, in a graceful display of aerial control, blew a reinforcement goal past Kyrlyuk.
I may be remembering wrong, but sports back home never felt like this! The blend of acrobatics, tenacity, and, quite frankly, danger, have converted me.
I admit, there have been a few times where I've regretted my family bringing me to Mars, but that pales in comparison to what I was feeling then and there for not coming to support the games sooner. As we work hard to build this planet, it is easy to forget not to apply that same efforts in maintaining our humanity. The MAFL has, quite possibly, offered us the first vehicle to free us from often mundane, repetitive, and measured routines we must perform to survive here. It is recreations such as these that expand the definition of what living on Mars means and helps bring all of us together.
Not only did my home team take the bout against the Dynamos, but this match secured my loyalty to the Club, the MAFL, and, in many respects, this planet.
This win brings Marineris Comets to 6 and 4. With two back-to-back wins, they are 2nd in the league standings.
Next week, Comets face the struggling Tiangong Wuji.