San Olympus, Capricornus 13, 249
My grandfather was a sports writer. He loved words and he loved sports, so it was a natural fit for him. I guess that is why I am now in this business, not just because I want to follow in his footsteps, but because of the love of sport he had instilled in me.
Every sports enthusiast can point to that exact moment that made them a lifelong fan. Maybe it was seeing your favourite team come back from insurmountable odds, maybe it was seeing your favourite player score an impossible goal, or maybe it was being present when sports history was made.
My grandfather was born in 1988 back on Earth (obviously) in the United States of America. When he was six years old the USA was a first-time host to the World Cup of soccer. The rest of the world called it football, but my grandfather called it calcio like the rest of the Italians. Football really was the world’s game back then but the USA didn’t have much love for the sport, but that all changed in 1994.
Matches were held all across the country, casual fans were introduced to football, and attendance averaged 69,000 spectators per match. And in the finals Brazil faced off against my grandfather’s team, Italy. The match was scoreless and went to a shootout, but unfortunately for the Italians it would be Brazil who would win that day.
Now how could a match in which my grandfather’s team lost be the event that gave him the love of sport? Because he got to see his team, play in his country, and advance round after round. He was invested in that final match, and at the age of 6, wanted his team to win more than anything. It was that moment, that passion, that would drive him throughout this career.
This past week I decided to take my daughter Maisy to her first MAFL match. We made the trip to Al’amal. We live in Sans Olympus so I told her that we were contractually obligated to cheer for the Titans. My daughter could not have been less enthused. But the boredom of seeing her dad work melted away when she stepped foot in that stadium.
She bombarded me with questions: How long can they be outside? How can they jump so high? Who is the best team? And when the match started she felt silent, mesmerized by the action on the pitch. The game had barely started when forward Jube Terrell scored a fierce goal. If my daughter were writing this article she would tell you that it was the greatest moment in sports history. Her face exploded with joy. Her team had scored a goal! Not that other team, but hers! And I look at that elation and I thought of my grandfather and saw him in my daughter’s smile. The rest of the match was a back and forth with strong defensive plays, but the Titans held on for the win. To Maisy they were now legend.
That whole night my daughter talked about how when she grows up she wants to play for the Titans and how Jube Terrell is her favourite player and I’m reminded that what MAFL is building on the Red Planet is special. With every match new fans are created, family moments are built, and that passion is ignited.
Earth called football “the beautiful game”. Well this is our game, my daughter’s game, and it is beautiful.