Pisces 18, 2078, m249
Before the start of the inaugural season, MAFL Commissioner Aiger Masing gave each team the task of chronicling their experiences over the 21 week season. Each team was given the liberty to record their stories in the format of their choice. This series shares some of the excerpts from these chronicles. In this edition, we take a glimpse at interviews with key players at the beginning, mid-point, and post season, featuring their top players: Readale Nash, Jube Terrell and Icilio De Sisto.
They were asked the same question at different periods of the season:
Tomorrow is our first match and I'm feeling a lot of anxiety.
When I was recruited, it was a dream come true, but the last 6 months training with older players has been humbling. Almost everyone is coming from some important job at the colony, so I don't feel like I belong here.
I think I have the skills, but it isn't like playing with my friends back at school. We've only had a handful of exhibition games, so it barely feels like we're a team. I think the other players are suspicious of me because I am young. That doesn't help.
If it wasn't for our coach [Salgado] I probably wouldn't be able to keep it together. There's no backing down. This is just too big a chance to do something different on this planet.
I'm just going to do my best for as long as this MAFL thing lasts.
This is a gamble, so it is exciting. I really love teaching, so leaving that behind was difficult, but this is the biggest opportunity to impact the youth of our world. I am completely onboard with the vision of MAFL and how this could stem some of the issues we are having culturally.
I was born in 2047, so as one of the 1st gen Martian-born, I can tell you for a fact how difficult it growing up in a culture dominated by what our parents did and what life on Earth is like.
Being a professional athlete on Mars is something I am proud of and hope it will contribute far beyond whether we win or lose games.
I lived in Spain on Earth as a child, so I do have memories of playing sports. At that age, I'm not sure I would have thought about it as a job or a career. Funny, I wouldn't have thought of it as a profession here on Mars either until last year.
When MAFL was announced, I thought it was a joke; a cruel one too since it sounded too good to be true.
I am scheduled to be starting in tomorrow's match, so it is an important one for me. Unlike most of the other clubs, we have two goalkeepers on the roster, so there is internal competition. I want to win and prove my worth.
We've never faced Wuji in exhibition, so we only know what we've researched about them, but, overall, I'm feeling confident. I think we have the talent and the chemistry.
Editor's note: Titans took the game 2-0 over Wuji. De Sisto was awarded a goal at 18 minutes after Wuji goalkeeper, Seaton, misplayed his long kick. Nash scored his first goal at 21:00.
Editor's Notes: Titans have an 11-1 record at the midpoint. Nash is at his peak having 7 goals (only 2 behind Immortal's Lanka). Terrell has yet to blossom and De Sisto holds the lowest goals allowed in the league.
If you asked me last month, I won't have had the same answer. As a forward, getting goals is the mission, so even when your team is winning, if you don't score, you don't feel like you've done your part.
I didn't get my first goal until week 7 against Agre. That was our 1st game against the Comets and I'm never going to forget it. Since then, my confidence has been building and my control continues to improve.
I certainly feel much more like a pro when I am able to get the ball in the net.
I have fans. That is something unusual to say, isn't it? Being recognized, strangers coming up to you, seeing colonists wearing our colours – it's all pretty amazing.
So far, I've started in goal for 9 of our 12 games. I'm really proud of our standings and being the goto goalkeeper.
We were thrashed in our first go against the Immortals. Both Usian Busara and I gave up 2 goals a piece to Lanka in the 3rd week. I was pretty stressed leading up to our rematch on Dhanus 15th. Lanka's a proven killer on the field, but I couldn't let that put me off my game. We took that game 2-1.
Feeling like a pro has a lot to do with handling the defeat and the head games.
I love being a pro aero baller!
I don't know if a lot of other players can say that. You can see a lot of them are struggling out there. This is what you get when you hang up a lab coat and get thrown on the pitch. Just because you are healthy, doesn't make you good. This is where I know being young has played to my advantage.
As a team we have a great rhythm and everybody knows what I can do. In the beginning, I could tell people didn't want to pass to me, but now, I'm the striker.
Editor's Notes: Titans lost 4-1 against the Comets in the MAFL Championship Finals. Coming into the match with key players already on the injury list, they suffered additional casualties through the 1st half that factored into the loss.
Losing the championship was very hard for me, even more so because I was in the sidelines.
I have many conflicting feelings. Getting injured in the last few minutes of the semi-finals, that was a raw deal. I felt very angry, especially because it was such a stupid accident between teammates. I never would have imagined the scenario where Nash and I weren't in the match. I feel tremendous disappointment.
From the other angle, when I think of what the Comets were dealing with after losing a teammate, it puts it back into perspective.
I think the only thing that will make me feel better is getting back on the field.
Beyond the letdown of losing the championship match, I feel a lot of personal gratification from what we achieved as a team and as a league.
If you asked me before the season started if I could get 5 goals and an overtime win, I wouldn't have believed it was possible.
I do feel like a professional athlete and I think the world has changed dramatically after this season. I think everyone involved in the MAFL should feel a sense of Martian pride.
I'm disappointed they wouldn't let me play in the finals.
A lot of people are saying we fell apart and everyone is asking why. All the haters out there are spreading vicious conspiracy theories, and it’s sad. Look, we were the best team all season. Injuries took its toll on us and that’s why we lost.
End of the season I became a human target, but now I know what to expect for next season. I’m young and growing stronger, so trust me, the Titans will be back.
Next in the series, we'll look at Tiangong and Huacheng's experience through the eyes of their respective captains.