Rishabha 28, 2078, m249
Now that the final adrenaline rush for ISMO hockey has come to an close, little is actually known of what is in store for the experimental sport.
Beyond the drama prior to the championship series, ISMO has been tight lipped regarding next steps, only announcing the training program and exhibition to be a 'success'. With all of the test players now released from their temporary contracts, it is unclear what, if anything, will come of the skills they have developed over the last several months. And without any follow-up plans for the 75 test players, what does ISMO have to build on?
Despite a rough start in the first round of exhibitions and the amateur quality of play due to inexperienced players, the sport did capture the imagination of fans. With no follow through, however, even the initial participating colonies are skeptical that ISMO have the capability of forming a league anytime soon.
"It's a shame," according to Marp Unigeny, a planner at Europa, "We were ready to talk about the future possibilities of hockey, but there isn't a lot of faith in the Ice Sport Organization from a business partner perspective."
Many, including Mr. Unigeny, think this is a byproduct of the 'trust-fund' start-ups and non-profits that come and go across the colonies. The challenge for the significant ultra-wealthy segment of population is, there's little they can spend on, limited local investment options, and it is incredibly difficult to influence colony policies.
Sports have become a new investment option and play-thing that, it turns out, not only is it proving to be a viable venture, but a back door to shaping Mars culturally, making it that much more enticing for would-be entrepreneurs and investors.
It may not be entirely fair to question the motives of ISMO president, Fredrick Seulovik, and others like him, as their contribution to Martian sports cannot dismissed. What Seulovik lacks, however, is commitment. With no outlook for a next stage, no indications on upcoming seasons or exhibitions, the momentum is sure to evaporate. It's fine for ISMO to concentrate their efforts on research and development and leave it to others to find a way to make it work. There is nothing wrong with others shepherding the ice sport experiments and take it to the next level. As we've seen with the hockey finals, perhaps it will be the players themselves that will take up the mantle.
After getting our first appetizer of Martian Hockey, we have to accept that there isn't a main course, at least, not yet. With that said, we all know that things can happen very quickly here on Mars, so anything is possible.
Until then, we can rest assured that Martian Aero Football is sticking and just around the corner with a season 2.