[SciFi September: Connected] Team Sports

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The referee's whistle cut through the horns and shouts of the soccer fans.  

Half time and the score was 5 - 0. The women of Standford University Soccer Team hadn't broken a sweat.  Meanwhile, Habard University's players were fatigued, mentally more than physically. What in heaven's name was going on?


Mariah rolled her eyes listening to a pair of twins gush about soccer.  She preferred the more accurate name, Football, and internally cringed any time someone said Soccer.  The game was more or less settled.  The score was bizarre, but strange things did occasionally happen.  After all Germany did thump Brazil 7 - 1.  That been said she needed to pay attention, since she kept a Standford Soccer Blog as a hobby.

She stopped the camera that'd been recording the match and started watching the clip for any missed details. Pause.  Zoom.  Rewind. Start. Repeat.  She poured over the video, but didn't find  anything worth mentioning, until she hit pause by accident.

The forward, Lima, and Coach Winners were talking after a goal, and they had the same ridiculous mid-speech facial expression. One eye half open and the mouth pulled up diagonally to the right.  The drunk like expression was a keeper. So, she uploaded it to her laptop.  

On the bigger screen she spotted the same expression in the background on the approaching Midfielder, Keeghan.  As an avid conspiracy spreader and proud tinfoil hat wearer, Mariah, went back to the video for more 'coincidences.'  

There were so many instances that it looked like the players were robots suffering the same glitches.  This was too much. She was finally going to go viral. And not with a trashy internet meme. Yay her.


The fifteen minute break was up and the players started coming back to the field.  Mariah relished every drop of her no longer iced coke. After she noticed the incidents, the camera had been recording, and it had captured every minute of Standford's benched players' synchronized warm up. Were they cheating? Doping? Had the team sacrificed a player for a deal with the devil? The former No. 10, Tessa, did suffer a career ending injury at the beginning of the semester.

In this half, she tracked the passes more closely. Standford were no longer playing aggressively and seemed content on staying on their own half of the pitch, but they rarely lost the ball, and the passes were almost one hundred percent accurate. 

Ten minutes to the end of the match, her need to go to the bathroom reached a climax, unlike the match which had de-climaxed and stalled like a car running out of fuel.


The pale white corridors were almost vacant, so it was easy to spot Tessa, alone wearing her old burgundy jersey, leaning on the door of the janitor's closet.  Mariah dashed past her and ran into the women's bathroom. Just in time.

When she came out, Tessa was gone, but there were more people gathered round the janitor's closet, all wearing Standford's burgundy jersey.  She recognized some of them from an article in the school website, something about a new breakthrough in biotech and communication.  Was this how Standford had improved their game?


Two weeks later and Mariah was expelled from Standford.  She had indeed gone viral with her article on the match, like she'd hoped for, but Standford had categorically denied cheating of any kind.  The school's spokesman described Mariah as a vain, attention seeking individual who had sacrificed the image of the school's soccer team for her personal gain.



A.N

The word count is 588. The max is 1500. Am I incapable of writing long forms of prose?

*Raises hands to the sky cursing the gods of writing.*

I hope you liked it. 💜











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