The Life and Miracles of Jan Martinsson ( Southtowns: 1 – BUSS: 5)

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The Life and Miracles of Jan Martinsson ( Southtowns: 1 – BUSS: 5)

Post  B_Calvaneso on Tue May 22, 2018 5:18 pm

Game recapped by Adonis Pimienta-Peñalver.

Jan Martinsson was delivered to this world on a cold December morning of 1969 in the remote Norwegian town of Narvik, one degree and a few minutes of latitude north of the Arctic Circle. Despite being born to a family with an ancestral tradition for dangerous blue-collar enterprise, including whalers, miners, blacksmiths, and the occasional Viking pillager, little Jan’s interests clearly veered towards the more erudite vocations. The boy decided to focus his efforts in the sciences when, one night, after having tricked his parents into thinking he was asleep, he tip-toed out of his room in order to continue watching whatever was on television that night. On that fateful evening, Norwegian Television showed Stanley Kubrick’s famous film: 2001: A Space Odyssey, and little Jan realized that that whole ‘being-an-astronaut’ thing must be pretty cool and, since then, his life’s dream became to pilot a spaceship to Mars with the HAL 9000 running a Led Zeppelin playlist. It was clear he didn’t understand the movie very well.

He set out to accomplish his dream through rigorous studying of mathematics and an intense vestibular training regime, interspersed with the occasional soccer match to ensure optimal physical conditioning. Finally, after passing the requisite qualifying exams, he became the first Norwegian to ever leave the Earth’s atmosphere, having been selected to take part in a scientific mission to study solar radiation pressure at the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point. The rest of the crew’s roster was made up of Michael Vinge, as commander, who recruited his wife, Mary, and brother-in-law, Tom Anderson, as principal scientists. Finally, Johnny Herbert, a close friend of Michael, was selected as the pilot, which goes to show that nepotism and having a plug works in NASA just the same as everywhere else.

The trip was an operational failure. An unexpected solar flare event provoked radiation levels that the spacecraft had not been designed to withstand, due to budget cuts. This, in turn, induced wild fluctuations in the spacecraft’s flux capacitor, precipitating a hasty retreat back to Earth --crash landing included. It was then that certain chain-smoking government figures decided that the embarrassment of a botched NASA mission was too great a stain on American prestige, and a cover-up operation was staged, depriving Jan of his rightful place in Norwegian space-faring history.

After months of physical rehabilitation, the crew-members realized that the radiation they had withstood had endowed them with weird superpowers; similar to what happens after eating whatever it is that they serve you at Mighty Taco. Michael Vinge acquired the ability to vibrate parts of his body at very high frequencies, for which Mary, who could now see ghosts, was very thankful. Tom Anderson could induce Canadian geese to relieve themselves on top of any vehicle he wanted, and Johnny found that he could ascertain the location of every single earthworm within a two-mile radius. For his part, Jan realized he had the bizarrely specific ability to levitate for the span of a few seconds over any surface of green color, which is why when the rest of the crew started their own Avengers gang, they left him out of it.

Due to the aforementioned government cover-up, Jan could no longer find work as an astronaut and was only allowed to leave Area 51 under a top-secret witness protection program, which strictly forbade him to use his new abilities, gave him a new, carefully chosen name (Ian Martin) and placed him in the location which most closely resembled Narvik’s climate, and beer-ingesting proclivities: Buffalo, New York. Lacking opportunities to follow his true passion for astronautics, Jan found his new city’s friendly community and low profile perfect to pursue his second calling: the game of soccer, while avoiding attention from the unrelenting scrutiny of certain FBI agents who were beginning to take an interest on his whereabouts. Playing as a defensive midfielder for BUSS, his beloved team, Jan began to assimilate his new life.

As far as soccer players go, Jan was the perfect storm, a syzygy of the extraordinary and the mundane, like the coming-to-pass of an ancient Mayan prophecy that forewarned a convolution of innate athletic prowess, sheer tenacity, and an almost worrying affinity for getting dirty. It wasn’t long until his performances began to attract the attention of scouts from the great European clubs. Some say he turned down offers, ever anxious about what public attention could mean for the classified nature of his past.

But the thread of his fate had already been spun on the proverbial spindle, and on May 20th of 2018 his past would come catching up with vertiginous inertia. That afternoon, BUSS was scheduled to play against the newly-promoted Southtowns FC on the turf of Mulroy Park. The game began evenly matched, both sides probing and testing each other’s reaction times, not unlike two skirmishing empires on the verge of all-out war. This initial reconnoitering came to an abrupt end when Jason, Jan’s own son, was fouled in a break-away as he made his way inside the opponent’s box. Hunter Walsh stepped up to take that penalty, a task which he successfully undertook with a well-placed shot right down the middle. A handful of minutes later, Jason persisted on the attack to score on an assist by Walsh, to which the ever-combative Southtowns responded with a goal of their own, benefiting from miscommunication between BUSS players while defending a set piece.

The game then entered a period of frenzy, an arrhythmic complexity of passes, one-twos, aerial challenges, and positional jostling that ordinary four-dimensional macrophysics could no longer describe. This was the type of mathematical challenge Jan had dedicated half his life to understand and to solve without the aid of computers. He saw attractors and repellers in that phase space, resonant modes feeding off each other, and set out to apply the necessary transforms to aid his visualization of the problem. It took him a few minutes to grok the terrible conclusion towards which the game, and perhaps even the entire BUSS season, was inching ever closer through obscure manifolds of the butterfly effect. Upon arriving at some approximate solution, he learned that the convergence properties of this system did not necessarily guarantee a BUSS win.

But there was hope. Besides the solution, our hero also found points of inflection, specific multidimensional coordinates of an event, a cusp where, if properly disturbed, the convergence of the system could be slightly but decisively nudged to favor his team. He stepped onto the green turf with only one objective in mind: he needed to be there and then, the right place and the right time, and do exactly that which was needed to change destiny. The first of these inflection points came around the 30th minute of the first half, as a Southtowns player dribbled along the sideline, clearly seeking to attempt a pass onto a forward who had already begun to free himself from his marker. Jan’s action was swift and decisive. A sliding tackle from five yards away. Effective. Majestic. The ball out for a throw-in. Danger averted.

Acting upon the second and last inflection point necessitated a maximum understanding of the situation, a well-timed and surgically precise antidote to a rapidly growing viral threat.  Around the 32nd minute, the game was once again stuck in a tangle of legs in the midfield, a quasi-static condition about a state of instability, the deceptive illusion of control that would soon give way to complacency, and eventual defeat for BUSS. Then, a sudden succession of plays precipitated a situation in which the ball had made its way to no man’s land. The Southtowns player nearest to it immediately began to close the gap, the free space allowed him to look onto his forward line and identify an outlet of progression, a path of least resistance towards an eventual opportunity on goal. Jan saw it, too, among a dozen permutations of the same play if the ball went unchallenged. But now an additional obstacle presented itself: space-time, he wasn’t close enough to make a play on the ball. He had to make a quick decision among the dwindling possibilities still available to him, he had ten yards to cover in not-enough time. The answer was clear, yet dangerous, as he appraised it within a thousandth of a second. He had to blow his cover and use his ability of levitation to perform a sliding tackle which would not only have to thwart the developing play for Southtowns, but also become conducive to a BUSS attempt on goal. It was then, or never. Two running steps were enough impulse to send him floating a few millimeters off the turf with decisive force. Identifying the threat, the Southtowns player chose to meet the challenge. It was the soccer equivalent to a gun-slinging duel. A fifty-fifty. A hospital ball. The next split seconds would be branded into the memories of everyone lucky enough to be present: a gliding player, a simultaneous convergence of incredible force, the chilling sound of bone against bone. And while the last tackle had been an efficient and elegant dispossession, this one had been an awkward wreck of haphazard execution. Knowing himself now a fugitive from the government, he cursed at having to blow his cover with such an ungainly last performance.

Yet, it had been enough. Despite a missed penalty, BUSS went on to control the game thereafter with two goals from Hunter Sherman from respective assists by Abdullahi Hussein and Andre Torrico, as well as a beautifully taken free kick by Polo to round out the game with a decisive 5-to-1 victory.

His BUSS comrades nursed the bruises as best as they could and, from time to time, some chivalrous Southtowns player walked by to salute Jan’s gallantry on the field. Those who had the pleasure of sharing the game with him wished a fast recovery, but also understood the risks that he took in single-handedly applying his intellectual and physical self onto the task of saving the game, and perhaps, the entire season. They looked on with heavy hearts as our hero was carted off to the emergency room with a broken tibia.


Thumbs up!

His injuries notwithstanding, Jan walked out of the hospital under his own power, leaving his FBI pursuers in the dust, knowing that he had to start from nothing once again and build a new life away from public attention. Eventually, however, he decided to return to Area 51 to help design and build experimental spacecraft, desperate to engage his mind with a problem worth of his cognitive abilities. Every morning, he watched the rockets depart, falling away until they looked impossibly small and fragile.

B_Calvaneso
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Re: The Life and Miracles of Jan Martinsson ( Southtowns: 1 – BUSS: 5)

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Tue May 22, 2018 7:05 pm

Wow. So, so well done, sir. That was awesome to read despite the circumstances that induced it.

Matt Marcin...z
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