RetRollSpective – Hazers
Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes. This week, we’re going to take a look at the Hazers, a team that originated in the 2018 Marble League, stormed to the top of the competition, and rumbled the marblebase. Enjoy as we explore this team’s short, yet impactful history…
Hazy, Smoggy, Foggy, Misty, and Cloudy entered the fray as the Hazers in the 2018 Winter Marble League Draw. With a cloudy pattern inside, these light-gray marbles stood out instantly from all the other teams in the competition. It remained to be seen how the novice team would hold up against series mainstays, like the Chocolatiers, for example. The Hazers did not impress during the first qualification, only gaining two points towards the twenty they needed to qualify, but they scored strong in the coming rounds. With six, eight, and eight points from the second to the fourth round, the Hazers earned the honor of being the highest scoring rookie team to qualify for the 2018 Winter Marble League.
Perhaps the thing that makes the Hazers so unpredictable is their sheer mystery. It seems to many fans that their talent in competition appeared out of nowhere, and they’re right. Marblebase journalists have been unable to get any leads on the Hazers’ origins for years, either from the team or from outside sources. That said, in early 2019, a journalist found a Hazers souvenir shop in eastern Asia, south of Hunluen. When interviewed, Smoggy sidelined the question, saying:
“Where we come from is not important. Who we are now and what we do here is what is important.”
Needless to say, their success has caused much controversy. In a previous blog post, entitled Are certain Marble League teams using PEDs?, it was detailed that:
“For the Hazers, their strong start has given them some unwanted scrutiny as to what is inside the middle of their marbles. Their Hazy color has caused many to believe that they could be adding weight to create an advantage” (Evonsion).
Though the post discredited these rumors, discourse concerning the team’s potential use of PEDs has been rampant on sites like Reddit, where users have stated:
“I’ve seen some various condemning photographs…that they are actually using weighted centers and that their signature “haze” is the residue left from applying said weights to their midsections,” along with “This picture could mean that the Hazers swap themselves out with other, heavier gray marbles before starting each event” and “Insert joke about the urine samples being too hazy to test.”
Since the JMRC has made no statement on the Hazers using PEDs, though, it is important to disregard these conspiracies brought forth by the fans. Furthermore, these allegations likely would not be being brought against the Hazers if their performance in the 2018 Winter Marble League was not so strong. The team earned silver medals in the first and second events, putting them in first place overall with forty points.
It should also be noted that the Hazers have also had their slate of sublime performances. In the third and fourth events, the team finished in fourteenth place, scoring them only four points total and dropping them into fourth place overall. The Hazers, unfazed by this, rebounded in the fifth event, where Misty set a new Marble League record in Speed Skating 20m with a time of 30.34 seconds. With this, Hazers easily jumped to first place in the standings overall with 69 points, one gold and two silvers strong. When asked about her new record, Misty seemed like she was in a daze:
“I just wanted to win, and I rolled as fast as I could. I could have fallen off the track, but I knew it was worth the risk. When I got to the bottom, my team just rushed at me and that’s when I realized. I started tearing up, and through my hazy vision I think they were too.”
Unfortunately for the Hazers, their strong momentum throughout the first half of the 2018 Winter Marble League dissipated after their gold medal. They finished in sixth place overall despite getting fourteenth place twice more in Team Pursuit and Snowboard Cross, making them the highest placing rookie team of the season. In the offseason, Foggy finished in fifth for the 100 meter Water Marble Race practice event, being the highest qualified rookie team to do so (the Gliding Glaciers finished in third) and the Hazers also participated in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, though they were eliminated in the initial heat.
Irrespective of their performance in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, the Hazers stormed into the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers with force, getting two gold medals and earning first place in the standings. The qualifier rounds gave the team the opportunity it needed to prove to its doubters that their first season’s success was not a fluke and that it would continue to challenge the more decorated veterans in competition, though their success hinged upon their performance in the proper 2019 Marble League in April.
Hazy started the season strongly for the team, reaching the finals in the Underwater Race and missing the podium in fourth place. Foggy followed their inaugural performance by placing on the podium in third place in the Funnel Race, and the team collectively earned a gold medal in Balancing to rise to second place in the standings, trailing the seemingly dominant Savage Speeders by just eight points.
Their strong momentum seemed to be fading in the fourth event, Gravitrax Slalom, when the team placed fifteenth. The 5 Meter Sprint momentarily proved that wrong with Smoggy’s silver medal, which placed the Hazers at the top of the standings. However, the Hazers continued to fall into a rut that seemed eerily similar to their second half of the 2018 season. Over the next three events, the team placed in the middle of the standings twice and last place once, dropping to fifth place overall with half of the season to go. It seemed possible that teams like the Crazy Cat’s Eyes could rise above the Hazers. The Raspberry Racers, previously in second, were nestled at the top of the standings, a position which they would eventually win.
“We saw something that we’d been waiting for years to happen. We can’t deny the talent of the older teams, but we newer teams had wanted a chance to shine for so long,” Foggy revealed. “2019 was the first year where none of the original sixteen teams made the podium, and it was a breath of fresh air. It made us feel worthy—vindicated—that not only were we part of the competition, but that we had the honor to rise above marble athletes so decorated and experienced. Marble athletes that we’d always dreamed of being.”
The Hazers fought through the second half of the season to earn this honor, denying themselves a repeat of 2018. Foggy earned a bronze medal in Hurdles and the team earned its second gold medal in the Hubelino Maze, rising to second place and maintaining their position in the top five. The team earned a bronze medal in Rafting and a silver medal in Surfing with Hazy’s performance, becoming one of three teams able to win the 2019 Marble League. Although the Hazers finished in the middle of the pack in Collision, the Savage Speeders’ last place finish doomed them from finishing the overall season on the podium, and cemented the top three teams: the Raspberry Racers, Green Ducks, and Hazers—all three of which had a chance to take the championship.
In the end, the standings would remain consistent for the top five teams. The Hazers finished in third place with 184 points at the conclusion of the 2019 Marble League, prequalifying for the 2020 Marble League and ensuring their legacy in the tournament among the most celebrated teams and athletes in marble sports history.
The Hazers were taking a short break from preparing for the Friendly Round when received an official letter from the JMRC inviting them to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The team accepted the invitation and will be represented by Hazy and Smoggy during the tournament. The team’s poster confirmed one of the team’s biggest mysteries: depicting their training grounds high up on a mountaintop, with Mount Huaze in eastern Asia in the distance.
In RetRollSpective, the high performances of the Hazers put the team in a very good position for the first half of the 2018 Winter Marble League, secured their spot in sixth place despite an overcast second half, and carried through the 2019 Marble League to a podium finish. The Hazers had a remarkable rookie season, becoming famous in the marblebase (regardless of the debates about their fairness in competition,) and an even better second season. I look forward to seeing the Hazers’ potential downpour upon its competition and fully believe they can be successful in future years. Best of luck to Hazers in the 2020 Marble League, keep on rolling!