RetRollSpective – O’rangers

RetRollSpective – O’rangers

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re going to cover the O’rangers, one of the first teams of the Marble League, and arguably, its most popular.

The O'rangers' logo, designed by Tim Ritz.

The O’rangers are not just a team—they are a family of marbles with strong heritage that has dominated for generations. The O’Marbles run an orange farm on the southeast tip of North America, close to the city of Orlango, that also specializes in bull-wrangling and, notably, off-road racing. The current patriarch of the family, Mandarin, has emphasized this last aspect more and more in recent years, especially with the rise of televised marble sports. This drive, this passion led Mandarin to found the O’rangers with his brothers Clementin, Kinnowin, Tangerin, and his sister, Orangin, in 2006, and the team began participating in local competitions shortly thereafter.

The O’rangers performed well enough over the next two years to draw attention from a marble troupe of teams, named the Fruit Circuit. After surveying the O’Marbles Farm (to verify that the O’rangers were fruit-based) the Fruit Circuit allowed the team to join the troupe. The O’rangers remained on the troupe for eight years until the Fruit Circuit’s demise in 2016, with the rise of the Marble League. The team was in fourth place, closely behind Mellow Yellow, Raspberry Racers, and the Limers, when the Raspberry Racers DNF’d in the final race. The O’rangers finished the race modestly, but with enough points to pass the Racers and move into third place behind Mellow Yellow in second and the Limers in first. The O’rangers’ third place finish qualified them for the 2016 Marble League.

However, the O’rangers were skeptical of the competition that lay ahead of them. To test the waters, Mandarin, Clementin, Kinnowin, and Tangerin went undercover in the first event of the Marble League, going under the names of O1, O2, O3, and O4 to compete. The four placed ninth, scoring no points for the O’rangers. Seeing that the competition was serious, the four revealed their true names and represented the O’rangers for the rest of the 2016 Marble League. Their true identities were reflected in the reupload of the 2016 Marble League in 2019, with the graphics displaying the correct names of the team instead of O1-O4.

 

The O’rangers did not score any points until the third event, where they placed fifth and got three points. The team earned a gold medal in Long Jump with Kinnowin representing the team, breaking the Marble League record at 103,8 centimeters. Although the O’rangers did not get another medal in 2016, they got enough fourth and fifth place finishes in the next few events to secure an overall fifth place finish at the end of the tournament. They landed eight points away from taking fourth place, just one point above the Rojo Rollers in sixth, a team with three medals to its name.

The O'rangers' first medal of the Marble League.

The O’rangers patted themselves on the back for a successful season, but knew in their hearts that they wanted more. This became apparent at the O’Marbles Farm when Mandarin announced plans to build an official marble sports raceway on the property, which would remove a few acres of orange trees. Surprisingly, the city had little complaints regarding the developments. As a local fan put it:

            “The O’Marbles didn’t just help our business boom back in the day, they were our business, and we’d be lying if we said that they aren’t to this day. Their orange business is the immigrant success story that marbles dream of telling, and their racing business is on another level of greatness. They’re really active in the community and we support them every step of the way. OOOOOOOOOOOO!”

 

The team performed well in Qualifiers, getting a bronze medal in the Relay Race and ending in third place with more than enough points to qualify. It was then that the O’rangers began to get recognized as a serious contender for competition in the 2017 Marble League, and the team experienced a large surge in fans. When the first of July came around, the stands were packed with a swath of fans in orange, holding signs and howling “OOOOOOOOOOOO!”. Needless to say, the O’rangers and their fans were hoping for a strong season, but they had no idea exactly how great things were going to turn out.

This would not be the last time that the O'rangers and Savage Speeders, teams considered rivals of each other, would share the podium.

This is not to say that the team dominated throughout 2017; this was in fact quite the opposite. The team’s famed rivals, Savage Speeders, dominated in the earlier half of the season, rising to the top three in the standings. But the O’rangers remained persistent. They continued to train even during the Marble League, and finally, in the fifth event, they earned a bronze medal and landed a spot on the podium. As the Savage Speeders ascended to the top of the standings, the O’rangers positioned themselves in seventh place, rising three spots. They stopped training immediately and took pause, conserving their energy.

It was a strategy that did not work out in the short run. The next event saw the Speeders get a gold medal while the O’rangers lagged behind in fourteenth. Their Fruit Circuit rivals, the Limers, had actually taken second overall in the standings as the O’rangers dropped to ninth. Suddenly, a comeback didn’t seem so feasible. And then, it did.

OOOOOOOO?

Their first place in Block Pushing, as their first gold medal of the 2017 season in the seventh event and a new record to boot, launched the team into fourth place overall, four points behind the Limers and nearly a gold medal within reach of the Savage Speeders. The fans were ecstatic as they poured out of the stands, and the security officers could barely hold them back. It was a real energy that drove them, and it inspired the team itself to keep pushing.

 

Mandarin immediately followed up his team’s success in Block Pushing with a silver medal in the High Jump, which vaulted the team into second place, now less than a silver medal behind the Savage Speeders. The team that once seemed to be sweeping the competition had now lost its insurmountable lead, within two events. The top of the standings was in sight for the O’rangers.

The Savage Speeders and Mellow Yellow, however, had finally realized the momentum of the O’rangers, and in the next event, both teams got gold and silver, respectively, denying the O’rangers an early victory. At the end of the ninth event, the standings looked oddly similar to the end of the 2016 Marble League: the Speeders were in first, Mellow Yellow was in second, and even Team Momo was in fourth place. O’rangers clung to third, their fate hanging in the balance like a ripe orange on a tree.

            “You know what I’ve realized over the years? It’s that nothing is really set in stone when you’re competing,” Mandarin noted, years later. “Just when you think something is going to go one way, it ends up going in a way you’d never think it to. That’s the beauty of marble racing. Always unpredictable. Keeps us on our game, always striving to be the best that we can be even when things seem blight.”

And strive they did. In the tenth event, the O’rangers closed in on Mellow Yellow’s place in second, remaining in third by two points. In the eleventh event, the Underwater Race, O’rangers set another new record in one of the heats and finished in second place, securing second place in the standings and becoming one of two teams able to win the 2017 Marble League. Of course, that other team was the Savage Speeders.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?

The O’rangers needed at least eleven points to overtake the Savage Speeders in the final event, if the latter team scored no points. The Savage Speeders are a team known to be fast, one of the best teams at racing. The final event was the Sand Rally.

The O’rangers and their fans held their breath, watching the first heat of the event. They hoped for a miracle.

Swifty of the Savage Speeders, once in the top four needed to advance, was swiftly falling back in the line of marbles racing to the finish. He reached dead last by the middle of the race and didn’t rebound back. The fans were shocked.

“I don’t think our championship leaders are going to advance at this point. It would take a massive lunge for them to get up there!” Greg Woods exclaimed. “The finish line is nearly in sight, now—no, the Savage Speeders will not advance! They will not make it into the final, and they have to hope that that ten-point lead they have amassed over the course of these eleven events is going to be big enough to survive the twelfth…”

Clementin was already in the starting gate. The loudspeakers were booming, Greg Woods’ voice ringing out the names of the teams moving on. The ball bearing lunged forward, released the bar, and Clementin bolted forward in the lead. As Greg Woods told the fans about the Jungle Jumpers missing the event, the O’Marble didn’t care. He kept rolling forward.

Clementin did not sacrifice his spot in the top four, guaranteeing that he would move on to the final. He said nothing as he traveled back to the starting gate. Again, he lunged forward once the bar was released, eventually securing a dominant lead…in first. As he turned the final curve of the course, Clementin eased up a little bit, allowing Starry of Team Galactic to rush past him and take the gold medal. But it didn’t matter. He had done everything he had to do in the final event. And it paid off.

The O’rangers had won the 2017 Marble League.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

A comeback that once seemed impossible. A threshold once out of reach. A championship that shattered the marblebase, right under the Speeders’ noses. And oh, did the fans scream “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” for hours!

The team automatically qualified for the 2018 Marble League upon their win in 2017, but it was their victory tour around the world that the team treasured the most about their win. It was such a big deal for the team that they shut down O’Marbles Farm for the occasion, inviting their entire family on the trip. This caused a month-long decline in orange production, but the world didn’t seem to mind. Celebration was in order, and the team reveled in it. When asked in an interview with Rick O’Shea about how the team would try to replicate their success in 2018, Kinnowin replied:

 

            “We can’t. But that’s what makes our sport great. It can be so unpredictable. It’s never going to feel the same though, because we were the first ones to come from the middle of the pack to win it all. Our names are going to be forever remembered as the ones who, uh, made the greatest comeback in Marble League history.”

Kinnowin being interviewed by Rick O'Shea.

True to Kinnowin’s claim, the O’rangers did not replicate their 2017 success in the 2018 Winter Marble League. The team placed third in the Friendly Round and remained in the upper middle of the pack for most of the season. They were far from on the radar, as the Savage Speeders continued to dominate, the Hazers stunned the competition as the best rookie team since 2016, and the rising waters of the Oceanics tried to turn the tides of the podium. The O’rangers never lost their fans, but it didn’t look like the team would ever be near a second victory. They had no medals to their name after nine events.

But the team had been consistent in the first nine events, only scoring below eighth place once, in the Halfpipe event. The O’rangers were practicing the same exact strategy that they had the year before. They were conserving their energy. Taking a deep breath, they entered the tenth event, Biathlon, and finished with a silver medal.

 

The O’rangers shot up to second in the overall standings.

A moment in the 2018 Marble League equivalent to an "Oooooooctober Surprise."

The marblebase was shocked. After medaling only once, the O’rangers were, once again, formidable competition in the Marble League. The fans, of course, were thrilled. Could the O’rangers really replicate last year’s success? Their “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” echoed through the Arctic Circle.

 

However, the team lost its focus upon getting its silver, its momentum dropping. Although the team was still one of four teams that could win the tournament at the beginning of the final event, the team faltered in the first heat, only earning five points and assuring its fate: it could not win the 2018 Winter Marble League or finish in the top three. While other fans, particularly Speeders fans, were elated, O’rangers fans were understandably distraught. They had still experienced an amazing season, but Kinnowin’s prediction rang true. The O’rangers finished eleven points behind the Oceanics, still placing in fourth, but missing another chance to prequalify…or so they thought.

What seemed like a random victory for the Racers in the offseason turned out to foreshadow the end of the 2019 Marble League. This would not be the case for the O'rangers.

The O’rangers participated in both offseason events for Marble League teams, training at their O’raceway in between. Despite doing well in previous water races, Mandarin failed to replicate his team’s successes with the 100 Meter Water Race, for he finished in twentieth out of twenty-seven teams. That said, the O’rangers had a successful showing in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, finishing as runners-up to the Raspberry Racers in first, ahead of the Savage Speeders in third, and ahead the Limers in fourth. The race proved, again, that the O’rangers were a force to be reckoned with in marble sports.

Although the O’rangers lost their 2019 hosting bid to the Oceanics, the team took the Oceanics’ qualification spot, thus automatically qualifying for the second year in a row. In the Friendly Round, the team won both Block Pushing and the Underwater Race, repeating similar successes from the 2017 season. They finished second, just one point behind the Oceanics.

 

The O’rangers entered the 2019 Marble League with one new addition: their coach, Rango, who, initially, was not sure how to take the reins of the team. Kinnowin, once the star of underwater events and now the captain of the team, had a bad run in the Underwater Race and finished in a startling fourteenth place for the first event of the season. Clementin, hoping to rectify a disappointing start for the team in Funnel Spinning, crashed into the wall just past the starting gate, stopped himself due to head trauma, and was unable to finish the event. The O’rangers fell to dead last in the standings for the first time in their history, and seemed to have crashed to rock bottom alongside the Oceanics as the Savage Speeders reigned at the top of the standings.

A controversial ruling, but nonetheless, one that shaped the rest of the O'rangers' season.

Coach Rango immediately rolled towards the course after the initial heat and was stopped by security as the officials, ascertaining that Clementin was in a good enough condition to leave the track, got the athlete off the arena. Thankfully, the doctors confirmed that Clementin had only a minor head injury—but he was advised to stay off the roster for a few events, which Clementin accepted.

            “I know a lot of fans were concerned, especially about the standings. Those are just numbers,” Rango asserted. “Safety is our number one priority. Even now, I’m not so sure if that starting area was as safe as it could possibly have been, but I am happy—and lucky—that Clementin is okay now.”

 

After three more subpar finishes in the middle of the pack, the team earned its first medal of the season in the sixth event, Relay Run. The team collectively earned a silver medal after a tie in the semi-finals with the Pinkies, which led to a tiebreaker race that the team easily won. Mandarin, the marble closest to the finish line, did not get the best push-off from Clementin behind him, and the O’rangers lost the gold to the Green Ducks in the final leg of the race.

2019 was a year that the O'rangers could do nothing but do their best and hold on for the ride.

The team rose to ninth in the standings, its first foray into the top ten, but fell mysteriously to tenth place after placing fifth in Block Pushing. The team fell to eleventh after placing fifth again in the Summer Biathlon, and remained there after just missing the podium in the Hurdles final. The O’rangers rose to ninth after placing sixth in Hurdles, but would fall again just three events later with a fourteenth place finish in the Elimination Race. Mandarin, luckily, earned two consolation points due to track defect, but the team dropped to eleventh overall, with the Raspberry Racers, Green Ducks, and Hazers at the top of the standings, and the veterans failing to catch up behind them. An eleventh place finish by Tangerin in Surfing sealed the O’rangers’ fate in 2019: out of championship contention and unable to finish in the top three.

            “While we’ve only finished in the top three once, it still hurt us to see that we couldn’t make a comeback,” admitted Mandarin, swallowing heavily. “We had our roughest start yet, but we couldn’t understand why we weren’t at least in the top ten of the standings, if not the top half. We had almost enough fourth and fifth place finishes to rival the Ducks,” he claimed.

 

The next event, Collision, was not the O’rangers’ strongest two years prior. Their 2019 performance was a different story, as the O’rangers advanced, second in their initial group heat, to dominate over the Jungle Jumpers, edge over Mellow Yellow, and fight for the gold in the final round. The O’rangers won a gold medal for the first time since Block Pushing in the 2017 Marble League. Their fans were ecstatic, and their “O” chant rang through the crowd, louder than it had ever been. The team rose four spots into seventh place overall.

A much needed boost to both the team's morale and overall standings to round off the season.

The O’rangers’ hard work to climb back from nothing was finally starting to show, and Kinnowin’s fourth place finish in the final event, Sand Rally, earned the O’rangers twelve more points to finish the 2019 Marble League in sixth place overall, 139 points strong. The team’s longest season had finally come to an end, and, through its struggles, the O’rangers endured, were enriched, and grew even stronger.

They will likely be putting these skills to use very soon, as Clementin and Orangin will be representing the team in Marbula One. In fact, the team was selected as the hosts for the second grand prix, which will be held at the team’s O’raceway in Orlango.

The second Marbula One GP will premiere on 22 February at 20:00 UTC for Qualifiers and 23 February at 20:00 UTC for the Race.

In RetRollSpective, the O’rangers have not always been the champions that most of the fans perceive them to be. Regardless, the team’s history of comebacks and consistency has assured its place in Marble League history as one of its most persistent competitors, and therefore, one of its best. Whether or not the O’rangers win another Marble League, they have already made their mark on the tournament, and will always be remembered for their accomplishments. Best of luck to the O’rangers in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on r-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-lling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Green Ducks

RetRollSpective – Green Ducks

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, a series where I focus on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re taking flight to zero in on the Green Ducks, a team new to the 2019 Marble League.

The logo for the Green Ducks, designed by Tim Ritz.

The Green Ducks hail from the British Isles, and have been following marble sports since a very young age. The team’s future captain, Mallard, won tickets to see the Tour de Vellis in 2014, and was lucky enough to witness the Speeders win the tournament for the first time.

            “It was insane. The Speeders had so many fans rooting for them, and I bet that deep down, even they were flattered. I wanted to feel that excitement again.”

Mallard returned to Bermenghank, her hometown, already thinking about booking tickets to other marble sports event, but tragedy struck. Mallard returned home to find her mother in the infirmarblery, and two days later, she was gone. Mallard’s father had not been working at the time, and he used most of the family’s savings to pay for a funeral. He struggled to find a job for years.

Mallard found a job at a farm to help the family, which included her dad and her brother, Billy. Her brother Billy also began working at the farm, and befriended Quacky, Ducky, and Goose, three of the farmhands. They worked there in the midst of completing their primary education, and continued afterwards.

 

            “We became pretty close in such a short amount of time,” recalled Ducky. “Mallard and Billy became a part of our family, so much so that we felt their loss with them. And grew through it with them.”

The rolling hills and plains of Bermenghank.

“I remember when Mallard first heard about the Marble League,” said Goose. “It was one of the few things that got her excited. Not that taking care of ducks didn’t get her excited.”

            “It didn’t get me excited,” Mallard replied. “But the Marble League did.”

            “We all bonded over the Marble League in a time where we all needed something to enjoy. Working on the farm wasn’t easy, either,” Quacky said.

            “It inspired us to become a closer team and family than we ever imagined,” Billy added. “And we all began to wonder what life could be like outside the farm.”

As the 2017 Marble League approached, Mallard secretly entered into a bid to get tickets for the tournament. She surprised her friends with the tickets, and the five traveled to Knikkegen that summer. They can be seen in some of the events in the Jungle Jumpers fan section.

            “We didn’t really anticipate that the Jumpers would do as poorly as they did,” Mallard said, chuckling. “We liked their uniforms, though. The green reminded us of the grass from the farm.”

            “To be fair, they did get a few medals,” Ducky retorted. “I still have a soft spot for them. And I can’t blame them for oversleeping, especially now that I know how exhausting being a marble athlete is.”

The five friends returned home at the end of the season, and had all pretty much agreed on what they wanted to do: train to become marble sports athletes. They traveled into the city and consulted with Bombay, Mallard’s father. It didn’t take long to get him to quit his miserable job in tourism and get him to coach the five under the team name of the Green Ducks.

The British Isles were not well known for marble sports at the time, but the Ducks were able to compete in minor leagues. They became known as the most prominent team in the region within time, and soon began receiving sponsorships, which meant that the members of the team were finally becoming financially stable. The Green Ducks moved to Dionlin sometime in 2018, and became the host team of Joshdon Stadium.

In late 2018, rumors began to spread that Team Plasma was retiring from the Marble League due to not training enough, and that there might be an opening in the 2019 Qualifiers. The Ducks had applied to the waiting list long ago, and only hoped that their request had been processed by then, and had a chance to be approved.

 

On 01 January 2019, the Green Ducks were accepted into the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers, and appeared in the tournament later that month. Despite being so new to the tournament, fans were already flocking to the stands for the Ducks. Their numbers would only grow.

The five team members of the Green Ducks.

Mallard placed fifth in the first event, Funnel Spinning, setting the stage for what would be the team’s knock-out performance in Block Pushing. The team earned an unprecedented 117,0 centimeters in their initial heat, placing first in the event and rising to the top of the standings, just ahead of the Limers. The Ducks placed fifth again in the Relay Race and secured their qualifying spot after only the third event. They conserved their energy for the final event, the Underwater Race, by putting Ducky in to compete. Ducky placed dead last, earning just one point, and the Green Ducks qualified for the 2019 Marble League in an astounding fourth place.

The team amassed more fans in the preseason, many of them Limers fans, for the Limers had failed to qualify. Fans were no doubt impressed by the Ducks’ showing in Qualifiers, but many wondered if their momentum would last. After all, they were a rookie team.

Quacky was quick to attack any doubts about the team in the first event of the 2019 Marble League, the Underwater Race. It was an event that Ducky had bombed in during Qualifiers, but one that Quacky masterfully excelled in. She was bested only by the Savage Speeders, a team that, in its prime, was the most successful rookie team in the Marble League. Her silver medal in the event was hard-earned and set the bar high for the rest of the Green Ducks’ season.

 

After Mallard placed seventh in Funnel Spinning, the team placed fourth three times in a row, missing the podium but earning double-digits in points each time. This momentum built up to the Relay Run, in which all four of the team’s main members competed. In the final leg of the event, Goose lurched forward, getting just ahead of Tangerin from the O’rangers to win the team’s first gold medal of the season. The Green Ducks rose to the top of the standings, proving their spot in the Marble League once and for all.

The team's first gold medal of the Marble League.

However, with ten events of the season remaining, a challenge began to mount from just beneath the Ducks’ lead. This challenge came from the Raspberry Racers, a team that seemed to have a history with lime-green teams, as well as a thirst to win the 2019 Marble League. During the next four events, from Block Pushing to the Hubelino Maze, the Green Ducks earned an average of seven points per event. Although this was enough to keep the team in the top three, Quacky’s fourteenth-place finish during the Summer Biathlon stinted the team against the Raspberry Racers—who rose to the top of the standings after that event, and remained there for the next four events.

            “I think we were past the honeymoon phase,” Goose acknowledged. “We were still flying pretty high, but we weren’t doing as good as we could have. The Raspberry Racers were medaling so much…our consistent fourth-place finishes early on did us wonders, but they weren’t going to get us in the lead.”

            “The one thing we did have, in contrast to the Racers, was gold medals,” Bombay stated. “They had so many close calls where they could have earned gold, but they settled elsewhere on the podium. When we could, we went all in.”

The Green Ducks refocused in during the Dirt Race, where Ducky boosted ahead of Swifty from the Savage Speeders in the final leg of the race to earn a silver medal. Rozzy from the Raspberry Racers passed ahead of Swifty at the finish line, earning a bronze medal by five milliseconds and keeping watch on the Ducks. It would not be the last time that they and the Racers would share the podium, but the next event, Rafting, was exactly what the Ducks needed to strike back. The team set a Marble League record with 33,74 seconds and earned its second gold medal of the season, reclaiming the top of the standings with an eleven-point lead over their new rivals.

 

Their “raspberry rivals” rose to the contest in the thirteenth event, the Elimination Race, and ultimately proved Bombay wrong. Rezzy advanced to the final round of the race in a close save by Diego of the Indigo Stars, who accidentally nudged the fuchsia marble ahead of him and was eliminated in the penultimate race. The final race pit Rezzy and Quacky against Red Eye from the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, but all eyes were on the former two competitors. As Red Eye got stuck further up the course, the race became a nail-biter until the very end, when Quacky stopped suddenly on the final grey hexagon and Rezzy crossed the finish line.

An event that foreshadowed the end of the season.

The Green Ducks remained in first, but their podium finishes were over. The Raspberry Racers rose to the top of the standings with an important fourth-place finish in Surfing, and the Green Ducks fell to second with a twelfth-place finish. The Raspberry Racers made sure to remain at least one step ahead of the team to the end of the season, finishing fifth in Collision to the Ducks’ sixth, and earning one more bronze medal in the Sand Rally to Mallard’s tenth place finish, mired back in the pack. The Ducks were sitting to the right of the Racers in the closing ceremony, with 204 points, five medals, and a second place finish overall in the 2019 Marble League.

            “Fans are saying that we’re the most successful rookie team in the history of the tournament, and we didn’t even win,” Mallard paused, gazing at the sky. “I guess that’s something.”

            “It’s more than something,” I assured her. “Your team never left the top four spots in the standings. You medaled five times. You’re one of two teams to get over two hundred points in the Marble League.”

            “We didn’t win.”

The Green Ducks, already qualified for the next Marble League, were training for their next appearance in the Friendly Round when Bombay received an official letter from the JMRC. The letter extended an invitation for the team to compete in the first season of Marbula One, an honor especially for a rookie team. The Ducks accepted the invitation and will be represented by Mallard and Billy during the tournament.

In RetRollSpective, the Green Ducks have had one of the most successful seasons in Marble League history. The fact that they were rookies only accents their achievement. With a prequalification for the 2020 Marble League, it does remain to be seen whether the team will continue to impress the marblebase, but we have no reason to doubt them yet. Best of luck to the Green Ducks in the 2020 Marble League, keep on rolling!

 

 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Midnight Wisps

RetRollSpective – Midnight Wisps

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re igniting discussion about the history of the Midnight Wisps, the champions of the 2018 Winter Marble League. Read on to see how the team engulfed and changed the course of the competition forever…

The logo for the Midnight Wisps, designed by Tim Ritz.

“It may seem like we came out of nowhere,” Wispy, the team captain, remarked. “That’s funny. Harva isn’t nowhere. It’s somewhere special: a place we are proud to call our home.”

The Midnight Wisps hail from the Scandinavian taiga, east of Helarve. The five met on a bus tour to Harva National Park and got into a deep conversation about the upcoming 2016 Marble League. Midway through the tour, the five decided not to finish the tour, instead opting to race through the forest. The marbles were caught trespassing and banned permanently from the park.

            “Yeah…that wasn’t the smartest decision we made, at least in the legal sense,” Wospy chuckled. “But I wouldn’t take that day back. I would’ve never met my friends if it wasn’t for that, and so on. I guess it was a blessing in disguise.”

Upon paying off their fine, Wispy, Wespy, Wospy, and Wuspy decided to form a team to train for the following year’s Marble League, which, according to rumors, was taking applicants from around the world. The team’s name was inspired by the renowned Helarve Clock Tower and by the region’s legendary “Willow Wisps”:

 

            “I hadn’t yet hit the age requirement to join the Marble League, so I helped the four of them out with training,” Waspy, the Wisps’ reserve member, stated. “We found a valley in the forest to train in, equidistant to where we were all from. One night, Wuspy thought she saw blue lights in the trees, just like those wisps. Wespy thought she was crazy. Wispy ignored her and decided to make a name out of it.”

The famous Helarve Clock Tower, as depicted in the Wisps' M1 poster.

The team’s application was accepted in early 2017, much to their own surprise. They trained so frequently and so vigorously that they didn’t even know which four teams had prequalified until their arrival in Knikkegen that summer.

Admittedly, the Wisps did not perform strongly in the Qualifiers. It was only with a first place finish in Funnel Spinning that the team was able to qualify for the 2017 Marble League, in seventh out of the sixteen teams. The Midnight Wisps debuted poorly in the main tournament’s version of Funnel Spinning, placing thirteenth, but earned a silver medal with Wespy’s performance in the Long Jump. A sixth place finish in the Fidget Spinner Collision event brought the Wisps to fifth place overall, but their performance during the event caused more conflict than celebration.

            “I had no idea what had happened until the Instant Replay showed. I was already off the arena at that point, but I could hear the screaming.” Wuspy shuddered. “It’s one of the most painful things I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t ever wish that on anyone.”

 

“Everyone thought that I hit him on purpose. I don’t think the fans understand, not even the fan who infiltrated the arena. None of us were prepared for the fidget spinners—they threw us out of control, ricocheting across the arena like pinballs. I don’t know how the rules committee at the time approved of that. And, despite all of that, I could not feel more guilty for what happened to Momomomo. It’s something I will carry with me for the rest of my career,” Wispy added.

An event that will live on in infamy.

After the event ended, the Wisps tried to reach Team Momo, but the doctors forbade fans and marble athletes from visiting. The team donated money and other resources to Momomomo and the rest of the team for the remainder of the season.

The Midnight Wisps continued to place in the middle of the standings until the ninth event, Steeplechase, where they earned a bronze medal. In the Underwater Race, they pulled an upset over the O’rangers, who had set a new Marble League record in the event, to win the event and  their first gold medal.

 

Although the Midnight Wisps rose five spots in the standings to fourth place overall, they did not have enough points to challenge the O’rangers and Savage Speeders for the championship. In the final event, Sand Rally, Midnight Wisps finished in seventh, accumulating nine points and remaining in fourth place overall at the end of the 2017 Marble League. Had they gained two more points, the team would have ended in third place overall and prequalified for the 2018 Winter Marble League.

Though the marblebase may not remember how close the team was to getting on the podium—in their rookie year—the Wisps certainly remembered, especially when they found themselves in a similar situation after the Ice Hockey event in 2018. They made sure to rectify what needed to be improved, and, overall, hoped for the best.

Indeed, they were given the perfect opportunity to strike in the 2018 season. Though they were not chosen as hosts for the winter-themed Marble League, the Wisps made sure to prove their worth in Qualifiers, placing second twice—once in their group, and once overall. They qualified in Group B with the twenty points necessary, and entered the 2018 Winter Marble League.

 

Similar to the previous season, the Midnight Wisps performed in the lower half of the standings during the first two events but performed strongly in the next two, earning bronze medals in Halfpipe and Bobsleigh. They finished last in the sixth event, Team Pursuit, but earned a bronze medal in the Snow Rally, sharing the podium with Team Momo (then Momary) and the Savage Speeders—in a way, telling of their past as well as their future.

Despite finishing fourth in the Biathlon, the Midnight Wisps fell to tenth place in the standings as the Oceanics, O’rangers, and Savage Speeders rounded out the top three. For the fans, it seemed clear that one of these teams would take the championship in 2018, or perhaps a team like the Balls of Chaos, who were in fourth, or the Hazers, who were in seventh. The Midnight Wisps seemed like a dashed hope.

            “We had other plans,” said Waspy, glancing at the gold medal the team had earned in Ice Hockey. “We did some calculations. With the points we had, we needed two gold medals to approximate an overall win in the 2018 Winter Marble League, provided the Savage Speeders got a bronze medal or lower in Ice Hockey. So, we did everything we could to train for that event. We flew home for a week after the Biathlon and skated across the river in our valley, getting the best control we could possibly get on the ice. We huddled around each other as if we were the ball bearings.”

 

            “Their training was magnificent. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Coach Wyspy mused. “I could tell they wanted that gold so, so badly. When the Minty Maniacs advanced to the finals, I saw a new team rise against them and claim the gold medal. From then on, I knew the Midnight Wisps would win the 2018 Winter Marble League.”

Truth be told, the Wisps could not have been any more irrelevant prior to this event. The season had centered around the rookie success of the Hazers, the dominance of the Oceanics, the relentlessness of the Savage Speeders, and the O’rangers surprise in the Biathlon, not the mention the fall from grace that Mellow Yellow experienced and the formation of Team Momary. 2018 had been full of twists and turns, and the final event was no exception: fans and Marble athletes alike were on the edges of their seats until the very end.

As the O’rangers failed to move on to the semifinals and as the Oceanics failed to move on to the finals, the question remained whether the Savage Speeders could win their second Marble League, the Oceanics could maintain their top spot and win their first, or the Midnight Wisps could pull off arguably the biggest upset in Marble League history in the span of just two events. This question was not answered in the semifinals race, as both the Wisps and the Speeders advanced to the final race:

“Savage Speeders out to an early lead,” commentated Greg Woods. “Midnight Wisps up into second, they fend off a challenge. Can they get up there? Midnight Wisps take the win and they will advance. They could’ve stayed there; they didn’t have to make that last-second lunge to get up into first place, you will still advance into the finals since it’s the top two…”

But the answer became clear as soon as the starting gate was released. There was no challenge. Whizzy of the Savage Speeders could not catch up to Wispy of the Midnight Wisps as she sprinted towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Neither could their total point count: the Savage Speeders finished the season one point short of the championship.

 

The Midnight Wisps had won the 2018 Winter Marble League.

True to Greg Woods’ commentary, the Midnight Wisps and their fans partied until the break of dawn that night and throughout the next week. Their victory tour around the world started and ended in Harva due to popular demand from fans, with a surprise appearance by Willow Wisps themselves gathering around the Helarve Clock Tower to celebrate their homecoming. Two months had passed before the Midnight Wisps were able to regain their private life, and begin training for the 2019 Marble League and its Friendly Round.

The Wisps surprised fans during the 100m Water Race when they were unable to finish, getting caught up earlier on the track with other teams. In the Amazing Maze Marble Race, the team was eliminated during the first heat in Group E, even though they got second place in the heat. Their score was not enough to compete against the O’rangers and Savage Speeders, two second place teams that did move on to the semi-finals, and then, the finals.

The Friendly Round for the 2019 Marble League, which featured the four prequalified teams, fared better for the team. The team got second place in all events except for Underwater Race, where they finished third. The team finished in third place overall, in a comfortable five-point margin above the Savage Speeders and two points behind the O’rangers in second.

 

The Midnight Wisps entered the main tournament as the team to beat, but began the season disappointingly as they placed in the middle of the pack during the first four events. The Savage Speeders dominated in contrast, holding a steady lead at the top of the standings until the fifth event, where they placed dead last in the 5 Meter Sprint. The Wisps placed second-to-last, earning just one point, and in the next event, the Midnight Wisps’ disqualification for pushing the relay block in the other lane denied them from scoring any points. They fell to thirteenth place overall.

A much-needed boost to the Wisps' 2019 season.

“The stakes were really high for the next few events, and I made that known to them,” Wyspy disclosed. “It’s one thing for our team to make comebacks like we did in 2018. Comebacks like those are dependent on a series of early victories that give the team the spark it needs. That spark will eventually ignite a flame that grows into a serious force to be reckoned with. We didn’t have that spark yet.”

The team finally earned its first gold medal in the Block Pushing event, an event which they had performed mediocre in during the 2017 Marble League. The team breathed a huge sigh of relief, and followed swiftly in the next event by placing second to last in the Summer Biathlon.

 

Thankfully, their low finish was offset by two consolation points, which were granted to the team due to an equipment failure on the starting gate. Wuspy came back as strongly as she could in the next event, Hurdles, and earned the Wisps a second gold medal with a time of 8.744 seconds. Could the Wisps mount another comeback in the second half of a season?

Even as they stood atop the podium, the Wisps could not see above their inconsistencies.

The answer? A resounding “no”. The Wisps tied for fifteenth in the Hubelino Maze, earning just one point alongside Team Galactic, and continued to place in the bottom half of the remaining events. The team’s only saving grace was their silver medal in Rafting, which raised them to fifth in the standings, their highest point of the 2019 Marble League. The Midnight Wisps finished the season in tenth place with 128 points, a place which they had been able to rise out of in previous games. It was simply not to be this time.

 

In RetRollSpective, the Midnight Wisps are the dark horses of the Marble League—they have finished in no less than the top ten at the end of each Marble League, and they have proven themselves as staples of the competition, especially with their comeback in 2018. Time will tell if the team can remain consistent and remain relevant in future seasons, especially as two of their members, Wispy and Wospy, will be appearing in the first season of Marbula One. If their performance is anything like what we witnessed in 2018, we should never count them out. Best of luck to the Midnight Wisps in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on rolling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Team Primary

RetRollSpective – Team Primary

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes that have been featured in the Marble League. This time, we’re going to roll to Team Primary, a team that originated in the 2016 Marble League.

The logo for Team Primary, designed by Tim Ritz.

Team Primary is one of the oldest teams in the Marble League, having been active since its inaugural season. That said, the team is newer compared to other teams that competed in tournaments years prior to the ML, such as the Balls of Chaos and the Fruit Circuit teams. The team grew up in Van Gotterdam, a city in Central Europe renowned as the art capital of the world. Prim and Mary, siblings, grew up in the city center. Their parents were art connoisseurs, and trained them to do the same. Prim and Mary attended the Van Gotterdam Academy of Art, the most prestigious art school in the world, and graduated with a B.S. in Art Restoration.

Rima grew up in Knikkegen, a city to the southeast, and was not interested in art in the slightest. Rima had a much different dream in life: to become a marble sports athlete. As a child, she watched as two brothers, Jelle and Dion Bakker, built up a regional marble league for fellow marbles to compete in. Once she aged into it, Rima competed and won in her first year. She competed the next year, and befriended Imar, the runner-up to her the previous year. That year, Imar won the KML in a photo-finish between Rima and Lightning, a future member of the Thunderbolts.

The KML went viral in a TV featurette about the growing popularity of marble sports tournaments around the world, with fans noting the high quality of the marble races produced by the Bakker brothers. In the next year, the KML received applications from around the world, most of which the Bakker brothers had to decline. Two of the applications it did accept, however, came from two siblings from Van Gotterdam.

            “The featurette was everywhere we looked,” remembered Prim. “There were fans everywhere, in the museums, in the squares. Even my parents brought it up. There was an air of excitement around it that I never could have imagined.”

            Mary added, “To be honest, until then, we’d only learned to appreciate and get excited about art. But the more we watched it, the more Prim and I saw that there was an art to marble sports. It was an art that inspired marbles to push themselves, to become the best versions of themselves.”

            “We wanted to be a part of that,” Prim concluded.

 

Prim and Mary entered the 2014 Knikkegen Marble League with barely any training, but with that mindset, they attracted veterans to befriend them. Two of those veterans were Rima and Imar, and, later that year, they formed a team to compete in the tournament’s first team events. They chose the name “Team Primary” not just because of Prim and Mary’s studies in art, but because teamwork comes first. They placed in the top ten of the standings during their first year, and in 2015, dominated throughout the season to win the tournament.

The origins of the most prolific marble sports tournament yet.

The growing popularity of the KML attracted the attention of Greg Woods, a marble sports aficionado in North America who had been running the Fruit Circuit for almost a decade, and was quickly running out of funding due to travel costs. The Bakker brothers met with Greg Woods in late 2014, and, noting his strong commentating abilities and ability to reach out to teams around the world, began planning an expansion to the KML that would add an international league. In early 2015, this expansion was expanded further to the entire tournament, and it was determined that teams from different regions would compete in individual and team events in one tournament. Jelle announced the new tournament in mid-2015 as the Marble League.

 

The KML, much like other regional tournaments, had spots allotted to high-performing teams. Team Primary and the Thunderbolts accepted the two invitations, confirming their placement in the 2016 Marble League the next year. Team Primary, lacking a formal stadium to train in, was offered the Bakker Bowl, the stadium where the KML was held. Once Team Primary constructed their stadium just outside of Van Gotterdam, the Bowl went through a refurbishment and was repurposed for the 2016 and 2017 Marble League.

Team Primary earned their first point of the season due to a defect in the Relay Race track, and their first medal in the following event, Collision. Rima placed fourth in the Water Race and Imar earned a silver medal in the High Jump to put Team Primary at seventh in the overall standings. Unfortunately, the team went scoreless during the rest of the season and fell to twelfth place overall at the conclusion of the 2016 Marble League.

The team's second medal of the Marble League, and the first individual medal.

It became clear to Team Primary that they needed more training to compete with more experienced teams and to stay in the league. They entered the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers in a transfer position, but surprised just about everyone when they earned thirty-one points, with a silver and a bronze, to place second at the end of the tournament. Team Primary qualified for the 2017 Marble League in a comfortable margin, and drew attention from fans around the world, especially in Van Gotterdam.

 

Team Primary rode that wave into the first event, Funnel Spinning, as high as they possibly could, and earned their first gold medal. This was especially exciting due to the fact that Prim had botched the event in Qualifiers, earning zero points.

            “We were under the impression by that time that we had already qualified, and we didn’t want to deplete our energy. The main tournament was scheduled really soon after Qualifiers that year, so I went in,” Prim decided. “I had no doubt that Mary could shine in the main tournament with Funnel Spinning. She’s my better half, after all.”

The team's first gold of the Marble League.

Prim unfortunately did not fare well in the Long Jump, but recovered well, as seen by the team’s performance in the Fidget Spinner Collision. The team just made it into the quarter-finals, bested the Midnight Wisps, and fell to the Shining Swarm in a tiebreaker during the semi-finals. Team Primary earned a bronze medal during the third-place match against the Pinkies, rising into first place overall in the standings. Statistics-wise, they could not have been happier.

That said, Team Primary was distraught to hear that Momomomo’s injury would keep him out of the 2017 Marble League. The team was one of the first to reach out to Team Momo after the event, and, after learning of the costs for Momomomo’s surgery, looked for ways to fundraise money. Prim and Mary contacted their parents and organized an art auction, the proceeds of which they donated to Momomomo, who shared it with the rest of the team.

 

            “To say that we’re grateful is an understatement. Team Primary, the Midnight Wisps, and so many other teams that supported us are the reason we’ve still been able to compete. We didn’t ask for the generosity, but we appreciate it beyond comprehension. Thank you,” Momomomo released in a press statement following the 2018 Marble League.

Team Primary has historically done well in Collision events throughout the Marble League.

Team Primary’s performance snowballed after the first three events, with several finishes in dead-last and one disqualification, when Imar left the block too early in the Relay Race. The team finished the 2017 Marble League in fourteenth place, a far cry from where they started. Regardless of their disqualification, they still would have been in the same position.

The 2018 Marble League Qualifiers came up quickly for the team, and, despite getting first in their group in Curling, fell short of qualifying by four points. The team gained a negative reputation for prompting a fight against the Balls of Chaos in the final event, Halfpipe.

 

            “I wasn’t trying ‘to knock Tumult out of the way’. I was trying to control myself on the halfpipe, but his momentum pushed me forward. I didn’t like that accusation, so I got angry,” said Prim.

An unfortunate stain on the legacy of Team Primary.

“If you look at the bottom of the picture where both teams were fighting—that was me,” Rima revealed. “I didn’t want any part of that fight. It wasn’t worth it, and to see the fans get angry too was not something I wanted.”

Team Primary, out of the 2018 Marble League, was understandably disappointed to miss their first season. Nevertheless, they planned to make the most of their extended offseason together by going to see some of the tournament, traveling around the world, spending time with family, and training—until news broke of Team Momo’s two injuries. It was then that Rima suggested to their coach, Prima, that they should compete in place of Momomo and Momomomo.

 

“Prima initially denied, saying that a green team like Jungle Jumpers would be better suited to help them. She eventually realized that this would be an opportune chance for us to compete. Prim and I were the choice marble athletes to form Team Momary, but the fans wanted Mary to join.” Rima’s expression fell. “So Mary joined. And I was denied the chance to compete.”

The first, and so far only, team merger in Marble League history.

When asked about the merger, Mary shrugged it off, “I mean, it made sense for me to compete. My name is a part of ‘Momary’, so. It’s only fair.”

 

Team Momary’s first group appearance was in the sixth event, Team Pursuit, where the team placed eighth but fell to dead last in the standings. After Momo’s gold in the Snow Rally, Mary competed individually in the Snowboard Cross and placed thirteenth. Team Momary competed again in Curling, where the team fared much better. The team fended off the Balls of Chaos and the Raspberry Racers in quarter and semi-finals, making it to the finals. Although the Oceanics dominated over them in finals, Team Momary walked away from the event with a silver medal: their first and only team medal in the season.

An event where Team Momary was able to prove their place in the season.

The team placed in the middle of the standings in the next two events, and was statistically eliminated from the podium in the penultimate event, Ice Hockey. From there, Mo’s fifteenth place finish in the Sand Mogul Race didn’t matter much, anchoring the team in twelfth place at the conclusion of the 2018 Marble League.

When asked about her opinion of the season, Rima was understandably disappointed. “Imar, Aryp, and I weren’t impressed, to say the least. And we made that known to Prim and Mary when they dissolved the merger in the offseason.”

Team Primary placed tenth in both offseason competitions, the 100 Meter Water Race and the Amazing Maze Marble Race. Things were not looking up for the team on the outside, and they weren’t feeling good on the inside, either.

            “We were fighting. A lot. There was an obvious rift between the three of us and Prim and Mary, and they didn’t even try to fix it,” Imar explained. “Well, at least not until after Qualifiers.”

 

The team that was able to save Team Momo in 2018 were unable to sustain themselves in the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers. After two events, the team sat in nineteenth place with only five points to their name, and the next event could not have been a worse pick for the team: it was the Relay Race.

 

“I don’t understand what happens with us and relay races. Every year, it’s something,” Prim pondered. “This year was no exception.”

One would wonder if, after their 2017 issues, Team Primary trained to rectify their weaknesses with the Relay Race and had more to show.

“Imar hit the block, but I couldn’t move,” Mary explained. “I felt something underneath of me, and it blocked me from coming off the block. It totally killed all of the momentum—and just like that, we got zero points from that event.”

            Prim and Mary appealed to the referee, who denied their request to redo the heat. Rima, Imar, and Aryp came down to re-appeal, but the referees adamantly denied their requests. After a fight broke out in the stands, Coach Prima joined the team, but was escorted away shortly after by security, along with the rest of the team. The fight in the stands, which Team Primary fans started against Raspberry Racers fans, caused security to get directly involved, breaking up the fight and banning Team Primary fans from the stadium.

            “We checked around the block, inside of the plate, and we did not find any debris,” a referee stated. “The Limers fans were still throwing the debris into the blue area, but it did not interfere with the relay course. We did the best we could to ensure that the race was fairly conducted, and we saw no reason to change the outcome.”

 

Team Primary sunk to last place and did not rise. In the final qualifying event, Aryp crossed the line just behind Mo, and placed seventeenth, earning just two points. Team Primary failed to qualify for the 2019 Marble League in dead last, with only seven points earned in four events.

A disappointing sight for a tournament as respected as the Marble League.

The team left the Seven Seas Stadium on separate flights in shame, and, according to insiders, did not communicate with each other for almost a month. Prim and Mary returned to Van Gotterdam, where they were welcoming Team Momo as guests in the team’s garden, The Palette, when Jelle announced a new tournament connected to the Marble League: the Showdown. The ML Showdown would serve as a “B-League” to the existing main tournament, featuring the eight unqualified teams from the 2019 Qualifiers, two Hubelino Tournament teams, and two brand-new teams through a fan vote. Team Primary, as one of the eight unqualified teams, was automatically admitted to the Showdown.

Team Primary regrouped shortly after the announcement, firing Prima as coach and replacing her with Secondary. Secondary chose Mary as the captain after several group therapy sessions with the team, which helped restore relations between its members and raise morale for the upcoming competition. After months of training, the team flew back to the Seven Seas Stadium to compete in what was arguably their most important tournament of their career: the 2019 Marble League Showdown would determine whether the team would make it to the 2020 Qualifiers and have a chance to redeem themselves for their abysmal performances throughout three Marble Leagues and the 2019 Qualifiers, or not.

The pressure was on for the team, and, initially, they did not handle it well. Prim’s tenth place finish in the Sand Rally gave the team a similar start that they had in the 2019 Qualifiers. The next event was Collision, however, and, demonstrating similar skills that they had two years prior, Team Primary finished fourth, losing to Shining Swarm in the third place match. Team Primary rose to seventh overall, a transfer spot—but not dead last.

With a seventh place finish, Mary maintained a transfer position, even as the team fell to eighth place. The final event of the Showdown was Balancing, an event that no team had participated in since the beginning of the 2016 Marble League. It was an event that Team Primary did not score any points in, but this time, things were much, much different.

At last, a beacon of hope.

Prim dropped off the beam at 57 centimeters and Imar dropped off at 99 centimeters, while Rima and Mary cruised to the end of the beam and into the green corral, earning 130 centimeters each. The team traveled a combined distance of 416 centimeters and was not bested by the rest of the competitors. Team Primary’s gold medal cemented its advancement to the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers and put the team in fourth place at the conclusion of the Showdown, just two points away from the podium.

            “They did everything they needed to do, and I’m really proud of them,” Secondary remarked. “When it comes down to it, what they do out there is secondary to how they feel here. I got the feeling when I came onto the team that they were so worried about points and medals that they lost their appreciation for their own art. Marble sports really is an art, and their performance in the Showdown proved that they have the potential to craft it well. But what comes first is the team itself. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting there. There is something we all have in common besides our love for our flying colours—and we’re discovering that as we go.”

In the midst of training during the offseason, the team received an official letter from the JMRC which extended an invitation for them to compete in the first season of Marbula One. Team Primary accepted, submitting Prim and Mary to compete in the tournament.

 

In RetRollSpective, Team Primary’s history is one of the most important in the Marble League. Its history is imperfect, but that is what makes it interesting, as fans continue to watch and root for a team that has yet to claim the spotlight, but keeps trying no matter what. Best of luck to Team Primary in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on rolling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Savage Speeders

RetRollSpective – Savage Speeders

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re going to speed over to the Savage Speeders, a team that has been in all four Marble Leagues, and is statistically the best and most consistent team that has ever competed in the tournament.

The logo for the Savage Speeders, designed by Tim Ritz.

The Savage Speeders hail from Accellaise, Pace, and Vellis, three cities in the European region of the world known for their cultural, artistical, and economical significance. Speedy and Rapidly are siblings and hail from Accellaise on the southern coast of the continent, Velocity hails from Pace, a coastal city to the east, and Swifty and Whizzy are a couple from the capital city of Vellis. The five marbles met ten years ago, during Le Tour de Vellis, a marble sports marathon held in the city and throughout the country. Speedy and Rapidly had already been competing in local tournaments in Accellaise, so when Velocity brought up the idea of forming their own team, there was no hesitation.

The Speeders trained vigorously over the next two years in order to qualify for the marathon, fighting to make ends meet when it came to scheduling and travelling. Nonetheless, the team was able to qualify for the tournament and made headlines with a fifth place finish at the conclusion of the tournament. For a rookie team, it was unheard of.

            “We disclose as little as we possibly can about our training,” Speedy assured. “It is one of our most important secrets to our continued success in marble competition. What I will tell you is that we work the hardest out of any team. We do not settle for anything less than what we know ourselves to be: the best.”

The Speeders continued to compete in the next three Tours, never finishing below the top five. In the 2014 Tour, they clinched their first win, and in 2015, repeated it. News headlines throughout the world began comparing the team to the unstoppable force of the Vikings, referring to them as “savage”. The Speeders reacted positively to this, adding it to their team name to become the Savage Speeders.

In the midst of celebrating their back-to-back victory, the Savage Speeders were approached by marble sports aficionado, Greg Woods. Woods had been headlining the Fruit Circuit in the Americas for years, but the Circuit was losing viewership and funding—and fast.

            “I had a few contacts in Northern Europe, specifically the Bakker brothers in the city of Knikkegen, who wanted to start an international marble tournament called the Marble League,” explained Woods. “It was already going to include a few teams from my Fruit Circuit, but I needed to recruit other teams myself. The Savage Speeders were a long shot, but I knew that if I could convince them to compete, the Marble League might be successful.”

The next day, the Savage Speeders announced that they were retiring from Le Tour de Vellis, to the disappointment and confusion of many fans. Their confusion grew a few days later when it was reported that the team had purchased a stadium in Accellaise and renamed it, Le Course de Sauvage.

            “None of this made sense,” a fan recalled. “They were so successful in the Tour, and then they left it without explanation. I figured there had to be something more on the horizon. Something bigger.”

The Savage Speeders appeared in the 2016 Marble League as a four marble team. Whizzy did not compete, but watched from the sidelines as the team picked up four gold medals throughout the season: in the Relay Race, the Water Race, the 10 Meter Sprint, and Hurdles. The team did not score in some of the events, but did just well enough with its four medals to secure victory in the first ever edition of the tournament.

The photo finish that secured the 2016 Marble League in the Savage Speeders' name.

In an interview given after the final event, Speedy explained, “We were really conserving our energy. We knew going into the Hurdles that we needed to win the event to win it all, and when the gate lifted, I rushed down the track to the finish line. I had to. It didn’t matter if I was exhausted. It was all worth it to prove that we were on the top.”

The team’s victory tour was jubilant, as they traveled around the world with their four gold medals and all five members of the team. When the Savage Speeders returned to Vellis for the final part of their tour, the city hosted a day-long parade through the city on the same course used for the Tour. At the end of the day, the team was gifted an honorary key to the city, which inspired their hashtag, #SpeedIsKey.

Over the next six months, the public heard nothing from the Savage Speeders, a practice that would become the standard for the team in the offseason. The team’s stadium was closed to the public and protected by local police. In future years, it became a yearly tradition on MarBook to post joke events to raid the stadium in the hopes of finding the team’s deepest and darkest secrets. None of the events actually occurred, although one year, a streaker rolled by the stadium the night before and was apprehended by police.

The Savage Speeders automatically qualified for the 2017 Marble League, along with Mellow Yellow, the Thunderbolts, and Team Momo. The team appeared in the opening ceremony with Whizzy back on the team in place of Velocity, the latter switching out with her so she could compete. Whizzy competed in Funnel Spinning and placed fourth, earning twelve points and starting the season off on a good note. Rapidly followed next and placed sixth in the Long Jump, and the team placed eleventh in the Fidget Spinner Collision. At the end of the first quarter of the season, the team set in eleventh place, which, admittedly, did not look promising.

It's not the waking, it's the rising.

The team, however, was just warming up. The Savage Speeders vaulted into third place in the standings following Speedy’s silver medal in the 5 Meter Sprint, trailing only Mellow Yellow and the Chocolatiers who were eight points ahead. Swifty earned another silver medal in Hurdles, which allowed the team to rise to the top of the standings. The Speeders’ gold medal in the Relay Race cemented their position in first place, twenty-two points clear of the Limers and even more points ahead of the rest of the competition.

They held on in Block Pushing, missing the podium but placing fifth anyway, maintaining their twenty-two point lead, this time ahead of the Pinkies. They placed fifth again in the High Jump, but their lead shrunk by four points. It became apparent that other teams were beginning to rise in the standings, such as the O’rangers and Team Momo, which had medaled in the previous few events. The Savage Speeders responded with a gold medal in the Steeplechase, but even then, Mellow Yellow joined them on the podium. It was then that the Savage Speeders began to slow down—too soon.

The team placed in the lower middle of the pack in the final three events, unable to reach the top half. The O’rangers did exactly the opposite: earning eight points in Archery and two silver medals thanks to Kinnowin in the Underwater Race and Clementin in the Sand Rally.

            “We weren’t worried until Kinnowin set the Marble League record in the Underwater Race,” Swifty retorted. “We thought we had done enough. Until all of a sudden, I didn’t make the Sand Rally final.”

After holding first place for seven consecutive events, the Savage Speeders lost their lead and finished in second place overall in the 2017 Marble League. It was a historic upset that has gone down in history as one of the greatest comebacks in marble sports.

A disappointing end to a season they had come so close to taking back.

The team, having automatically qualified for the 2018 Marble League, disappeared shortly after the conclusion of the 2017 season to the tune of “OOOOOOOOOOO”s echoing throughout the stadium. The Savage Speeders made their next public appearance in the 2018 Winter Marble League Friendly Round, an exhibition tournament starring the prequalified teams of the main tournament. This, of course, meant that the team would be competing against Mellow Yellow and the O’rangers again, as well as the Snowballs for the first time since 2016. Swifty finished in third during the 5 Meter Ice Dash and the team finished in third for both Curling and the Halfpipe. They ironically finished fourth overall at the conclusion of the Friendly Round despite their consistent third place finishes. Needless to say, they were not happy.

 

Swifty opened the 2018 Winter Marble League by placing…you guessed it, third in the 5 Meter Ice Dash. Of course, this time, it mattered, with the team earning fifteen points towards what they hoped would be their second championship. However, Speedy faltered in the Ski Jump, placing dead last in the event and plunging the team to ninth in the overall standings. Speedy was taken out of the roster for the next event, Halfpipe, and replaced by Velocity, who was now the team’s reserve member. The Savage Speeders earned a silver medal.

The start of another comeback?

After a disappointing performance in the Bobsled event, where the Savage Speeders placed below Team Momo, which had suffered two injuries, Rapidly brought the team back into contention with his silver medal in Speed Skating, which tied the Marble League record until Misty’s performance set a new record, and she earned gold.

At this point, the Savage Speeders could not be ignored. They had medaled in three of the first five events and were reaching closer and closer to the top of the standings, which the Oceanics, Balls of Chaos, and Hazers were trading off. The team finally reached the top of the standings with another silver medal in the Snow Rally, this time earned by Whizzy. She was tied with Momo in snow points, but lost to him in average times. The results of the Snow Rally, despite putting the Savage Speeders in the lead, are what many fans consider to be the reason that the Savage Speeders lost the 2018 season.

 

The team held on to the top of the standings until Curling, when the Oceanics’ gold put them ahead. The Speeders fell to third, six points away from first place, and remained there following the Biathlon. The Ice Hockey event saw all of the team members competing, and for the first time since the Halfpipe, the Savage Speeders made the podium in a team event. They scored just one point against Team Galactic in the third place match and fended off the team with their strong defensive strategy. Their bronze medal put themselves just two points behind the Oceanics in first place.

Foreshadowing.

It was anyone’s game going into the final event, the Sand Mogul Race. An unprecedented ten teams could mathematically win the 2018 Winter Marble League, but the Savage Speeders kept their eyes forward.

            “We medaled in the most events. There was no reason why we couldn’t medal in one more, and finish the season stronger than ever before,” Whizzy cleared her throat. “That is, until the Midnight Wisps passed us in the final seconds of the semi-finals.”

            “Semifinal B. Midnight Wisps, the Hazers, Savage Speeders, and the Snowballs. Down they go, Savage Speeders out to an early lead. Midnight Wisps up into second, they fend off a challenge. Can they get up there? Midnight Wisps take the win and they will advance. They could’ve stayed there; they didn’t have to make that last-second lunge to get up into first place, you will still advance into the finals since it’s the top two…” commentated Greg Woods.

The Savage Speeders glanced over at the standings. The Midnight Wisps, just four points behind them, would win the 2018 Winter Marble League if they won the event…by just one point.

 

And they did—pulling off another extraordinary comeback against the Savage Speeders to take their own championship, as was the will of the wisps.

Another disappointing end to such a promising season for the Speeders.

The Savage Speeders made two public appearances during the 2018 offseason for both practice events. Whizzy placed sixth in the 100 meter Water Race, above most of the Speeders’ rivals. The team advanced to the semifinals of the Amazing Maze Marble Race with their strong second place standing, shutting out the Midnight Wisps. They advanced to the finals and finished in third, behind the Raspberry Racers and the O’rangers, and just three points ahead of the Limers in fourth.

Their next public appearance was in the 2019 Marble League Friendly Round, as the Savage Speeders had automatically qualified for what would be their fourth Marble League appearance. The team finished in fourth out of the four competing teams with nine points, behind the Midnight Wisps with fourteen points, and the O’rangers and Oceanics with more.

The Savage Speeders acquired Quickly as their coach on 25 February 2019, and appeared with her during the opening ceremony on 19 April 2019. They started the 2019 Marble League as well as they possibly could have, in a comeback that proved to fans to never count out the Savage Speeders. In the Underwater Race, Rapidly earned the team’s first gold medal since the ninth event in 2017, and in Funnel Spinning, Speedy earned a back-to-back gold medal.

The best start to a Marble League ever by any team, something that the team really needed.

“When I came on to the team, they were so pent-up about losing the past two seasons. They blamed other teams, not themselves,” Quickly revealed. “Their negative energy was toxic. What I told them to do—to transmute that energy into a positive performance—set them up for a strong 2019 season.”

The Savage Speeders led the standings during the first four events, leading fans to wonder if they would ever give. They finally did in the fifth event, the 5 Meter Sprint, when Whizzy finished dead last and the Hazers, who earned a silver medal, rose to first overall. The Savage Speeders hoped that they would be able to recoup in the next event, Relay Run, but they finished last in their heat as the Thunderbolts and O’rangers moved on. The teams both made it to the final, and the O’rangers earned a silver medal, their first of the season.

The team was not doing its best at the midpoint of the season; it had dropped to seventh place at the end of the Biathlon and stayed there after Hurdles, with the Midnight Wisps closing in seven points behind. The team needed at least a podium finish to get back into the top five and catch up to newer teams such as the Raspberry Racers, Hazers, and Green Ducks, who seemed to be running away with the season. The Savage Speeders returned to the podium in the Hubelino Maze event with a bronze medal, and rose to fourth place, tied with Mellow Yellow in points but ahead of them in medal count.

The next event, the Dirt Race, arguably set the tone for the rest of the season. The course was unpredictable with sticks, leaves, and shallow, winding paths making it a course fit for a champion. Swifty competed first in Heat B, qualifying for the final race behind Pinky Toe and Indie. During the first third of the final, Swifty almost crashed out of the course, rolling on the outside of a stick and back onto the track. With a burst of speed, he rolled ahead of Ducky in the third quarter of the race, the finish line nearly in sight…

 

Out of nowhere, Pinky Toe zoomed down the course, ending up just behind Swifty. He tried and failed to block Pinky Toe, and he crossed the line, winning the Pinkies’ first ever gold medal. Swifty, stunned, didn’t even notice Ducky pass him for a silver medal, and could not get going in time to beat Rozzy for the bronze medal in the last five milliseconds. The top three of the 2019 Marble League became clear, separated by twenty points from the team in fourth place, none other than the Savage Speeders.

A turning point for the season that changed the history of the Marble League forever.

The Savage Speeders showed no signs of rebounding until Surfing, when it was already too late for the team to be able to win the 2019 Marble League. The team could still finish in the top three with good results in the final two events; they instead fell apart in the penultimate event, Collision, placing dead last and allowing Mellow Yellow to pass them in the overall standings with a bronze medal.

            “I was disappointed,” Quickly recalled. “I had every right to be. They started the season off the best a team has ever started a season, and they let it go. I may seem like I’m easy on them because I’m telling them to stop being so negative, but I really do expect a lot.”

            “She’s right,” Rango, the coach of the O’rangers, agreed. “The difference between the Savage Speeders and every other Marble League victor is that the Savage Speeders put so much pressure on themselves. They don’t work to be the best they can be. They work to be better than everyone else.”

            “You should help me coach them,” Quickly suggested.

            “No, I don’t think I will.”

Rapidly, who started the season strong, finished relatively strong in the Sand Rally in fifth place, earning twelve points. He finished just behind the O’rangers in fourth, who earned twelve points to finish their 2019 season with one-hundred and thirty-nine points, a familiar number to the Savage Speeders.

            “Don’t,” Rapidly stopped me. “Please don’t mention that number to me…to any of us…ever again.”

 

The Savage Speeders finished the 2019 Marble League in fifth place, three points behind Mellow Yellow in fourth, which had finally finished ahead of their rivals at the end of a season. It is the team’s lowest finish, placement-wise, in their history, and the first time in the history of the Marble League that the Savage Speeders neither finished in the top three nor automatically qualified for the next season.

After an admittedly disappointing fourth season, the Savage Speeders were pleased to receive an official letter from the JMRC, inviting the team to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The Savage Speeders accepted and will be represented by Speedy and Rapidly in the upcoming tournament.

In RetRollSpective, the Savage Speeders are a team that is as complex as champions get. They are the pinnacle of the Marble League in competition; a constant in contention for the top of the podium. They hold the record for the most total medals, with seventeen over the past four years, and the most gold medals, with eight earned. They are statistically the fifth fastest team, true to their name, with an official speed index of twenty according to the ML Speed Index. The team, despite its storied successes, has internal issues that could one day disadvantage them, as a team, when they need it most. They will compete in their first ever qualifying round in a few months, and staying positive as well as working together there is imperative to success in the main tournament. Best of luck to the Savage Speeders in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on rolling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Rojo Rollers

RetRollSpective – Rojo Rollers

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re going to “roll out” to the Rojo Rollers, a team that was featured in the original Marble League.

The logo for the Rojo Rollers, designed by Tim Ritz.

Located exactly in the middle of Central America, Numerun is known as the “newest old” city in the world. Its territory has been settled for over a millennium, but the city itself was rediscovered by settlers from across the ocean nearly five hundred years ago. The settlers shared goods from their side of the world with Numerun, attracting a competitive economy, the likes of which Numerun had never seen before. As a result, the city grew immensely in the next few hundred years, becoming one of the most diverse, economical, and intellectual cities in the world.

Through all of this, the ancient city center of Numerun has been preserved from modern urban development, making the city one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the world. One of the most notable landmarks is Colina Umerun, an artificially created hill designed specifically for marble racing. The hill was designed centuries ago for recreation, and, through frequent renovation, is still in use today. In fact, going down Colina Umerun is what inspired each of the Rojo Rollers—and Red Number 3—to enter the realm of marble sports.

The Rojo Rollers hail from the outskirts of Numerun and previously worked in the modern city center, which encircles Numerun Antigua. The five team members were all familiar with each other from the workplace, where they were mathematicians at competing universities. They formally met each other during the city’s Milenaria, which was celebrated in Numerun Antigua. The universities decided to go together in a historic academic event, grouping together departments of various schools on the trip. After getting to know each other throughout the day and making several bad math puns, the five marbles went down the Colina, one after the other, and regrouped at the bottom.

            “I’ve always been a big fan of racing,” said Rojo Uno. “It may not look like it considering how academic I am, but it has always inspired me. But I never actually wanted to be a part of it until that day.”

Colina Numerun depicted on the Rojo Rollers' Marbula One poster, illustrated by Jack_Ironhide.

Rojo Uno expected the other four marbles to show the same amazement, but they simply shook it off and moved on with the day. It was not until a few months later, when they met for dinner, that they all began to realize that they felt the same way.

            “It was a lot. An eye-opening, and I wasn’t ready to accept it then,” admitted Rojo Dos. “But I could tell that day had changed my life forever.”

Rojo Uno, Rojo Dos, Rojo Tres, and Rojo Cuatro stepped away from their jobs the following semester, and began to seek training. Luckily for them, Numerun was the host city for the Surculo, the most popular marble sports tournament south of Marbopolis. They quickly found a trainer, and in 2012, entered the Surculo.

Rojo Cinco remained at their job to complete a second doctorate degree in sports medicine. During their time at university, they came across Red Number 3, who was completing his master’s degree in sports medicine. The two became friendly in class upon finding out that they were both interested in the Surculo.

The Rojo Rollers, named for the red adobe homes of Numerun Antigua, started off poorly in the Surculo, placing in the bottom half of their first tournament. The Rollers were not deterred, however, and in 2013, they improved, finishing exactly in the middle of the competition. In 2014, their margin of improvement was significant, and they earned a wild card spot in the elite league. Even though the stakes rose in 2015, the Rojo Rollers, steadfast to their passion and skill, improved still, and finished as runners-up to the Jawbreakers at the conclusion of the tournament.

With the announcement of the 2016 Marble League, Greg Woods extended an invite to the leading teams of many regional marble sports tournaments. This included the top three teams of the 2015 Surculo, which were the Jawbreakers, the Rojo Rollers, and the Quicksilvers. The Jawbreakers and Rojo Rollers accepted, while the Quicksilvers declined in favor of one more shot at the Surculo Championship. The Jungle Jumpers, who placed fourth, also declined the invite, so the Chocolatiers, who placed fifth, were the third team accepted.

The first podium in Marble League history.

The Rojo Rollers entered the 2016 Marble League as strong as they possibly could have, earning the first gold medal in the tournament’s history in the Balancing event. Their points record, at 347 cm, lasted for three years until the Crazy Cat’s Eyes broke it in the 2019 Marble League. Although 2019 was the first year that the event returned to competition, it still stands as an impressive feat that only six teams have managed to score above 347 cm in Balancing.

            “We needed that validation, right out of the gate. We got it, and I couldn’t have been more grateful,” Rojo Tres remarked. “It stuck with us for the rest of the season, and proved to us that we always have the opportunity to be the best—but only if we work for it.”

The team earned one point during the Relay Race due to the malfunction on the top track. The team placed dead last during Collision, but made up for it in the Sand Rally when Rojo Uno earned a silver medal. The team was at the top of the standings for the second time. Rojo Dos placed fourth in the next event, the Long Jump, to earn four points. However, the next event, the Water Race, proved problematic for the team, and their performance was disqualified due to Rojo Cuatro allegedly blocking another team. The Rojo Rollers lost three points as a result of this.

A misstep on the road to success?

“That was a false accusation, plain and simple,” Rojo Cuatro claimed. “I was already stuck, off the flow of water, and Snowy from the Snowballs hit me. I couldn’t get rolling again, but I didn’t want to block anyone else from rolling again. Being disqualified was not fair to me and to my team.”

The team appealed the decision, but the appeal was denied. This only made the team work harder, though, and their effort immediately paid off in the next event, High Jump, where Rojo Dos earned a gold medal. For the third time in seven events, the Rojo Rollers were at the top of the standings.

Unfortunately, the Rojo Rollers only earned one point during the last five events of the season, that point being from placing eighth in Quartet Diving. They finished the 2016 Marble League in sixth place with 30 points. Had the team not been disqualified, the Rojo Rollers would have finished in fifth place, two points above the O’rangers.

The Rojo Rollers’ return in the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers proved to be a continuation of the downturn they experienced in the latter half of the previous season. Although the Rojo Rollers placed ninth in the Relay Race, they went scoreless during the rest of Qualifiers and finished in dead last with only four points. Out of the four original teams who failed to appear in a second consecutive season, the Rojo Rollers were arguably the most surprising on the list. The team had been in the top four of the standings at the end of every 2016 event except for the last two. In the 2017 Qualifiers, their performance was almost the exact opposite.

While the Rojo Rollers experienced their first extended offseason, they entered into an official partnership with rising Sand Marble Rally star Red Number 3, who hailed from Bifornya, a village outside of Numerun. As a part of the partnership, Rojo Cinco finally joined the Rojo Rollers as their “rojo-serve” and the team traveled to Doornse Gat to support RN3 in the 2017 Sand Marble Rally. The team became very close with him, even including his likeness in their logo, and began training at his side.

The athlete that would become the pinnacle of the Marble Rally in years to come.

“I always wanted to secure my second degree, and I’m happy that I got it, but joining the Rojo Rollers is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel at home,” remarked Rojo Cinco.

All five members of the team competed in the 2018 Marble League Qualifiers, and won the first event, Curling, in Group A. They also earned a silver medal in the final event, Halfpipe, but unfortunately, the Rojo Rollers failed to qualify for the second year in a row, with just 19 points to their name in fifth place. The Balls of Chaos, who had missed the 2017 Marble League along with the Rollers, qualified at the top of their group. The Snowballs were already hosting the 2017 Marble League, making the Rojo Rollers and the Kobalts the two teams to miss two Marble Leagues in a row.

Suffice it to say that the team was disappointed, but they decided to remain together, as did the Kobalts. The team initially planned to return to their universities for a semester to teach, but realized that the paparazzi would be hounding them. A few months in, they hosted a joint conference about their experience in the Marble League, and broke records for the largest attendance in academic conference history. It was clear that, despite not being in the Marble League for so long, the Rojo Rollers still had a dedicated fanbase, especially in their home city. Additionally, with the help of RN3, the team began construction of a training facility and marble sports stadium, located in the city of Numerun. This stadium was submitted as a host for the 2019 Marble League, but was not picked.

The Rollers’ performance in the two offseason events were moderate at best. Rojo Tres placed sixteenth in the 100 Meter Water Race, just behind Yellup from Mellow Yellow. In the Amazing Maze Marble Race, the team placed first in their heat, but last in their semifinal. The team showed promise, but doubt was cast on their ability to follow through in the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers. This doubt became their reality on 26 January 2019, when the Rojo Rollers failed to qualify for the Marble League for the third season in a row. The team did not place above tenth for any of the events, and was never in the top twelve.

As described by the article “The Teams You’ll Miss in the 2019 Marble League”, it was revealed that the Rojo Rollers had a difficult offseason. As the 2018 Sand Marble Rally approached, the new logo for the Rollers was released to the public, displaying a roller skate instead of the traditional red number 3 ball. This disturbed Red Number 3, who thought that the Marble League team was ending its long-standing relationship with him. Rojo Rollers privately met with Red Number 3, assuring him otherwise, and preventing the dissent from reaching the public. 

The athlete that would become the pinnacle of controversy, as well.

Needless to say, the confirmation in December that Red Number 3 was not a glass marble ballooned the scale of the controversy and created chaos. In the midst of training for 2019 Marble League Qualifiers, Rojo Rollers had to act quickly and cut its partnership before the team’s reputation was tarnished in relation to Red Number 3. According to Rojo Tres: 

“We had no idea he wasn’t a marble. The drama over this has been astounding, and while we tried to ignore it, we didn’t want to disappoint our fans if they got the impression that we supported fraud. We roll fair and square, except not square, because then we’d be cubes, and cubes aren’t marbles.” 

This decision deeply hurt the team, particularly after the Qualifiers. Although the article stated that the Rojo Rollers were willing to move away from the controversy, Jelle’s confirmation that RN3 would be returning to the 2019 Marble Rally eased the tension surrounding the situation.

            “I understand why [the Rojo Rollers] did what they did. I understand why my fans were so upset,” Red Number 3 sighed. “I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, and I feel the most disappointed in myself. I’m happy that I’m still being allowed to compete in this next season. I only hope the Rollers will forgive me for the way I acted.”

Since then, no official statement has been released regarding any future collaborations between the Marble Rally athlete and the team, but we hope that relations between the two parties have improved.

At this point, the Rojo Rollers were prepared to experience a third extended offseason, and maybe longer. As their new coach, Rojo Cero, put it:

            “I got onto the management, took one look at the team, and knew that their morale was gone. The Rojo Rollers have always been strong in team events, but it’s their individual events where—save for Uno and Dos—the athletes can’t follow through. It really takes a toll on them, especially when you don’t get into the Championship League for three seasons in a row. The Showdown saved them. They counted on that tournament to give them the exposure and experience they needed to redefine themselves and return to Qualifiers, ready to make it.”

The Rojo Rollers rejoiced at the announcement of the Showdown, and immediately got to training. As the Showdown approached, the team was a favorite to not only advance to 2020 Qualifiers, but to win the Showdown overall.

The Rojo Rollers reclaiming the top of the podium for the first time in three years.

Rojo Cuatro represented the team in the first event, Sand Rally, and placed seventh. The next event, Collision, saw the team dominate over its group and pull tight leads over its competitors in quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the finals. All five of the Rojo Rollers were on the podium for their first gold medal since the 2018 Qualifiers.

The team rose to second place in the standings, further proving their place in the top twelve. In the third event, Funnel Spinning, the Rollers put in Rojo Dos. Although Cuatro had more experience in funnel spinning, they had already participated in the Sand Rally. The team’s gamble with Dos paid off immensely, with their performance earning a bronze medal, a second overall spot, just one point behind the Snowballs, and, most importantly, a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers.

Rojo Dos' time to shine on the Marble League Showdown podium!

The final event, Balancing, was the event that the Rojo Rollers had the best experience in—but they did not show it. The team, perhaps in an effort to conserve its energy, placed dead last. The three teams who got on the podium were Team Primary, the Snowballs, and the Hornets. The Hornets moved ahead of the Rollers, taking second place at the conclusion of the Showdown. The Rojo Rollers remained on the podium by two points, with Team Primary a point and a medal below them in fourth. The Kobalts finished the Showdown in tenth place and will remain in the Showdown in 2020, guaranteeing that at least one of the two teams will not get a second season of the Marble League—just yet.

While training for the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, Rojo Cero received an official letter from the JMRC, inviting the Rojo Rollers to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The Rojo Rollers accepted the invitation and will be represented by Rojo Uno and Rojo Dos during the tournament.

In RetRollSpective, the Rojo Rollers are not the paradigm of consistency. They are a team that has demonstrated a lot of promise, but has been unable to follow through, even in its first season of the Marble League. If the team can take the scale of improvement that they made in the Surculo four years ago and apply it to their performance in the 2020 Qualifiers, then the odds of the Rojo Rollers returning to the Championship League will be strong.

While working on this RetRollSpective, we got to visit Numerun to interview the athletes and tour the city. It could be considered both an old and modern wonder of the world—that’s how impressive Numerun is. In touring the Rollers’ new stadium, we discovered a beautiful tribute: a gap in the grandstands of the Rollers’ stadium that allows fans to get a direct view of Colina Umerun. The gap pays a breathtaking homage to the origins of not only the Rojo Rollers, but also the origins of marble racing.

We hope that, sooner rather than later, fans around the world will be able to experience this treasure for themselves. Best of luck to the Rojo Rollers in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on rolling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Snowballs

RetRollSpective – Snowballs

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re going to focus on the Snowballs, a team that originated in the 2016 Marble League. Read on to find out how this team has chilled the competition!

The logo for the Snowballs, designed by Tim Ritz.

The Snowballs hail from North America, where they grew up in Hailfern, a small city on the northeast coast of the continent. In their youth, the city was but a village known for its ski slopes, located in the valley a little ways inland of the village. Snowflake, who would later become the team captain, lived on one of the ski slopes in an acacia log house with her parents, who owned the slope and named it after her. Snowflake Slope became a regional tourist destination for marbles who lived on the southeast coast of the continent. It is believed that the O’Marbles family came up there to ski each winter prior to competing in the Fruit Circuit.

Snowflake traveled down the slope and through the valley to attend school in Hailfern each day. She met Snowstorm and Snowblast through the school’s snowtubing club, an afterschool activity where they would travel into the valley and tube for fun. When Snowflake got older, she founded the school’s first ski team. They practiced on her family’s slope and competed throughout the region.

The house atop Snowflake Slope where Snowflake grew up.

The Hailfern Ski Team was competing in the regional finals in Blancouver when Snowflake received news that her father had perished in an avalanche. She dropped out of the race that she was supposed to compete in and returned home. Snowstorm and Snowblast, to raise support for Snowflake, reached out to the other teams competing. The Blancouver Ski Team, headed by Snow and Snowy, donated their fundraising proceeds from hosting to Snowflake and her mother.

Several months later, the Blancouver Ski Team visited Hailfern for a competition. Snowflake had already dropped out of school to help her mother run the ski lift, but she attended the competition in support of his team. Snow and Snowy, along with Snowstorm, visited her after the competition, and the four rekindled over their memories in the regional finals. They went out to the slopes, where they rolled together, cruising down the hill in sync with each other. As they ascended up the ski lift at sunset that night, they were ecstatic and promised to meet again.

Snowflake’s mother supported her daughter’s endeavors in marble sports as she got older, which included team competitions. She eventually rejoined the ski team at his school, and upon graduation, was admitted to the University of Snoronto. She attended university there along with Snow, Snowy, and Snowstorm, where they competed together in a variety of marble sports. Their coalition, which became known as the Snowballs, became rivals with the school’s other major coalition: the Gliding Glaciers, whose members were all from an island city called Guuk.

            “It was a friendly rivalry…mostly because they knew that we were better than them,” Snowy explained. “They were more chill. Everyone loved their personalities, but we knew how to dominate the competition.”

The Snowballs became one of the most popular university teams on the continent, bringing international attention to Hailfern for the first time in centuries. The team’s incoming invitation to the 2016 Marble League only added to the excitement surrounding them.

The four original members of the team.

“We were a wildcard pick, plain and simple,” Snow stated. “We had to be. There was no way we were that good, even if we were performing well in the college leagues. It’s like we skipped the major and regional leagues of marble sports entirely.”

The Snowballs were revealed as the fifteenth team coming to the Marble League, and entered the tournament as a counter-pick to more internationally recognized teams like Team Primary, the Rojo Rollers, and the Savage Speeders. They began the season by earning one point in Balancing and five points in the Relay Race, earning a technical bronze medal due to a defect in the top lane of the track. The Snowballs earned only eight points over the next ten events, going scoreless in six of the ten. The team finished their inaugural season in a disappointing fourteenth place.

The team entered the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers with high hopes, only for those hopes to be crushed. Despite placing fifth in the Relay Race and eighth in the Sand Rally, the Snowballs scored no points in the next two events and missed qualifying for the 2017 Marble League in thirteenth place, tied with the Kobalts. After two dismal performances, the team convened to discuss their future.

            “It was obvious that we weren’t doing as well as we could have,” Snowflake confessed. “We realized that we needed a lot more professional experience. After watching some of the 2017 Marble League, we competed as an exhibition team in the MFC Championship League, which we had heard of from the Balls of Chaos. That experience prepared us for so much more success in the 2018 season.”

 

Back home, Snowblast had built up the Hailfern Ski Team to claim its first ever regional title. The championship was amidst a rapid expansion of the village in business. One of the largest tenants included a construction company, Arctic Corporation, that was working on an arena and training facility for the Snowballs. The stadium was named the Arctic Circle upon its completion.

The Arctic Circle, photographed upon its completion in 2017.

The stadium was located on the opposite side of the mountain from Snowflake Slope, facing the new city of Hailfern. During the fall of 2017, the Bakker brothers and Greg Woods visited the facility during their world tour, after meeting with Royal Family of Snoronto. They liked the stadium so much that they offered the Snowballs the chance to host the upcoming 2018 Marble League. In their offer, the team would automatically qualify for the tournament and be able to propose themed events. The Snowballs accepted without hesitation, and became the first team to ever host a Marble League.

The team did not appear at the Draw or at Qualifiers, which were held in the Arctic Circle. They recruited Snowblast as their fifth member for the Friendly Round, an exhibition tournament new to the ML that year. The Snowballs dominated throughout the tournament, earning first in both the 5 Meter Ice Dash and in the Halfpipe against series mainstays Savage Speeders, O’rangers, and Mellow Yellow. Could 2018 be their year to shine, and on their turf?

Snow began the season strongly for the Snowballs, finishing fourth in the finals of the 5 Meter Dash, and Snowstorm followed up his performance with a ninth-place finish in the Ski Jump. The team fell apart during the Halfpipe event, getting dead last in an event they had dominated in during the Friendly Round, and attempted to resuscitate their fall in the Bobsled event, an event in which the team placed seventh. The Snowballs dropped further to thirteenth place.

 

The team hung their hopes on Snowflake for Speed Skating, an investment which turned out to be more than worth it. Snowflake earned her first bronze medal against Ruzzy from the Raspberry Racers, which happened to be the team’s first medal ever. The team rose to seventh place in the standings and faced Team Pursuit next. The event was on the same course as Speed Skating and was a team event, requiring the cooperation of all four team members for the third marble to pass. The team put Snowy in front and Snowflake just behind, making Snowstorm the third marble with Snow as the back marble. Their strategy and speed led the team to their first gold medal.

The Snowballs' first ever gold medal in the Marble League.

This, combined with Snowy’s fourth place finish in the Snow Rally, placed the Snowballs in second in the overall standings. These higher finishes during the middle of the season allowed the Snowballs to remain in the top half of the standings and as championship contenders, although the team did not return to the podium after the eighth event. From the Snowboard Cross to the Sand Mogul Rally, the Snowballs earned thirty points to finish the 2018 Marble League in seventh place. They were tied with the Raspberry Racers in points but had a gold medal advantage over the team, and were just two points below the Hazers in sixth place.

The Snowballs’ improved season was marred by tragedy. During a blizzard in Hailfern, an avalanche slid down the mountain and caused major damage to the Arctic Circle, destroying the stadium and severely damaging the Snowballs’ training facilities. The avalanche occurred during a break in the 2018 tournament, which meant that no marble was present in the stadium. Upon surveying the damage, the Bakker brothers and the IMC decided to use the Bakker Bowl as a temporary stadium for the final event, the Sand Mogul Race.

The stadium used for the last event of the 2018 Marble League was adapted from its appearance in ML16 and ML17.

The Snowballs began rebuilding the stadium during early 2019, after participating in the two offseason events. Snowflake placed twenty-first in the 100 Meter Water Race and did not finish the race; she was the first marble to DNF. The Gliding Glaciers, notably, finished third in the race, but announced their retirement from the Marble League shortly after. The Snowballs also participated in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, but failed to get past the initial heat and placed second-to-last overall. Things were not looking the best for the Snowballs leading up to the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers.

All of the team’s struggles throughout the offseason manifested at the end of January 2019. The team earned only seven points throughout the first three events of Qualifiers, sitting in eighteenth place. Snow placed eighth in the Underwater Race, earning eleven points, but it was not enough to save the team. The Snowballs finished the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers in eighteenth place with eighteen points and did not make the cut for what would have been their third Marble League. The team’s accumulation of skills seemed to have melted.

            “It’s something we really tried to prepare against, but we ultimately couldn’t overcome. We know we can do better than that.” Snowflake paused, seeming as if she was deep in thought. “Maybe if the conditions were fairer…”

This comment drew scrutiny from the Oceanics, who were upset that the Snowballs were blaming them for their poor performance. The Snowballs dropped the charges after being advised to do so by the Royal Family of Snoronto, who negotiated with the Royal Family of Dunduei on the topic.

The team learned shortly afterwards of the Marble League Showdown and began training for the tournament in their training facility, which had already been repaired. The public heard little from the Snowballs until the 2019 Marble League Showdown, where they were set to compete against the seven other unqualified teams, two fan-voted teams, and two Hubelino teams. The Snowballs had a lot to prove in not a lot of time, and most fans were expecting the Snowballs to fall by the wayside in favor of the Rojo Rollers, Hornets, and somehow, the Shining Swarm.

The Snowballs earned 53 points in the Showdown and advanced to Qualifiers at the top of the standings.

The Snowballs’ Showdown showing was one that seemed to flash-freeze the competition. The team earned three medals, one in every event but Collision. Snowstorm earned a bronze medal in the Sand Rally, Snow took the gold in Funnel Spinning, and the team earned a silver medal in Balancing. The team won the Showdown and secured a spot in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers.

While training for 2020, the team received an official letter from the JMRC, inviting the team to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The Snowballs accepted and will be represented by Snowy and Snowflake in the upcoming tournament. Snowflake’s acacia log cabin and Snowflake Slope itself were featured in the background of the team’s reveal poster.

 

In RetRollSpective, the Snowballs are a team that has come a long way since their first season to win the Showdown. They have experienced loss and tragedy that life brings, but chosen to fight through it all towards victory, all the while having “snow much fun” doing what they love. Best of luck to the Snowballs in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on rolling! 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

RetRollSpective – Limers

RetRollSpective – Limers

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes that have been featured in the Marble League. This time, we’re going to discuss the history of the Limers, an inaugural team of the Marble League which will not appear in the 2020 edition of the championship. Read on to find out why…

The Limers' logo, designed by Tim Ritz.

The Limers hail from the Adriatic Coast in southern Europe, and got their name from two sources—the vast reserves of limestone that are nestled slightly inland of the Gulf of Tartufo, and their favorite dessert, cassata, which is traditionally served with limes on top. The Limers began racing in Sotsevsa, a city across the sea to the southeast of the gulf known for its philosophical teachings in ancient times, as well as its Syndesmarble, an ancient marble racing tournament which is still celebrated as a yearly tradition in the city. One year, the four performed so well that they caught the attention of a marble sports aficionado named Greg Woods. The team was approached soon after by Woods, who invited the team to join his Fruit Circuit troupe, and the team accepted. 

The Limers were one of the first teams in the Fruit Circuit when it began touring in 2004, alongside now-inactive teams like the Strawberry Strudels, Boysenberry Ballers, and Grape Nuts. They ended up outlasting these teams because of their persistence. According to Sublime:

“Much of the marblebase has asked us why we’re still going. Why do we keep trying every time that we do badly in an event or a season? It’s because we love this craft. We love marble sports because it gives us a purpose to be active and to make a difference in the world. We want to keep doing that for as long as we possibly can, not just for our fans, but for ourselves.”

The O’rangers, Raspberry Racers, and Mellow Yellow eventually joined the Fruit Circuit, and all three teams proved to be challenging for the Limers to shake. When the 2016 Marble League transfer spots from the Fruit Circuit were announced, the stakes rose even higher, particularly against the Raspberry Racers. Upon joining the circuit, the Racers quickly became rivals with the Limers due to their geographic proximity to each other and their contrasting team colors. The rivalry between the two teams is one of the most competitive in marble sports history, let alone in Marble League history.

The Cliffs of Tartufo, located just off the scenic Adriatic Coast.

“The Limers are the reason that we did not qualify for the 2016 Marble League,” Razzy remarked, almost snidely. “During the third-to-last race, Slimelime rolled into me right out of the starting gate, killed my momentum, and blocked me from moving to the front. He finished in second. I finished in sixth. If I had the momentum I needed to burst forward, I would’ve at least been on the podium for that race. But he got all the glory…and I got nothing.”

When asked, Slimelime disregarded the claim: “I maybe felt a slight nudge out of the starting gate, but I didn’t intend to block anyone out of the gate. One, that’s really poor sportsmanship. Two, I wouldn’t have put it past Razzy to nudge me back, and either way, she would not admit to it.”

Ultimately, the Limers came out on top, winning the Fruit Circuit in its final year and qualifying for the 2016 Marble League along with Mellow Yellow and the O’rangers. The team entered the tournament with honor, knowing that the Marble League was the modern-day realization of the ancient Syndesmarble tournament.

 

The four original members of the Limers: Sublime, Lemonlime, Jellime, and Slimelime.

Sublime, Lemonlime, Jellime, and Slimelime entered the 2016 Marble League with high hopes that were soon deflated by subpar performances. The Limers went scoreless in the first half of the tournament except for the second event, the Relay Race, in which they earned two points in sixth place. The Limers’ second half proved more fruitful for the team, save for two more scoreless events, and produced a bronze medal in Quartet Diving, but the team finished the season in a disappointing fifteenth place. In fact, the Limers would have tied with the Pinkies for dead last, had the Pinkies not been disqualified in the final event.

“We were admittedly surprised by the circumstances. We expected the Marble League to reward performance with solely medals. The points system threw us off not necessarily because it was there, but because of how punishing it was. If you earned any place lower than eighth, tough luck. If you got seventh, you could’ve gotten eighth and gotten the same amount of points.” Lemonlime rolled her self. “It made no sense, and we were determined to change it. We appealed to Jelle, and it was done.”

The offseason brought other substantial changes for the Limers. They began a rigorous training session in the steep cliffs of limestone near Tartufo, and also began building a training center just outside the city. Jellime left the team early in the offseason to become an advisor for the Syndesmarble, and was replaced swiftly by Goolime. He declined to comment on whether his leave was influenced directly by the Limers’ poor performance in the 2016 Marble League.

The Limers entered the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers with a lot to prove in a short amount of time. The team scored nothing during the Relay Race but picked up enough points in the remaining three events to qualify for the main tournament in twelfth place, four points ahead of the Kobalts and Snowballs, who both failed to qualify. The Limers became one of twelve teams that would be appearing in their second straight Marble League Championship.

In the 2016 Marble League, the Limers went scoreless in half of the events. In the 2017 Marble League, the Limers went scoreless in zero of the events. The Limers placed in the bottom half during the first two events before earning a silver medal in the infamous Fidget Spinner Collision event. The team finished in the top half over the next four events, earning a bronze medal in the Relay Run, demonstrating a significant improvement from Qualifiers. The Limers peaked in the standings at second place after the Relay Run, and remained strong at third place after Block Pushing.

The Limers' first silver medal in the Marble League.

Unfortunately, the Limers did not perform as strongly in the latter half of the season as they had in 2016. The Limers placed in the bottom half of the standings for every event except for Block Pushing and Steeplechase, notably around ninth to fourteenth place. As such, the Limers fell from the top half of the standings with grace, and finished the season in tenth place, just one place above its starting position in the 2017 Marble League. Despite their slowdown, the Limers were still happy with their season. Goolime noted,

            “The growth that I have seen this team endure ever since I joined is nothing short of astounding. I’m so proud of how far they’ve come since 2016, and I’m lucky to be a part of it this year. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.”

After a rigorous offseason of training, the Limers were invited to the 2018 Marble League Draw in the Arctic Circle, and happily chose to attend. When they arrived, they were greeted with a surprise, for better or for worse: the Raspberry Racers were also in attendance. Greg Woods introduced them in the video, stating:

“They have a long history going back with the Limers, the two of them, so ideally they would like to be in separate groups, although some might say they want to be in the same just to knock each other out before they even make it…”

The two teams ended up in the same qualifying group.

“We were only separated by the Shining Swarm, but it felt like we were eons apart,” Sublime mused. “We reached out to the team after they failed to qualify in 2016, but they had already disbanded and wanted nothing to do with marble sports. We never thought we would see them again in tournament, let alone in the Marble League.”

The return of the Raspberry Racers threw the Limers for a loop not only in concept, but more importantly in tournament. The Limers got two silvers and one bronze, but they could only edge ahead of the Racers in Curling and the Halfpipe. At the end of Qualifiers, the Raspberry Racers qualified for the 2018 Marble League in second with 22 points. The Limers qualified in fourth with 21 points.

 

The Fruit Circuit was back.

“I was new to the team that year, and even I could tell that the Raspberry Racers had never performed like this before,” Limelime admitted. “They had a drive like no other team to win the Marble League. And they didn’t in 2018, but we all know that they eventually would.”

“2018 felt off from the beginning of Qualifiers. Even if we didn’t show it then, we felt it,” Slimelime added. “We were definitely showing it by the second event.”

The 2018 Marble League resembled much of the Limers’ inaugural season. The team scored no points in a quarter of the events, and placed in the top half in only a third of the events. The Limers started the season in tenth place, but by end of the Snow Rally, the seventh event, the team had been in last place in the standings at the end of all but three events.

Comeback time...

“It became really clear to us that we were not going to win the Championship, regardless of whether it was mathematically possible or not. We did not have the gusto in us to do it. But we also didn’t want to take last place. I certainly didn’t,” remarked Sublime. He glanced at his gold medal, which was enclosed in a small display case at the Limers’ training facility. “We had taken last in the Snow Rally, and the team voted on me to do the Snowboard Cross. They said that they had a funny feeling that I would do well. And somehow—somehow, they were right.”

In a surprise turnaround for the Limers, Sublime eased his way down the course during the heat, finishing barely a second behind the Raspberry Racers, and dominated during the final, finishing two seconds before Anarchy from the Balls of Chaos narrowly edged ahead of Bolto from the Thunderbolts. The result was the Limers’ first ever gold medal, and a pathway out of the basement of the standings for the rest of the 2018 Marble League.

The team performed in the middle of the pack throughout the remainder of the season, save for a last-place finish in Ice Hockey, which surprised fans due to the Limers’ silver medal in Collision the year before. The Limers finished the tournament in fourteenth place with the same amount of points as Mellow Yellow but a medal to edge above their fellow Fruit Circuit competition. However, the Limers were more focused on the performance of another Fruit Circuit team.

“The Raspberry Racers beat us in every single event except for the 5-Meter Ice Dash and the Snowboard Cross,” Keylime said without hesitation. “When I joined the team as coach in the offseason, I made sure that my team knew that. The fans wanted a rivalry, but we gave the other team the championship.”

Vindication at its finest.

In the 2018 offseason, the Limers placed second in the 100m Water Race, above the Raspberry Racers in thirteenth, and ascended to the finals of the Amazing Marble Race against the Raspberry Racers, O’rangers, and Savage Speeders. The team’s drive ground to a halt, and the Limers placed fourth with only twenty-five points scored. The Raspberry Racers won the tournament with forty-three points scored, and became known as a strong contender for the 2019 Marble League. The Oceanics were revealed as the hosts for the season, denying the Limers’ bid to host.

“Things were not looking good. My team’s morale had really fallen over the course of the past year. That hosting bid would have done a lot to raise their spirits, and it also would have done a lot for the Marble League as a whole. We were in contact with Jellime and the whole Syndesmarble advisory board to make it something really special.” Keylime sighed. “Things were getting much better for the team in the last few weeks leading up to Qualifiers. Their form was starting to look much like their 2017 selves. I was hopeful.”

The Limers remained in a safe position in the standings for much of Qualifiers, boosted by a second-place finish in Block Pushing. However, the Underwater Race changed their fate for the worse. Slimelime finished in nineteenth and earned only one point, bringing the Limers’ total number of points to thirty-five. The Chocolatiers finished in fourth and earned fifteen points, bolstering them three points above the Limers and earning the final qualifying spot for the 2019 Marble League. Had Slimelime been four milliseconds faster, the Limers would have qualified.

Are the Limers trash, or was their fans' debris trash?

Granted, the Limers’ presence in Qualifiers was soured when their fans started throwing debris into the Relay Race arena, disrupting the flow of the event and allegedly blocking Team Primary from finishing the race (an allegation that the JMRC denies). Needless to say, the fans’ actions in the stands were reckless, and Goolime agreed: 

“We do not condone actions like that—in fact, these types of things distract us too. We’re marble athletes and we’re focused on that—we’re trying to do the best we can. That’s all.” 

Limers did in fact finish in third in that heat, and twelfth place overall in that event. Had their fans not disrupted the flow, the end result could have changed. Instead, the team missed out on its first Marble League ever. Here’s what Lemonlime had to say about that: 

“I know what the fans are thinking. ‘Wow, Limers finally didn’t qualify. They’ve always been in the bottom half of the standings. They didn’t deserve to be in the Marble League.’ And they have every right to feel that way. Our response is this, plain and simple: we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to compete in these tournaments. We’ve loved to do what we do, no matter how well we’ve placed. It’s been far from perfect, but it doesn’t stop here. Right now, it hurts. But trust me when I say that we’re going to do everything we can to keep pushing. Thank you to the fans. We’ll see you soon.”

An expansion to the ML that will no doubt increase its longevity.

The Limers were ready to take a hiatus from training, but they were pleasantly surprised to hear the news that there would be a Marble League Showdown that would give the unqualified teams of the 2019 Marble League a chance to compete and prove their worth for the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers. The Limers immediately regrouped and began training again, rebuilding their team mentally, emotionally, and physically. The more they spent time together, the more optimistic they felt. As the weather got warmer, they returned to the Cliffs of Tartufo to train there without any disruption from the happenings of the world.

They were finishing their dinner with cassata when the sixteenth and final event of the 2019 Marble League was on television, and watched silently as the Raspberry Racers secured the Championship. The event was followed by a lengthy news recap, which covered the Racers’ season in depth and also discussed predictions for the Showdown. After some time, in which the cassata stayed on the table, uneaten, the waitress rolled over to the table and asked the Limers,

“Are you finished with your dessert yet? Or would you like some raspberry syrup to sweeten the dish?”

Needless to say, the Limers entered the 2019 Marble League Showdown under immense pressure from the marblebase—fans that were flocking back from the Green Ducks, fans that had virtually no hope in the Limers, and fans in the middle of it all, who hoped that the Limers would at least get by.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but not one of the 2,879 words that compose this RetRollSpective could equate to the emotions that Limers fans felt when the Limers finished in last during the 2019 Marble League Showdown. One of the fans that was banned from the Seven Seas Stadium expressed their disconcert,

“I guess I understand how the Oceanics fans feel, but at least they got to be a part of the Marble League Championship. We won’t even get a chance to be in the Championship until 2021, and that’s if we can score in more than half of the events, and score well. I have a right to be angry.”

The Limers declined to comment on the Showdown and its aftermath, although we can only imagine that they are beyond heartbroken. In RetRollSpective, the Limers are a team that have done better in earlier years, especially prior to the Marble League. The rise of newer teams, notably the Raspberry Racers, have put into question the Limers’ form and overall capabilities. Nevertheless, there is something to be said about the team’s resilience, and after hitting rock-bottom in this year’s Showdown, we can only hope that they will come back stronger than they have ever been, perhaps even in the first season of Marbula One, which Sublime and Limelime accepted their invitation to in December 2019. Best of luck to the Limers in the 2020 Marble League Showdown, keep on rolling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

Tide Out: The Oceanics’ State of Affairs in the 2019 MarbleLympics

Tide Out: The Oceanics’ State of Affairs in the 2019 MarbleLympics

Dearest Oceanics Fans,

First of all, we acknowledge and sympathize with your disappointment by the Oceanics’ performance in the 2019 MarbleLympics. We oversaw their training in the Seven Seas Stadium as its construction neared completion, and can confirm that the team trained well enough for the events that would be offered. The Oceanics took on an immense challenge this season by offering water events in the tournament—these being types of events that the team typically does not fare well in. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the results of this year’s MarbleLympics, it seems that their endeavors were anything but successful.

The Royal Family of Dunduei has treasured the spirit that the Oceanics have brought to Oceania, and we desire to reinvigorate the determination and morale of the team, as well as you, the fans, who were heartbroken this season. In order to preserve this spirit, and perhaps better it, the Royal Family has agreed to purchase the Oceanics from Tide, who was not only the team’s coach, but the team’s owner. We will retain the team’s manager, Reef, and the team’s new coach, Lagoon, as a part of this acquisition. Additionally, this purchase includes ownership of the Seven Seas Stadium, which will now operate under the Royal Seal of Dunduei, and be protected under such securities.

This was not an easy decision for the Royal Family to make. We have been struggling during the past few months due to the previously unannounced sickness of Queen Marina, who, as you may have noticed, has not appeared at the proper 2019 MarbleLympics events and ceremonies. In the interim, King Triton has been ruling over the region alone, with no desire to replace his wife, regardless of the strain that ruling alone has placed on him. In witnessing the Oceanics continue to perform poorly in the 2019 MarbleLympics, Her Majesty, distraught, has urged the King to act. In this manner, His Majesty shall do so, honoring his wife’s wishes as well as the wishes of the region, and perhaps of the world.

The Royal Family of Dunduei

Hey guys! Stynth reporting. The JMRC received an important letter from the Royal Family of Dunduei today…and wow, does it seem to be a doozy. After months of witnessing the Oceanics’ fall from grace during the 2019 MarbleLympics, it seems that even the Royal Family has gotten involved. In fact, they’ve worked out an agreement with the team’s former coach, Tide, to purchase the team from him entirely. How did this come to be, you ask? We interviewed the Oceanics themselves to discuss this recent development in marble sports news.

“We knew that we were taking on a big risk,” Reef, the team’s manager, echoed from the letter. “However, in consulting with MarbleLympics officials, we realized that only by offering water events could we offer our greatest potential as hosts for the 2019 MarbleLympics. That opportunity was there for us, and we took it.”

“I was brought on to the team in late 2018,” recalled Bay. “The Oceanics got wind from the officials that it was a conflict of interest if the coach of a team was also an active member of a team, and Tide stepped away from his reserve position. I was already being sponsored by Tide in the Oceania Surfing League, so he brought me on to support the team in the 2019 MarbleLympics.”

Things were looking good for the Oceanics prior to the 2019 MarbleLympics. The team won the Friendly Round before it was even over, having secured enough points to win in the first three events and being able to afford a finish in dead last for the final event, the Underwater Race. Fans were optimistic that the team’s success in the Friendly Round would translate to high results in the main tournament, at least for regular events. The call for #TidePride had never been louder.

“It’s not like we didn’t train,” Ocean explained. “We were a little conflicted when the stadium was under construction, but once it was completed, we dove in. I’d be lying if I said that everything was okay, though. That something didn’t feel off.”

“The team didn’t feel the same. Our mojo was thrown off because Tide wasn’t competing on the team anymore, and not only that. He didn’t coach as well when we wasn’t competing on the team. He didn’t see where we were struggling,” said Sea.

“He didn’t see that we were struggling,” Shore assured.

The first blow to the Oceanics’ morale came in the first event of the main tournament, when Ocean came last in her heat, in front of His Majesty King Triton and over the commentary of Greg Woods, exclaiming “Oceanics, ah, they’re going to finish last again in an underwater event. They will not move on.” The team began the 2019 MarbleLympics with three points, and over the course of the next five events, secured bottom-half finishes in four of those five in order to sit at the bottom of the standings at the end of the sixth event, Relay Race. One of those finishes included a dead-last performance in the fourth event, Gravitrax Slalom.

Although Tide declined to comment for this feature, we were able to interview him shortly after the Relay Race, an event in which the Oceanics won in the Friendly Round. He had this to say to us:

“You know, the way we see it, this would look worse on the team if this year’s season was only twelve events long. We’re not at the halfway point yet, and we still have a chance to bring this home—literally.”

Unfortunately, the team was still in a bad place by the time the tenth event, Maze, rolled around. Although the Oceanics managed to keep out of last place, they were still in second-to-last place, only above the Pinkies, a team which is notorious in the MarbleLympics for being in last place at the end of two of the tournaments.

“Suffice it to say that we were not impressed with the team’s performance,” Reef stated. “We didn’t consider being better than the Pinkies much of an accomplishment…until we weren’t.”

Although the Oceanics reached the finals in the Maze, the team squandered their high odds of medaling when they finished in fourth place. In the next event, Dirt Race, Shore made it to the final race, but bounced off the course, finishing in seventh and returning the Oceanics to last place overall.

The Pinkies medaled in both events.

“Morale was at an all-time low for us…or in hindsight, it wasn’t even as low as it was at the end of the season,” Aqua said, dismally. “We tried to muster up what we had left during Rafting. We thought we did well, until ten other teams ended up doing better than us.”

That cemented the Oceanics’ fate in the season. “The Oceanics in the meantime, cruelly, they become the first team who will not be able to win the MarbleLympics,” noted Greg Woods as the updated standings appeared on the scoreboard.

The next event, the Elimination Race, appropriately saw two of the Oceanics get eliminated—the team member who participated in the event, Sea, and the coach of the team, Tide.

“I was sitting near Coach Tide when he was removed from the grandstands. Reef and Alvin rolled over to us with a bunch of stadium security marbles, and Reef fired him on the spot. It seemed as if he had been planning to fire him for a time, at least for a few weeks,” one of the other team’s coaches, who asked to remain anonymous, reported. “What made it particularly awkward is that Tide owned the team, but Reef was the manager, and thus had the authority to relieve Tide of his coach duties.”

“I had to do what was best for the team,” Reef added. “Tide was our weakest link, especially when it came to training for the water events. We were going to wait until the season was over to make an action, but after the first heat of the Elimination Race, I lost my cool.”

From there, Reef brought Lagoon in as the new coach of the Oceanics, while Tide’s hands were figuratively tied. He tried to fire Reef as manager, but this proved futile when the Royal Family got involved. Regardless, the Oceanics’ performance in the 2019 MarbleLympics did not improve, and the team finished the season with the worst points average of any team in MarbleLympics history. When asked about this, Reef had this to say:

“This season has been one of the most difficult seasons that any team has had to experience. You need to have a clear and positive mindset in order to compete in a tournament as demanding as the MarbleLympics, and between their stress in hosting, changes in coaching, and the loss of support from their fans, the Oceanics couldn’t do as well as they wanted to. It’s sad. And it’s even more sad that we let down our fans on our home turf. They had every right to be disappointed in us.”

“I still believe in our team, though,” said Sea, after a long pause from the team. “We hit rock bottom this year—there’s no denying that. But it was still an honor to host and to be a part of the MarbleLympics for another year. That’s what matters above all, and in order to continue that, we’re going to work hard next year on ourselves—mentally, emotionally, and physically— to qualify and to prove our worth again in competition.”

We thank the Oceanics for participating in this interview and hold the utmost respect for them for holding their heads high during this difficult time. Upon further investigation, it seems that the Royal Family has offered Tide a hefty sum for the rights to the Oceanics and their stadium— apparently an offer that he could not refuse. It would be foolish to assume that we have seen the last of Tide’s influence in marble sports, and it would be even more foolish to assume that Tide is not salty about letting the Oceanics go, even for the amount of money he got for them. After all, it was his influence on the team that led to their best performance yet in the MarbleLympics…along with their worst.

Tide is out, and royalty is in…where will this lead the Oceanics in 2020? We’ll just have to wait and sea. Thank you for reading this Marble Sports Blog feature, and keep on rolling!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC

The Teams You’ll Miss In The 2019 MarbleLympics

The Teams You’ll Miss In The 2019 MarbleLympics

Logo: Marblelympics

After months of waiting to see which teams would compete in the 2019 MarbleLympics, we finally know the sixteen teams that have qualified, including the four that prequalified at the end of the 2018 MarbleLympics and the twelve that competed in the 2019 MarbleLympics Qualifiers. And now that we know…that’s it, for three months. These teams will train rigorously for the main tournament, and we’ll be left to speculate who will triumph come April. 

In our theorizing, meme-making, and hype intensifying, we’ll rally behind at least one of the sixteen teams that have qualified, if not all of them. From the two rookie teams, including the newly announced Green Ducks, to four-time veterans such as Savage Speeders, Pinkies, and Team Galactic, each team deserves to prove its worth in the MarbleLympics. They all have something unique to bring to the games, and they have brought their all in order to secure their roles. 

Regardless, there is a certain tragedy with the passing of the Qualifiers each year. There are sixteen spots in the MarbleLympics each year, meaning that if more than twelve teams are seeing to compete, there will be cuts. This has been the case since 2017, when the first Qualifiers were held, and Kobalts, Snowballs, Balls of Chaos, and Rojo Rollers failed to qualify. In 2018, twelve teams failed to qualify (four from each group), the most in a single season yet. 

This year saw a mixture of teams get cut. Some were beloved fan favorites. Others were hoping, after years of being unsuccessful, to finally return to the competition. But none of them can be forgotten. Like the sixteen teams that have qualified, these eight teams all bring something special to the competition. The difference is the effort put in—either it isn’t “their all” or it’s masked by other teams. And so it goes. 

Still, as we await the 2019 MarbleLympics, we would like to reflect on these “forbidden eight”, if you will. They deserve to be heard, and their legacies deserve to be honored. Any team could be in their position right now. 

Torn To Pieces

A loss welcomed by Raspberry Racers and Team Primary fans, Limers were four points short of overcoming the Chocolatiers to qualify. Their presence in Qualifiers was soured when Limers fans starting throwing debris into the Relay Race arena, disrupting the flow of the event and allegedly blocking Team Primary from finishing the race (an allegation that the IMC denies). Needless to say, the fans’ actions in the stands were reckless, and Goolime agreed: 

“We do not condone actions like that—in fact, these types of things distract us too. We’re marble athletes and we’re focused on that—we’re trying to do the best we can. That’s all.” 

Limers did in fact finish in third in that heat, and twelfth place overall in that event. Had their fans not disrupted the flow, the end result could have changed. Instead, the team is missing out on its first MarbleLympics ever. Here’s what Lemonlime had to say about that: 

“I know what the fans are thinking. ‘Wow, Limers finally didn’t qualify. They’ve always been in the bottom half of the standings. They didn’t deserve to be in the MarbleLympics.’ And they have every right to feel that way. Our response is this, plain and simple: we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to compete in these tournaments. We’ve loved to do what we do, no matter how well we’ve placed. It’s been far from perfect, but it doesn’t stop here. Right now, it hurts. But trust me when I say that we’re going to do everything we can to keep pushing. Thank you to the fans. We’ll see you soon.” 

All the best to Limers in the offseason. The team has resilience—and one day, it’ll carry them far.

Still Mo-Motivated

To say that Team Momo has had a difficult time in recent MarbleLympics would be an understatement. From the infamous Fidget Spinner Collision in 2017 to their Bobsleigh woes in 

2018, many hoped that the Momo clan would qualify and have a normal season. They even got a new logo to celebrate, tossing away a logo that many fans reviled as a “stinky green trash bag”. 

The fans were ecstatic during the first event, and held their breath until Mo crossed the finish line in the Underwater Race, never losing hope. But it simply was not Team Momo’s year. The downward spiral of points the team earned in the four events perhaps resembled its downward spiral over the past four years, from earning fourth overall in the 2016 MarbleLympics to missing out on qualifying this year, in 2019, by two places. 

Team Momo initially declined to comment, but we got a call from Momomomo late in the night of 26 January. He sounded tired, perhaps a little sniffly. But I had never heard him more determined: 

“These past two years have been really rough on me. When the medics took me out of the arena, past the view of the fans, and there was a chunk of me missing, I was despondent. I thought I’d never be able to compete again. I couldn’t understand why it had to happen, let alone to me. But life went on. My team put Mimo in, and got three medals that season. Even last year. Team Primary helped us out, and we got two medals. Being part of Team Momo has made me realize something: that I can’t quit when things don’t go my way. So we didn’t qualify this year. That’s not how I wanted things to go, but it’s not going to stop me. And it won’t stop our team from mo-moving forward.” 

We wish Team Momo the best in the offseason, and hope that they will appear in “mo-more” MarbleLympics to come.

Dead Red Redemption

A team with constant fan support in the offseason, Rojo Rollers have been unsuccessful in Qualifiers for the past two seasons, and sadly, this year was no exception. After getting a new logo and being likened to as Mario in the Super Smash Marbles fanart by Instagram artist 

@vinartstudio, Rojo Rollers were thirteen points short of returning to the MarbleLympics for the first time since 2016, a year in which they placed in an impressive sixth place overall. 

Rojo Rollers, admittedly, had a difficult offseason. As the 2018 Sand Marble Rally approached, the new logo for the Rollers was released to the public, displaying a roller skate instead of the traditional red number 3 ball. This disturbed Red Number 3, who thought that the MarbleLympics team was ending its long-standing relationship with him. Rojo Rollers privately met with Red Number 3, assuring him otherwise, and preventing the dissent from reaching the public. 

Needless to say, the confirmation in December that Red Number 3 was not a glass marble ballooned the scale of the controversy and created chaos. In the midst of training for 2019 MarbleLympics Qualifiers, Rojo Rollers had to act quickly and cut its partnership before the team’s reputation was tarnished in relation to Red Number 3. According to Rojo Tres: 

“We had no idea he wasn’t a marble. The drama over this has been astounding, and while we tried to ignore it, we didn’t want to disappoint our fans if they got the impression that we supported fraud. We roll fair and square, except not square, because then we’d be cubes, and cubes aren’t marbles.” 

Best of luck to Rojo Rollers. We hope that Rojo Rollers can move past this difficult offseason and, free of controversy, finally get to focus on the competition they’ve desired to return to for so long.

No-balts

Kobalts, as with Rojo Rollers, have not been in the MarbleLympics since its initial season in 2016, where they placed ninth overall with two silver medals to boot. And while the team replaced half of its members in 2017 with Meepo and Gnome, there seems to be no other reason why Kobalts have not been successful in Qualifiers. The team has had seasons to sync up and 

train together, but it can never seem to synthesize quite right. They also lack experience in Funnel Spinning, an event in which they scored one point in 2017 and one point this year. The team is competent at Block Pushing, as it scored twelve points in 2017 and ten points in 2019, but can never seem to succeed at anything else. 

Kobalts declined to comment. We hope they have a fruitful offseason, one that finally brings the team together to conquer future Qualifiers and MarbleLympics.

Too Tough To Crack

Although its fellow candy team, Chocolatiers, qualified this year after missing the 2018 MarbleLympics, Jawbreakers were unable to replicate such a comeback. Their two silver medals in 2016, landing them in seventh place overall, seemed promising. Their first place in the 2017 Qualifiers Sand Rally event continued this momentum, but it collapsed during the competition later that year when Jawbreakers failed to make the podium. Ending in thirteenth place overall, Jawbreakers were sour. The three former members of the team, Tidbit, Mouthful, and Tongue-Twister, blamed the team’s poor performance on Candy firing and replacing them. Candy’s response? Bitter, to say the least: 

“I was miserable last year [in 2016]. I don’t care how well we placed, you all treated me like I was a cough drop. Sugar, Sweet, and Taffy are all amazing teammates. They listen to me, and no matter what happens, at least we know we’re doing the right thing.” 

Unfortunately, the “right thing” has not bode well for the team, which has now missed two MarbleLympics. We hope that Jawbreakers can find their way and do the right thing in order to return to the MarbleLympics. 

Melted

Though we welcomed Snowballs hosting the 2018 MarbleLympics in the bleak midwinter, we are unfortunately going to miss the team in this year’s competition. One of the more surprising omissions from this year’s roster, after a well-earned seventh place last year, Snowballs seem to have dissolved in the waters of the Oceanics’s home turf. When asked about the stark difference in weather conditions this year, Snowflake noted: 

“It’s something we really tried to prepare against, but we ultimately couldn’t overcome. We know we can do better than that. Maybe if the conditions were fairer…” 

We have no information on whether Snowballs are pursuing legal action against Oceanics and/or the IMC for the event and stadium design. We will report developments as they come forth. Until then, we wish the best to Snowballs and hope they have a chill offseason.

A Fidgety Performance

The team that has rolled under the radar since its formation, perhaps because its name is similar to Savage Speeders in alliteration, Shining Swarm. The team has been notably unsuccessful in Qualifiers for the past two years, despite making it into the 2017 MarbleLympics and earning a gold medal in the Collision event. Shimmer remarked: 

“You know, our fanbase isn’t big. It’s not easy being overshadowed by franchises that are better grounded in the legacy of the MarbleLympics and trying to make your own mark in something as legendary as this competition. We’re a fun bunch and we love what we do. That’s why we were riding the fidget spinners when we were advancing and later won that event. Not everything has to be serious.” 

We appreciate Shining Swarm for taking their own “spin” on the MarbleLympics, and hope to see them again in future years.

Feeling Blue

The team that saved Team Momo last year could not save itself this year. Though its chances of qualifying were already looking slim after the first two events, Team Primary’s fate was sealed when Mary failed to start in the last leg of the Relay Race. The controversy surrounding her blunder will likely continue on in r/Marblelympics for months to come. For now, we hope that our chance to speak to Rima about why she thought the team had a disappointing Qualifiers will suffice: 

“To be honest, things haven’t been easy in the past year. When Team Momo called out for help last year, I was the one to suggest to Prima that we should merge with them. Prima initially denied, saying that a green team like Jungle Jumpers would be better suited to help them, but eventually realized that this would be an opportune chance for us to compete. Prim and I were 

the choice marble athletes to form Team Momary, but the fans wanted Mary to join. So Mary joined. And I was denied the chance to compete.” 

When asked about the merger, Mary shrugged it off, “I mean, it made sense for me to compete. My name is a part of “Momary”, so. It’s only fair.” 

Rima continued. “Imar, Aryp, and I watched from the sidelines as Team Momary got a gold and a silver, and then proceeded to get twelfth overall. We weren’t impressed, to say the least. And we made that known to Prim and Mary when they dissolved the merger in the offseason. Since then, it hasn’t been pretty between the five of us. Who knows if it will ever be.” 

It seems Team Primary is going through some rough patches. We hope its members can move past them and work together.

Conclusion: For Some Teams, But Maybe Not For Others

The hype that surrounds the MarbleLympics each year often obscures the hardships behind the scenes: the difficulty in training to qualify, the struggle in maintaining strong performances, and the challenge of demonstrating excellence, among others. If it was easy, any group of marbles would team up and casually roll past the competition—but it’s not. It takes determination to be involved in any aspect of the MarbleLympics, let alone participate in the main tournament, and it’s admittedly not for everyone. 

Nevertheless, the result has been proven to be worth it; it has been rewarding beyond any marble’s wildest dreams. If these eight teams work hard during the offseason—pushing their capabilities beyond what they have thought possible—they will rediscover those rewards, as they have in MarbleLympics past. 

Limers, Team Momo, Rojo Rollers, Kobalts, Jawbreakers, Snowballs, Shining Swarm, and Team Primary, we implore you not to give up, but to move forward. Learn from this, grow stronger, and be excellent. We’re looking forward to see you competing again. 

Let’s roll. 

Share this post on
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Copyright © 2019 MARBLE SPORTS. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by the JMRC