Hello and welcome to “Podium Moments”, a series that discusses the performance of the three athletes or teams that place on the podium after a competition. Today’s article will cover the three teams that finished on the podium for Event 3 of the 2020 Marble League!
After practically shutting down in the first two events, Whizzy has turned around the Savage Speeders’ season, earning their first medal of the 2020 Marble League. The Speeders have risen from the bottom of the standings to eleventh overall after an event that they won in 2019, showing promise, if not redemption. How were they able to do so well, though, if this event isn’t about being the fastest?
As Rima correctly noted in an interview following Team Primary’s disqualification, “The thing with Funnel Endurance is that you have to keep moving to stay in the funnels.” Funnel Endurance is an event that depends on speed in a rather unique manner from other events; it requires athletes to maintain speed while spinning in the funnels to avoid falling through the tower. The event isn’t about finishing the fastest, but it is about being the fastest in an effort in restraint of being eliminated, and Whizzy understood that. Although they could not replicate Speedy’s gold medal from last year, Whizzy came very close, so close, in fact, that they could have earned the gold had Whizzy not collided with the marble that would earn the silver.
While it is still far from certain whether the Speeders will win the 2020 Marble League, one thing is for certain: they are out of the basement, and their chances of returning there are low. Never count out the Savage Speeders.
The Savage Speeders’ second wind wasn’t the only redemption in this event. Kinnowin was tasked with redeeming Clementin from their DNF in the 2019 Funnel Race, which caused the O’rangers to drop to last in the standings overall. After winning the first heat and setting the best time overall of both heats, it was clear that Kinnowin had already redeemed their team’s 2019 performance.
With Kinnowin’s silver medal in Funnel Endurance, the O’rangers not only maintained their second place in the overall standings—they officially passed the Savage Speeders in points earned throughout nearly five seasons of the 2020 Marble League. The O’rangers are the first team to overtake the Speeders this season, although it remains to be seen if this change will remain constant throughout 2020, lest the Speeders reclaim their tile.
Regardless, with two medals earned in three events, the O’rangers are shaping up to be one of the few original Marble League teams that are in contention for the championship. Will they remain this strong throughout the season?
If there was any reason to doubt the Minty Maniacs in events past, those reasons have all but vanished now. They are the top team in the Marble League right now, fourteen points clear of the O’rangers in second overall, and they show little signs of letting up.
Like the previous two events, Funnel Endurance also has a history with the Hubelino Tournament, debuting in the tournament’s inaugural season, which means that the Minty Maniacs also have a history with the funnels. They earned silver medals in both 2016 and 2018, losing to the now-retired Black Jacks both times. The Maniacs also showed their experience with funnel spinning in the 2019 Showdown’s version of the event, where they also earned a silver medal. After so many silver medals, you would think that the Minty Maniacs would have been complacent with earning just one more silver medal. Why bother going the extra kilometer?
“Well, we want to win!” exclaimed Minty Hint in a post-event interview. “Nothing will beat the moment that John Rolliver came into our training room to present the check to the food bank in our name. He said that he was not only impressed with our performance, but our drive to help those in need. That meant so much to us.”
“I was initially unsure that Coach Hint put me in for the event. I hadn’t competed in funnels since the 2018 Hubelino Tournament,” Minty Drizzel admitted. “But I had trained for this event, and once I got to the finals, let alone the final funnel, I knew what I had to do.”
Funnel Endurance has become a classic event for the Marble League—one that can be just as tactical as it can be unpredictable. The MaBoRun green funnels—specifically requested by King Stardust for inclusion—make this event even harder to master, but the Savage Speeders, O’rangers, and Minty Maniacs were able to do so. That is no small feat.
In conclusion, it is indeed a milestone to see three teams at the end of each Marble League event stand above the rest, because they—through months of training in the offseason, working to qualify, and dealing with the unquestionable presence of fortune that affects any sporting event—have preserved and put their best roll forward. They deserve their “podium moment”, but more than anything, they deserve their chance to shine.
Until next time, keep on rolling!