Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, a series that reflects on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re going to eye up the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, a team that debuted in the 2018 Winter Marble League.
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes are best known not for their appearance in Marble League competitions, but their likenesses that are portrayed in the Marble League logo. The team was personally requested to be featured by Pim Leurs after he settled on the final design.
“It was a true honor to accept,” said Red Eye, the team’s captain. “The photoshoot was a lot of fun, and we even got to meet Jelle himself.”
“I tagged along for emotional support,” remarked Cyan Eye. “It would have been cool to be in the logo, but I’m over it,” he said, glancing behind him as a transparent and black cat’s eye marble rolled past him to be professionally photographed.
All things considered, the Cat’s Eyes would not have been asked to model for the logo if they had not been so successful in marble sports. The team hails from Felynia, a city perched between two rivers in North Africa known for its prestige in film and entertainment. The sand dunes to the east of the city are nicknamed the “Cat’s Dunes” in honor of Crazy Cat’s Eye, a Marble Rally athlete that trains there in solitude. His fans in the city are numerous, but he trains alone in the dry, hot sand, knowing no fan is crazy enough to travel as far into the desert as him.
His fans in the city may be numerous, but only six of them have joined Crazy Cat’s Eye in international marble sports tournaments. The Crazy Cat’s Eyes, inspired by but not affiliated with the Marble Rally athlete, became the only major sports team in Felynia. Each team member hails from a different district in the city, chosen to represent Felynia in marble sports.
“We didn’t know each other at first, no,” confirmed Blue Eye. “I would argue that has made us closer, though.”
Green Eye added, “It’s made us want to get to know each other better.”
The city of Felynia submitted the team to compete in the 2015 Knikkegen Marble League, which had received an influx of applications from around the world. The Cat’s Eyes were accepted into the tournament.
“It was something that was really awesome and scary and wonderful,” Yellow Eye reflected. “We were better at events focusing on accuracy, like Balancing, and team events, like Team Pursuit. Speed was not our strongest suit.”
“I trained them the best I could with what I knew,” White Eye, the team’s coach since 2015, asserted. “We focused on honing our stealth and our speed—two ancient Felyni traditions that ensure the mastery of quick precision in competitions. They weren’t up to speed then.”
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes, after placing eleventh in their rookie season, returned home to Felynia as the 2016 Marble League began, but they continued to train. A year and a half later, the team’s application to qualify for the 2018 Winter Marble League was accepted, and the Crazy Cat’s Eyes left for the Arctic Circle to compete.
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes were sorted into Group A and appeared in the first heat of the 2018 Winter Marble League Qualifiers alongside the Hazers, another rookie team. Blue Eye rolled and stopped right on the button, and her show-stopping accuracy helped the Cat’s Eyes place third in their qualifying debut. Yellow Eye’s third-place finish in the 5 Meter Ice Dash, coupled with two fifth place finishes in the Snow Rally and the Halfpipe, allowed the team to qualify for the main tournament of 2018 Winter Marble League, fourth in their group.
Yellow Eye earned the team’s first bronze medal in the second event, Ski Jump, with a distance of 119,2 centimeters. After placing second-to-last in the Halfpipe, the Crazy Cat’s Eyes proceeded to place sixth thrice in a row, rising to eighth by the midpoint of the 2018 season. Their sixth place streak ended when Red Eye competed in the Snow Rally and placed thirteenth, and the team fell to eleventh overall.
“The 2018 standings weren’t spread that far apart, but we were having a hard time keeping up with everyone else,” Red Eye confessed. “We were in twelfth going into the Biathlon, and we definitely weren’t getting the attention that the Hazers or even the Racers were.”
Of course, the Biathlon was the Crazy Cat’s Eyes’ shining moment in the 2018 season—it was an event that tested both speed, handoffs, and accuracy. The Cat’s Eyes finished with a time of 25,53 and 3 points off the time, not only earning a gold medal but breaking a Marble League record.
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes were one of ten teams that could win the 2018 Marble League going into the final event, where they came in at tenth place. The team remained there as Yellow Eye placed dead last in the Sand Mogul Race, and finished their rookie season with ninety-six points earned.
“I know I could have done better, but I didn’t expect to win,” Yellow Eye indicated. “We always felt behind the competition. There’s always next year!”
They continued to lag behind the competition during the offseason, where Red Eye did not finish the 100 Meter Water Race and the team placed last in the Amazing Maze Marble Race. The Crazy Cat’s Eyes chances of making it into the 2019 Marble League did not seem high.
All of the doubt surrounding the team disappeared completely after the first event of Qualifiers, where Green Eye flexed on her competition with a time of nearly two minutes in Funnel Endurance and placed first of the twenty teams. Even after placing last in Block Pushing, the team dropped only to fourth overall. The Crazy Cat’s Eyes qualified for the 2019 Marble League in third place overall thanks to Blue Eye’s third place finish in the Underwater Race with fifty-four points earned.
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes entered the 2019 season with their eyes on the prize, having specialized in team events and honing their accuracy through stealth training. Blue Eye began the season where she left off, placing ninth in the Underwater Race. Coach White Eye put Yellow Eye in for Funnel Endurance instead of Green Eye, who was training for the 5 Meter Sprint. Unfortunately, Yellow Eye was not able to replicate his teammate’s success, placing fourteenth and dropping the team to twelfth overall.
The team quickly turned around their fortunes in three events, medaling thrice in a row. The Cat’s Eyes’ first medal came in a team event that focused on accuracy—Balancing, an event that they had not officially competed in nearly five years. That seemed to mean nothing for the team, though, as Green Eye and Yellow Eye coasted to the green zone at the end and broke the Rojo Rollers’ four year old record. The team held on to the provisional lead, with a score of 351, until the Thunderbolts and Hazers surpassed the record—but the Crazy Cat’s Eyes remained on the podium to earn a bronze medal.
They “would not be denied” in the fourth event, Gravitrax Slalom, as Greg Woods put it. The event, much like the Biathlon, was an ideal combination for the Crazy Cat’s Eyes: a team pursuit focusing on speed and tested on Gravitrax, which is actually the team’s preferred track to train on. The Cat’s Eyes earned their first gold of the 2019 Marble League in a decisive victory against the Raspberry Racers, Jungle Jumpers, and Green Ducks in the final—figuratively scratching, tearing, and ripping apart their competition, as the message on the jumbotron alluded.
The grand finale of the Crazy Cat’s Eyes’ three event charge came in the 5 Meter Sprint, which Green Eye competed in after missing Funnel Endurance. Coach White Eye’s decision paid off, as the sprinter snuck into the final after placing second in both her heat and her semifinal, and earned a bronze medal with a time of 6,238 seconds. At the end of the fifth event, the Crazy Cat’s Eyes rose comfortably to fourth place in the standings.
The Cat’s Eyes remained a constant in the top half of the standings for most of the remainder of the season, remaining around fifth and sixth besides some finishes in the lower middle of the pack. Some of the team’s best finishes were in Block Pushing, where they placed sixth, and the Elimination Race, where Red Eye earned the team’s third bronze medal of the season in a nail-biting finale. With three events to go and four medals to their name, the team was in position to claim the prize.
If their last three events were anything to go by, though, (which they indubitably were) it seemed that the Crazy Cat’s Eyes had lost sight of the competition. Red Eye competed in Surfing, the event immediately following his bronze medal, and placed dead last, highlighting an unusually tone deaf roster decision by the coach. The team’s momentum all but evaporated after this, as does the rain in the hot desert of the Cat’s Dunes, and the Crazy Cat’s Eyes finished the 2019 Marble League in eleventh overall after two more finishes in the bottom of the standings.
For all the talk of the Oceanics’ collapse, the Crazy Cat’s Eyes had one of the worst streaks in Marble League history in their last three events. On their journey back to Felynia, the many fans that went along with the team grumbled all the way through. How could their team blow a chance at the Marble League podium like that? How could they follow up a last-place finish in the sand moguls with a second-to-last showing in the sand rally? And how can this team carry on the legend of Crazy Cat’s Eye when the athletes seem to dry up at the sight of sand?
The topic of their sand performance was clearly touchy for Red Eye. “We look up to Crazy Cat’s Eye so much. If it wasn’t for his influence on marble sports, we would not have been chosen to compete. That said, we are always looking to improve our performance in the Marble League and I personally don’t think it’s fair to compare our skills in sand events to his.”
More than ever, the Crazy Cat’s Eyes were rarely seen during their practice sessions. Red Eye, a celebrity around town, was not seen for many months, even as the marble world kept their sights on Marbula One. That was when a rumor started to spread. Some of the Crazy Cat’s Eyes athletes were seen rolling to the east, heading straight for the Cat’s Dunes…
In RetRollSpective, the Crazy Cat’s Eyes are the masters of some trades, but not the jack of them all. They perform best as a team, where they are able to connect with each other in the way that they have always wanted to—together. With hope, their good fortune in previous Qualifiers will carry them to the 2020 Marble League, but they need more points than fortune in order to do better. Best of luck to the Crazy Cat’s Eyes in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, keep on rolling!
Thank you to Foucaulf for helping craft the lore for the Crazy Cat’s Eyes!