This post contains spoilers for the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers. Proceed at your own risk!
After months of waiting to see which teams would compete in the 2020 Marble League, we finally know the sixteen teams that have qualified, including the four that prequalified at the end of the 2019 Marble League and the twelve that competed in the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers. And now that we know, the 2020 Marble League is just around the corner, premiering tomorrow! All of the teams are already in Polaria, and tomorrow, it will be time to light the torch in the Andromedome.
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 rookie teams, the Hornets and the Bumblebees, to five-time veterans such as Team Galactic, these sixteen teams all have something unique to bring to the games, and they have brought their all in order to secure their spot.
Regardless, there is a certain tragedy that comes with the passing of the Qualifiers each year. There are sixteen spots in the Marble League each year, meaning that if more than twelve teams are seeking to compete, there will be cuts. This has been the case since 2017, when the first Qualifiers were held, and the 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. In 2019, the JMRC established the current system of relegation, and in addition to the Limers and Team Momo missing their first Marble League, the Limers, Turtle Sliders, Kobalts, and Shining Swarm did not advance to this year’s Qualifiers from the 2019 Showdown.
This year saw a mixture of teams get cut after the four qualifying events. 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 2020 Marble League, 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.
Although Team Primary improved remarkably from their appearance in 2019 Marble League Qualifiers, they unfortunately will be missing out on the main tournament for their third time in a row. It is an especially difficult revelation considering that Primary placed fourth in the Showdown and seventh in Marbula One’s team championship. They, like the Snowballs, were on the verge of redemption, but they were ultimately squared off by two unfortunate results—an eighteenth place in the Funnel Endurance and a narrow loss to Bonbon of the Chocolatiers in the 5 Meter Sprint. Team Primary failed to qualify despite tying with Team Momo and the Bumblebees in points, due to Mo’s gold medal in the Funnel Endurance and the Bees’ silver in Balancing.
The biggest disappointment surrounding Team Primary, however, is their performance in Funnel Endurance, where Coach Secondary put in the athlete that made the most sense: Mary.
“Everyone expected me to be the slowest. And yes, I know about all of the memes.” Mary acknowledged. “I’m not turning into a cube.”
“The thing with Funnel Endurance is that you have to keep moving to stay in the funnels,” noted Rima. “Mary wasn’t doing that. She fell pretty easily through the hyperbolic funnels with little momentum to keep her ahead of everyone.”
At the time of writing, rumors are swirling that Team Primary is changing its captain to Prim, who placed fourth in Marbula One’s racer championship. Regardless of what happens, best of luck to them in the 2020 Marble League Showdown.
The results of this year’s Qualifiers proved to be historic, as they warranted a tiebreaker to determine who would move on to the 2020 Marble League. It wasn’t just a two-way tie, but double that—an unprecedented four-way tie. The tie was broken by counting back the highest placement in the four teams’ individual events. The Jumpers’ highest placement was fourth, just eight thousandths of a second down from the podium and a qualifying spot.
To glorify the Jungle Jumpers’ qualifying performance and claim that the team was “robbed” is arguable. The team was never in a qualifying position, even after a definitive eighth placement in Block Pushing, due to their less-than-impressive fifteenth place in Balancing. However, the true source of controversy surrounds Leap’s fall from the Funnel Endurance course, which caused her to DNF. The JMRC granted the Jumpers two consolation points for what they determined was a track defect, which was consistent with their rulings in the 2019 Marble League. Still, fans questioned whether it was enough—and the team agreed.
“Thankfully, I only have minor injuries—but it’s the principle that I’m most disappointed about,” Leap stated. “The ‘elite’ of marble sports should be the ‘elite’ of sports safety standards, and the Marble League absolutely needs to do better.”
Best of luck to the Jungle Jumpers in the 2020 Marble League Showdown.
The Snowballs, following an impeccable first season in Marbula One and victory in the 2019 Marble League Showdown, were on the verge of redemption. They were ready to bounce back from their disappointing performance in the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers and return to the main tournament. They were three events into the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers, and they were in a comfortable seventh place overall. As far as they were concerned, they had made it.
The starting gate lifted in the 5 meter sprint, but Snowflake lost her balance early on and was out of sorts all the way down. The captain of the Snowballs placed dead last in the event, and the team fell to fourteenth overall.
“I am so embarrassed,” Snowflake admitted, as her voice began shaking. “It was just like Marbula One…I just couldn’t do as well as Snowy. I know I’m the reason we didn’t qualify this year, and I will never forgive myself for that.”
Will Snowflake relinquish her role as team captain? Will Coach Blizzard be blasted for putting Snowflake into an event she wasn’t suited for? That remains to be seen. Until then, best of luck to the Snowballs in the 2020 Marble League Showdown.
The Chocolatiers lived up to their name in Qualifiers—and not in a good way. The team didn’t necessarily choke during the four events, but they also didn’t post consistent results after Cocoa did relatively well in the Funnel Endurance. This led to an overall choke, as the team will be missing out on another chance to set new Marble League records…although the door is always open for them to sell their homemade chocolate in the Andromedome.
While the question remains whether the team will consider switching their team captain back to Cocoa for the Showdown, the fact also remains that the Chocolatiers’ mediocrity is not forgiven by Qualifiers. Best of luck to them in the 2020 Marble League Showdown.
The Indigo Stars did not qualify this season, leaving the Green Ducks as the only team that debuted in 2019 to have perfect attendance. The Stars worked hard during training, but they struggled the most with Balancing, an event that they also did poorly in during the 2019 Marble League. Their score of 270 wasn’t enough to get them the points they needed to qualify, even after earning ten points in the 5 Meter Sprint.
The Stars declined to give an interview, but one can only imagine their disappointment after working so hard to enter the Marble League in the first place. The Indigo Stars will truly be missed, in a space-themed tournament, no less. Best of luck to them in the 2020 Marble League Showdown.
The Jawbreakers are a team that continues to have some of the worst team synergy in sports, while Candy continues to carry the team. His fourth place in Funnel Endurance proves that Candy is a quality solo athlete, but the rest of the team really does seem to drag him down.
“Things just aren’t the same as they were in 2016, and who knows if they will ever be,” Tidbit remarked. “Candy may get along with Sugar, Sweet, and Taffy, but they don’t compete well as a team. There was something about the contrasting personalities of Candy, Mouthful, Tongue-Twister and I that made us want to work harder for the gold.”
Though it’s unlikely that Candy will ever recruit his ex-teammates to return to the team, he may not have a choice, especially if the Jawbreakers cannot get their act together for the Showdown. Regardless, best of luck to them.
For a team comprised of former mathematics professors, it’s become very hard to count on the Rojo Rollers in the Marble League. The Rollers debuted in sixth in the first season of the Marble League, and they even earned the first gold medal in the history of the tournament…in an event that they can no longer compete in.
Truth be told, the Rojo Rollers could afford a less-than-desirable result in Balancing as long as they did well in the three other events—but their last place score of 208 killed the team’s momentum. Even with a ninth place in Block Pushing, the Rojo Rollers could not recover in the other two events. Once again, they’ve failed to qualify for their fourth Marble League in a row.
Will their fifth Qualifier be the charm for the team? The Rojo Rollers might be able to count on that, as long as the Showdown or next year’s Qualifiers don’t offer Balancing as an event. The team did very well in the 2019 Marble League Showdown, so best of luck to them this year.
The Pinkies…are a basement team. This isn’t news. However, they have historically done well at Qualifiers. In fact, the team won the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers despite placing last in the 2016 Marble League, and had yet to miss a Marble League…until now.
Yes, the Pinkies have soiled their perfect attendance record with a demonstration that was anything but perfect. While their last place in Qualifiers this year turned out better points-wise than Team Primary last year…they also never placed above thirteenth. If the Pinkies were putting on a play, it would have been a tragedy in five acts, starting in 2016 and ending here.
There might be a silver lining to this, though. The Pinkies have seldom been successful in the main tournament of the Marble League, but is the Showdown better suited for the team’s strengths in strategy and uncharted territory? It’s quite possible that the Showdown may finally be the opportunity for their pinky power to shine. In that regard, best of luck to the Pinkies in the 2020 Marble League Showdown.
The hype that surrounds the Marble League 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 Marble League, 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 and do well in the Showdown—pushing their capabilities beyond what they have thought possible—they will rediscover those rewards, as they have in Marble Leagues past.
Team Primary, Jungle Jumpers, Snowballs, Chocolatiers, Indigo Stars, Jawbreakers, Rojo Rollers, and Pinkies: 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 compete again.