An Exciting Escape: The Marble League

Do you need a break from politics and the disagreements that come with party affiliations? Do you want sporting events that can’t be postponed or cancelled and are available to watch at your leisure? Do you long for an activity that will excite your time in quarantine?  Does all of this sound too good to be true, considering we are in the midst of a pandemic? Well, look no further than the sensation of the Marble League.

The Marble League, originally called the Marble Games, was founded by Jelle Bakker from the Netherlands, who has autism but also has a passion for marbles. According to Reddit, the marble runs on Bakker’s YouTube channel started in 2006 when he commissioned marble machine runs releasing a thousand marbles until the lever gave out and the mechanism tipped over.  

After making videos with the machine marbles from 2010 to 2015, Bakker started making organized marble races. In 2015, he commenced the marble races with the 750 feet Sand Marble Rally. This became more popular on his channel, so he asked on social media platforms for name suggestions for the marble “athletes,” and he came across Greg Woods. Woods is a project specialist for the Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and has a lot of commentating experience at Drake University in men and women’s basketball and football, according to Iowa Career for Advancement.

Bakker then expanded from just the one event to the actual Olympic games of Marblelympics. This started the tournament era for Bakker. He then accidentally deleted his YouTube channel with 630,000 subscribers after trying to delete his Google+ account.  He recovered most of his subscribers after explaining his conundrum on social media and posting the Marblelympics 2019 qualifier.  

The name changed to Marble League after one of Bakker’s segments appeared on ESPN2, as ESPN didn’t want to be sued because of the Olympic name in the segment.  Early in the pandemic, people flocked to the marble league with everyone being sent home and sports put on hold.

There are many teams to root for, and there seems to be one for everyone’s liking in regard to names and colors. My favorite team is the Chocolatiers because they reminded me of Hershey Park, which is located an hour from my house and is the sweetest place on Earth. Christopher Rose, a Marble League fanatic, says Team Primary is the best. 

However, the sport is dominated by two teams: The Savage Speeders and O’Rangers.  They both have impressive resumes, with The Savage Speeders owning the Marble League 2016 champion title and Marble League runner-up in 2017 and 2018.  They hold the most Marble League golds, medals  and second most cumulative points.  The O’Rangers have impressive accolades as well, as they own the 2017 Marble Games title, most Marble League records  and most cumulative points. They also own the largest fanbase and remarkable consistency in the top half of the Marble League standings, according to Reddit.com.  

There are many events, close finishes and wild occurrences that makes the Marble League so much fun to watch.  I remember watching one event in which marbles from the audience stormed the place where the competition was occurring, and some of the athletes were injured. In the championship matches and qualifier matches, there are plenty of nail-biting finishes, including some that need photo evidence and time checks to see who won. Some of the events in the league include balancing, the halfpipe, five-meter hurdles, triathlon, relay run, collision and high jump according to fandom.com.

Right now, Marbula 1 is being contested, which is based on Formula, as the Marble League is currently in the off season.

The next time you see a sporting event cancelled, are stuck in quarantine or flustered by the political news of the day, tune into the Marble Games on YouTube and enjoy the action of the competing marble teams.