RetRollSpective – Turtle Sliders

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, a series that reflects on the history of marble athletes. This time, we’re going to focus on the Turtle Sliders, a team that debuted in the 2019 Marble League Showdown.

The logo for the Turtle Sliders, designed by Tim Ritz.

The Turtle Sliders are one of the newest teams in the Marble League, but they have an old and storied history competing against the Oceanics in the Seven Seas Circuit. Shelly, the only original member of the team remaining, was key in outsmarting many of the other teams in the circuit and standing up to the Oceanics. Shelly’s skills in endurance and longevity helped them to remain active after many of their old teammates retired from sports. But it was also their drive to compete.

            “I’m a visionary and an idealist,” Shelly proudly proclaimed. “It is my creed. I always believe that we’re going to take that next step, that we’re going to be as excellent as we want to be. We will get there.”

The Sliders never beat the Oceanics in the Seven Seas Circuit, but they came close in 2015, placing second in the final race and third overall. When the Oceanics left the Circuit, however, many of the original members lost interest.

            “It made sense to me,” Shelly accepted. “They felt like they had lost a sense of porpoise—I mean, purpose. Sorry. But I never lost that passion, and my hope was that I could inspire other athletes to do the same.”

Shelly began recruiting for new additions to the team in mid-2018, traveling throughout the region to cities like Aslipi, Jamarbla, and Mellacai. They met dozens of athletes who shared their passion to compete on a professional level, perhaps even in the Marble League. In the end, Shelly reformed the team with Crush, Squirt, Dash, Frank, and Splint, the team’s original coach, being the new faces of the Turtle Sliders.

The original logo for the Turtle Sliders, designed by FamousOlSpiced.

Crush, who was recruited from Aslipi, used to compete in the minor league to the Turtle Sliders, the Hatchling Skidders. After retiring from sports, they went into acting and was featured in “a gritty crime documentary about a colorful fish getting kidnapped”, according to the Non-Descript Entertainment Company. Crush was convinced to join the Sliders by their younger sibling, Squirt, who had always looked up to Crush’s leadership in the Skidders, and was followed by Frank, who became the team’s reserve.

            When asked what relation they had to the other members of the team, Frank shrugged. “I dunno. I just joined the minor league and I vibe pretty well with Squirt. If I’m going to be frank, though, the reason I really joined is because I love the ocean.”

Dash, who was recruited from Jamarbla, was a key addition to the Sliders, as they were a rising star athlete in the city for their “extreme speed trials” that they would post on MarBook. Dash’s huge fanbase translated to the Sliders, who began supporting the revival of the team and requesting their presence in the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers.

Splint, the team’s original coach, was living in Mellacai when Shelly contacted them about the Sliders’ reunion. Their response was anything but out-of-character: “It wouldn’t be the first time that I whip some lazy, pizza eating, no good, turtles back into shape. I will turn these turtles into a force to be reckoned with, just you wait.”

We all love a good flowchart, unless we're a fan of one of the bottom four teams.

The Turtle Sliders began training that fall in Aslipi, and were hard at work training for the 2019 Seven Seas Circuit in the spring when they received news of the Marble League Showdown, which featured a fan vote component to determine two of the twelve spots in the tournament. The Sliders received overwhelming support from their fans to apply, and they cited from their previous rivalry with the Oceanics to attract attention.

            “But we are coming for you, we will not stand in your shadow, we are here to take it all. Our goal is to make it to the Marble League and win it all–we made it this far, we aren’t gonna stop now. We WILL make it to the starting line next to you, and when we do, you better be prepared. Your past is catching up to you.”

Their classic logo, used in the Seven Seas Circuit, was praised in addition to the team’s reunion story. There was ultimately no reason why the Turtle Sliders weren’t capable of doing well in the fan vote, and in the end, they finished second, securing a spot in the 2019 Marble League Showdown and a path towards facing off against the Oceanics again.

"We choose what holds us back and what rolls us forward." ~Coach Splint

As they trained for the Showdown, the Turtle Sliders focused on honing their own team synergy for Collision, where they would need to stick together and away from the edges. It was a strategy that worked out for them in performance, as they finished fifth after a quarterfinal loss. The other three events, though, were not as kind to the rookie team. Squirt finished ninth in the Sand Rally, struggling to reach the top four after getting caught behind a gaggle of competitors. Dash fell through the final two funnels after leading for much of Funnel Endurance, placing tenth.

The Turtle Sliders were tied for tenth place with the Kobalts with one event to go—Balancing. Although the Turtle Sliders had trained for Balancing, their nerves got the best of them during the event, and they finished with a score of 207 centimeters. It was not enough.

Sliders fans were understandably disappointed, but they did not abandon their team at their lowest.

“We weren’t ready, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be ready next year,” Crush, the team’s captain, promised. “This year was just a bad year for the seven seas.”

In RetRollSpective, the Turtle Sliders are perhaps too new, which means two things: that they need more training and that the fans should not be quick to judge their potential. With Shelly’s vision and Crush’s leadership, they may be shore—I mean, sure—to shock their competition in the future, especially if it’s the Oceanics. Best of luck to the Turtle Sliders in the 2020 Marble League Showdown, keep on rolling!

       Thank you to FamousOlSpiced for creating both the Turtle Sliders and the lore surrounding the team!

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