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 16 of the 2020 Marble League!
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes ended their most successful season yet by not falling apart in the final few events—although that did seem to be the case early on in this event as Red Eye crashed behind in the qualifying race. With no safety marbles to get them going again, Red Eye remained there until the rest of the athletes circled around the Stardust Accelerator, pushing them back into the fray, albeit one lap behind. They finished last.
“It was a really quick crash, and I was dazed. Before I knew it, I couldn’t catch up. I thought I could have even been injured, but after doing a quick check, I was cleared to race in the Marathon…and I was really grateful to the JMRC and the Marble League coaches for granting me fifth position.”
In a historic decision, the sixteen coaches of the teams put in a motion to start Red Eye from fifth position in the final race, and the motion, approved unanimously by the JMRC, went into effect immediately. During the marathon itself, Red Eye stayed in the top half for most of the race, only falling as low as eleventh overall early in the race, and rose as high as second before finishing in third overall.
The Crazy Cat’s Eyes ended their most successful season yet by not only placing fifth overall but by being confirmed as the hosts for the 2021 Marble League, meaning that they have prequalified for the first time in their career. There has never been a better time to be a fan of the Crazy Cat’s Eyes than right now.
Mellow Yellow has had a very rough season, even after earning three medals—but it was the results of this event that finally lifted them out of the basement.
Of the three teams that reached the podium, only Mellow Yellow competed in the inaugural season of Marbula One, where they placed tenth. Their top ten placement was due in part to Yellup’s bronze medal in the Greenstone Grand Prix, which they earned after claiming pole position in the Qualifier. Knowing what they had to do to have a fighting chance in this event, Yellup took advantage of the reverse standings order used to start the qualifying race, remaining towards the front of the pack and qualifying in fourth position.
From there, they led the race itself for nearly ten laps, losing the lead to Wospy in the tenth lap but regaining it in the next lap. From there, they continued to hold the lead by several lengths until they were passed in the sixteenth lap, and by the twentieth lap, they could not catch up to the eventual gold medalists of the Marathon.
The end of Mellow Yellow’s season comes with a catch, though: they have placed in an elusive fourteenth overall. No team that has ever placed in fourteenth at the end of a season has made it past Qualifiers again: the Snowballs, Team Primary, Limers, and Indigo Stars can all attest to this. It looks like the team will have to do a lot of training—and hoping—to break this “curse”.
Although they were shut out of winning the 2020 Marble League after the penultimate event and got last position during the qualifying race, the Minty Maniacs were not deterred.
“We still had one job to do,” insisted Minty Fresh. “Were we heartbroken that we came so close to winning this tournament and couldn’t get there? A little bit—but with one event to go, we knew we had one more shot at having the most funds donated in our name to marbles in need. Winning this event meant more to us than anything else.”
Minty Fresh, in a burst reminiscent of the Savage Speeders’ climb in the standings from last to first, rose from their last qualifying position to the front of the pack, and ran away with the lead, finishing turns ahead of Yellup, Red Eye, and the rest of the racers. The Minty Maniacs became the first team to earn four golds in one season since the Speeders’ 2016 debut and Minty Fresh themselves became the first athlete to win individual two golds in one season since Starry in 2017. As a result, the Minty Maniacs succeeded in their mission to have the most funds donated in their name to food banks around the world.
Miss Minty, a JMRC member, praised the Maniacs’ success: “I cannot be more proud of the year the Minty Maniacs have had. Most people had completely written them off when they almost didn’t make it to the qualifiers after coming out of retirement. Thanks to a lot of hard work during the off-season, they were able to come back and prove to everyone to never underestimate an underdog team!”
All good things must come to an end, and the 2020 Marble League reached its natural conclusion yesterday. The Savage Speeders became Marble League champions for the second time in their career with a remarkable comeback season, while the O’rangers and Minty Maniacs finished closely behind them. Each team had their own podium moments that culminated there: with the trophy handed to the victors and a shower of glitter adorning the final podium of the season. It was a beautiful ending to the best Marble League yet, thanks to Royal Stardust, John Rolliver, Jelle, JMR Staff, the JMRC, the teams, and, most importantly, you, the readers and fans that support us!
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 season, keep on rolling!
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