GLIDING GLACIERS (GLI)
Sleet Street (Glidavik; M1)
Marble League 2021 (3rd Place); Marbula One Season 3
The Gliding Glaciers hail from an island city by the name of Glidavik, known for its tiny population and large, towering glaciers. Glide, Glidy, Glace, and Glacie grew up as childhood friends and dreamed of scaling the mountains of ice that separated the town from the rest of civilization. Their hunger for adventure was amplified by the stories they were taught of adventurers sailing across the world and scaling its highest peaks in search of the unknown, and they all promised each other, in their youth, that they would follow that dream for the rest of their lives.
The Glaciers were driven to pursue athletics through their dream to explore the world. All four of the friends attended the University of Snoronto after they graduated high school, where they met Glacier, a history major from Kebearing, a metropolis to the east. Glacier shared the four’s passion for exploration through historical means and became a natural addition to the friend group. The five began hanging out together, training in the same school gym as a marble sports team: the Snowballs.
The two friend groups became rivals, getting caught up in both academic and athletic competitions. It wasn’t long before the two groups had coalesced against each other—the Snowballs versus the Gliding Glaciers—and decided to hold athletic games and tournaments against each other. Stories of curling matches, bobsled races, ice dashes, and more defined the university’s culture and were covered by local and regional news stations.
As temperatures started to cool down between the two teams in becoming more acquainted, Jelle Bakker heard about the competition between the Glaciers and the Snowballs. Because the Snowballs were leading the series at the time, they received a special invitation to the 2016 Marble League.
Both teams graduated following the Spring 2016 term, ending the rivalry naturally. The Snowballs headed to Knikkegen shortly after for the Marble League, while the Gliding Glaciers headed east to Kebearing, beginning their work on an artificial bobsled track. Throughout the summer, the team worked on finalizing the designs and beginning construction. By the time snow had started to fall in the northern north, the Glaciers had completed the course, and they planned to celebrate by holding a friendly round. It was then that they were contacted by Jelle.
“Jelle offered to sponsor the tournament and find teams to compete alongside us. We were ecstatic—how could we say no?” recounted Glide. “The Snowballs were eager to compete and accepted, but no other teams responded. The friendly round became an arctic showdown.”
During the showdown between the two teams, the Gliding Glaciers set a world record of 6.588 seconds on their bobsled course, beating the Snowballs by over a second. The match decided the tournament: the Gliding Glaciers won 3-2, winning bragging rights and, more importantly, a provisional qualifying spot in the 2017 Marble League. Unfortunately for the team, their provisional qualifying spot was revoked following a rejection of their application by the full rules committee, claiming that the team’s uniforms were too similar to those of the Jawbreakers.
As the 2018 Winter Marble League neared, the Gliding Glaciers hoped that they would be selected as the very first hosts of the tournament, but the Snowballs were ultimately chosen for their new stadium, the Arctic Circle. Still, the Glaciers had reason to look forward to the tournament—their application for a qualifying spot had been approved, and this time, reserve members were permitted to compete on the team.
The Gliding Glaciers’ debut in the 2018 Marble League Qualifiers was anything but convincing: with a score of 11 points, the Glaciers were last in their group and failed to qualify. They would miss out on a tournament being hosted across from their hometown of Glidavik.
The team stayed in the stands with the other unqualified teams to watch the main tournament. Although the Snowballs implemented a Bobsled event, they opted to use an outdoor course instead, holding the event outside on their Snowflake Slope.
After the 2018 Winter Marble League, the Gliding Glaciers were invited to participate in all three offseason exhibition events: the Consolation Race, 100 Meter Water Race, and Amazing Maze Marble Race. Glide competed in the first two races, placing dead last in the Consolation Race but third in the 100 Meter Water Race, their best performance yet.
Glide’s bronze medal in the 100 Meter Water Race was thought of as a sign that the best was yet to come. They departed the course feeling conflicted. They were happy that they had finally done so well in an event, and yet…what were they competing for?
The Gliding Glaciers announced their retirement from the Marble League, and all marble sports, with their absence from the Amazing Maze Marble Race. When news organizations reached out to the team for questions, their calls were left unanswered for weeks. It was later reported that the team had disbanded entirely but remained friends, and had embarked on an adventure to explore the entirety of their island.
The five had not entirely ruled out a return to professional sports, but their efforts were focused elsewhere: they joined the acclaimed travel company, Atlas Marbura, in early 2019. They headed the company’s northernmost branch, based remotely in Glidavik, and wrote travel guides for both popular and obscure locations around Marblearth. Later in the year, the former JMRC reached out to the Glidavik branch for a different matter—the artificial bobsled track design from 2016. The five sent the blueprints over, free of charge, to be used in Event 4 of the Marble League Winter Special.
The Gliding Glaciers members may have disbanded before the 2021 Marble League Qualifiers, but the team would live on. The original team members remained close friends and continued to live their lives to the fullest, free of competition. But Glide had another goal, too. Candy, the captain of the Jawbreakers, had called up Glide shortly after the Marble League Winter Special. The team was planning on retiring and wanted to inform the Glaciers of the news first, as they had been rejected by the Marble League in 2017. Glide thanked Candy for the opportunity to take their place but declined at the moment, knowing the original roster of members had moved on with their lives. However, Glide felt conflicted again. Even if the original members of the team were disinterested in competing, was there another way for the Gliding Glaciers to return?
Meeting with Alpine, a member of a team called the Foresters, Glide began rebuilding the Gliding Glaciers’ organization as its coach. With approval from the rest of the original members, Glacie offered to provide a home for the team with their house on Glidavik, and Glide sent Alpine, the newly ordained captain of the Glaciers, there before traveling to recruit Frost, a star athlete on the Valiant Vanillas. Successfully doing so, Glide would also be able to recruit Polar of the Orcas, Iceberg of the eponymous Icebergs, and Sheet, the new reserve. Glide’s crazy dream of recruiting a new Gliding Glaciers team was coming to fruition. Reuniting in Glidavik, Glace offered to manage the team’s finances and travel, which Glide accepted without a second thought.
The Gliding Glaciers boarded their Atlas Marbura plane to Herbotamia, where they would be participating in the Herbotamia Invitational. They would finish the tournament one point behind the Solar Flares, in second overall. To their surprise, this allowed them the opportunity to compete in the 2021 Marble League Qualifiers, and the Gliding Glaciers officially announced that they were coming out of retirement to compete in the Qualifiers later that day.
The Glaciers replaced the Jawbreakers, who were completely retiring from marble sports, in Group A. For the first time in four years, the team would be competing against the Snowballs for a qualifying spot in the Marble League. Facing off against their former rivals in the Wave, the Gliding Glaciers’ fourth in the event and silver in the Sand Rally was enough to advance the team to their first Marble League, technically in their rookie year as athletes.
Starting the tournament with strong finishes in the top half, including their first bronze, the team struggled with consistency throughout Marble League 2021, going from three consecutive basement finishes to earning their second bronze. From there, the Glaciers remained in the bottom of the standings until consecutively earning their first silver and gold, rising into the top half for the first time since the beginning. With their team captain Alpine racing to finish sixth in Marblocross, the Gliding Glaciers finished their debut season on the podium in third overall with 153 points, earning automatic qualification for Marble League 2022.
Following their success in the Marble League, the Gliding Glaciers received an official invitation to compete in Season 3 of Marbula One. Ecstatic to accept their invitation, Coach Glide submitted Alpine, “Mountain Climber” and Iceberg, “Cool Runner” to represent the team in the coming races.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors The Emperor and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Gliding Glaciers.