INDIGO STARS (IND)
Bright Hyu Bubble (Bright Hyu City; ML)
Marble League 2019; Marble League 2021
The Indigo Stars, while maybe not always a formidable opponent, are passionate about what they do, and are a team that should not be overlooked. The team hails from the southern tip of the Indian peninsula and its neighboring island, Isle Hyu. The island is a lush tropical reserve known for its vast array of colored stars, which is a regularly occurring phenomenon unique to the isle. The inhabitants of the region travel frequently to Isle Hyu to hike and bask in its natural beauty, and, at the same time, are sworn to protect the island from over-tourism.
The five Stars and their coach, Ringo, met on a hike on Isle Hyu in 2010, and have been close friends ever since. They all live in the metropolis across from the island, aptly named Bright Hyu City for its bright and colorful city lights, which were designed to artificially recreate the stars in the sky. They travel to the isle at the end of every week, arriving in the evening to see the stars shine in the night sky. In the morning, they embark on a hike around the island and then return to the city.
The team, known as the Purple Stars before 2019, had been training for Marble League 2017 for two years when Coach Ringo abruptly withdrew the team from the Qualifiers due to mental health issues. In their place, Shining Swarm’s application was admitted, and they were able to qualify for the 2017 Marble League instead. Taking a hiatus from training, the team went on hiatus and sought help separately, eventually reuniting to work through their conflicts as a team, within a positive work environment.
Shortly after the conclusion of Marble League 2018, the Purple Stars were contacted by the former IMC and asked if they were looking to compete in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, which would feature all twenty-four teams looking to compete in Marble League 2019. After consulting with the team, Coach Ringo took charge and submitted the team’s bid to compete in the exhibition tournament and be considered for hosting the 2019 Marble League. The team was pleasantly surprised to know that they had made it to the final round of consideration, even if they lost the bid to the Oceanics. They would have hosted the tournament in the Bright Hyu Bubble, a stadium that the Stars constructed in 2016.
The Purple Stars competed for the first time in the Amazing Maze Marble Race, using aliases such as “One star” and “Four star” in the tournament. The team competed in Group F against the Raspberry Racers, Hazers, and Chocolatiers, receiving applause upon being shown at the starting gate on the jumbotron. Although the team got second in the group, they did not move on against the Raspberry Racers due to getting the lowest points of the second-place teams. Regardless, the Stars celebrated their debut performance and continued to train for Marble League 2019. Months later, the team changed their name from the “Purple Stars” to the “Indigo Stars” to match their team uniforms, which were less purple and bluer in color.
On 01 January 2019, the Indigo Stars were accepted into the Marble League 2019 Qualifiers. Later that month, they competed for a spot in their first Marble League, a spot they had been craving for four years. Earning 50 points overall thanks to several top-half finishes, the team qualified sixth out of twelve teams. Returning to Bright Hyu City shortly after the Qualifiers, they were faced with overwhelming support and encouragement from their fans. They trained in their stadium constantly, taking little time off, but felt healthy and ready to compete in the competition they had always dreamed of.
In the preseason, many fans saw them as the potential “dark horses” of the season, citing the popularity of the Green Ducks as overshadowing the Stars’ abilities in the tournament. The team did not pay attention to these theories, instead focusing on what they needed to do. They returned to the Seven Seas Stadium in early April, after taking a short trip to Isle Hyu for good luck.
However, the Indigo Stars were surprised at how competitive the Marble League was. For much of their debut season, the team was in awe of how easy other teams exuded confidence in their performances, while the Stars struggled to keep up. Towards the end of the main tournament, the team finally earned their first medal of the Marble League in the fourteenth event, Surfing. In the second round of heats, Bingo was able to hold on to the surfboard a second longer than Speedy, one of the finest athletes in marble sports, and finished with a score of 50.97 and a bronze medal. Bingo invited the rest of the team members (sans Montoya) to join them on the podium, with the other two teams inviting their members in accordance. After a long season, the Indigo Stars had finally entered the limelight, even if they were out of the running for the championship and the podium. They concluded Marble League 2019 in fourteenth place overall.
The Indigo Stars entered the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers with high hopes of a better year. Unfortunately, the Indigo Stars became the newest victims of the supposed “fourteenth-place curse”, failing to qualify for the main tournament. Their top-half finishes in tenth and ninth during Block Pushing and the 5 Meter Sprint were not enough, and the Indigo Stars finished the Qualifiers in seventeenth overall.
The Indigo Stars found a reason to have hope after the 2020 Showdown, where they earned a bronze medal in the Halfpipe with a combined score of 58.12 seconds. The team cited their Halfpipe course in their training facility as a sign of their success in that event. At the end of the tournament, they advanced to Marble League 2021 Qualifiers in sixth overall, just ahead of Team Primary and the Rojo Rollers.
Despite their performance in the Showdown, the Indigo Stars did not receive an invitation to participate in Marbula One Season 2 nor the Marble League Winter Special. The Stars took their time off to find their grounding as a team and clear their minds. The team even started a conservation effort on Isle Hyu to help protect the isle’s wildlife and natural beauty. The Isle Hyu Conservation Foundation focuses on protecting Isle Hyu’s wildlife and making sure any new developments on the island don’t pollute the area. Much of the team’s unused funding goes to their program, and members of the Isle Hyu communities contribute as much as they can.
Aside from keeping their minds (and Isle Hyu) at peace, the foundation has had other benefits as well. The team met their manager, Mango, at a rally held in the nearby city of Binglyu in late November. They hit it off almost immediately, and it was clear that Mango shared the same ideals as them. Other teams have also joined in to help support their cause, such as the Green Ducks, who traveled to Isle Hyu after their race at the Arctic Circuit to meet with the Indigo Stars and draw media attention to their foundation.
The team came a long way from their 2019 selves, becoming more in-tune with each other and their training performance substantially improved. Indie’s stellar performance and gold in the 2021 Practice Race proved that they could compete with the top teams at a high level. And gaining a group of dedicated fans in the stands, all the way from the city of Minghyu in North America, helped the Stars feel that their impact was global.
With a new sense of confidence, the Indigo Stars placed second in Group B of the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers, advancing to their second main tournament. Earning the first gold of the tournament and setting a new record in the Wave, the team started as well as they possibly could have in what would become the most competitive Marble League yet. Among a mix of top five performances and bottom-half struggles, they earned a silver medal in the Moguls and repeated their fourth-place finish in the Elimination Race.
Locked out of contention for the championship heading into the final event, the Indigo Stars finished Marble League 2021 thirteenth overall with 133 points earned, well above the bottom three teams. Despite not receiving an invite to Season 3 of Marbula One, the team was determined to enjoy their offseason, working hard towards Marble League 2022 Qualifiers.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors Orbitball and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Indigo Stars.