JUNGLE JUMPERS (JNG)
Lewara Sports Parc (Lewara; ML)
Raceforest (Lewara; ML)
Marble League 2017; Marble League 2019; Marbula One Season 2
The Jungle Jumpers originate from Lewara, a village hidden beyond the South American rainforests, bordered by a river with a lush basin. Hop, Skip, Jump, and Leap grew up admiring the beautiful flora and fauna that lived in the rainforest and relished exploring it daily. One of their favorite pastimes was to scale the treetops and jump to the ground using a wingsuit. Their skills in BASE jumping were praised by the village of Lewara, and the village made sure to include a short segment of their talents in an Atlas Marbura featurette about the village. The segment trended on MarBook upon the release of the featurette, and days later, the BASE jumpers were contacted by agents from the Surculo, asking them to compete in an exhibition race in the city of Numerun.
The four, who adopted the “Jungle Jumpers” moniker to compete in the race, traveled outside of the village for the first time in their lives. Upon arriving in Numerun, they attended a dinner with the other competitors as part of the fundraiser for Colina Umerun. They explored the city late into the night and, as a result, nearly overslept the next morning. The Jungle Jumpers won the tournament to everyone’s surprise, as this was their first time competing in professional marble sports. The strategies needed to coordinate their progress down Colina Umerun were similar to the strategies we use in BASE jumping, helping them to succeed in the exhibition. In celebration of their victory, the Jungle Jumpers were permitted by Numerun officials to go BASE jumping in the modern part of the city. Later that week, they returned home to Lewara, promising fans that they would return.
The next year, the Jungle Jumpers entered the main tournament of the Surculo in the entry league, retiring from BASE jumping. They were joined by the Jawbreakers, Rojo Rollers, Quicksilvers, and Chocolatiers in the coming years, and all five of the teams rose through the ranks to the elite league. In 2015, the Jawbreakers, who considered the Jumpers a formidable rival, won the overall tournament. The Jungle Jumpers placed fourth, and when offered a spot in Marble League 2016, they declined in favor of one more shot at the championship.
Despite a rough start to the season, where the team missed the first event due to a power outage resetting their alarm clocks the night before, the Jungle Jumpers came back, winning the Surculo 2016 Championship over the Quicksilvers. Their strength in the second half of the tournament was unprecedented in Surculo history, as they won several medals in a row. Both teams were asked to participate in the Marble League 2016 Qualifiers the next year, and both teams accepted.
With a breakout moment in Block Pushing, the team had the points that they needed to qualify. But for most of the 2017 Marble League season, it did not seem like they had the training. Prior to their gold medal in Archery, the team’s highest placement in the first nine events of the season was tenth—a ranking they had only achieved twice. They were the last team to compete in Archery, but the Jungle Jumpers excelled, earning their first gold with a bullseye. After earning their first bronze in the next event,the Jungle Jumpers overslept the final event of the Marble League 2017. The team finished their season in fifteenth with 68 points overall.
The team recruited their fifth reserve member, Bounce, from Greshen, a small city known for its studies in ecology and for having the freshest air in the world. The Jumpers trained there in the months leading up to Marble League 2018; in the mornings, they would exercise in the rainforest near the city, working on their speed and endurance. In the evenings, they would go out.
Judgment came for the Jungle Jumpers during 2018 Qualifiers, where they placed seventh in a group of eight, failing to qualify. The Jumpers attended the main tournament and sat alongside the Rojo Rollers, their fellow Surculo competitors who had not competed in the Marble League since 2016. It was then that they realized that they needed to make a change. Jump got in contact with sports professionals from Numerun, who agreed that the team had potential, but needed an overhaul in training. Tarzan joined the team midway through the 2018 season and agreed to coach them starting after the closing ceremony in 2018. They quickly got to work in preparation for the Marble League 2018 Consolation Race, the first of three offseason events organized specifically for Marble League teams.
Their decision to hire Tarzan saved the Jungle Jumpers’ fate, and they began to shift from a team seen as a burnout to one that could return to the Marble League. But even after doing well in the offseason events, the Jungle Jumpers were fully aware of what they had to prove, and it was more than just their ability to compete. Qualifying for Marble League 2019 in fifth overall, the team earned their first medals in years, including two golds and one bronze, to finish seventh overall.
Two days before the Marble League 2020 Qualifiers began, in a village nestled in a river valley and hidden from above by the rainforest canopy, there was finally a screen set up in Lewara’s town square. It was daytime for the Lewarans when the Qualifiers started, as almost every villager rolled out to pack around the screen, so confident they were in the hopes of their hometown team – the Jungle Jumpers.
The story of the Jumpers’ 2020 season started with what happened next. With two thousand of their fans watching from home and hundreds in the stands, team member Leap fell off of the Funnel Endurance course, a moment that could have shifted the team’s trajectory forever. Earning two consolation points after the incident was ruled a track defect, the team fought for the rest of Qualifiers for a spot in the main tournament. There was a four-way tie for the last two spots, and the Jumpers were eliminated off of position countback. They could have qualified for 2020 if Skip bested the Oceanics’ Sea in the Sprint, who was to Skip’s left in the same heat and was at most two lengths quicker.
Between the 2020 Qualifiers and the Marble League 2020 Showdown, most Lewaran fans returned home with the Jumpers and the team fell from the public eye. In Lewara, the Jumpers were still given a hero’s welcome when they drove back. The village chief gave a roaring speech about how the Jumpers will be the fastest, most agile team in the Marble League. All the villagers pitched together to throw great parties for the team, with each athlete treating themselves to numerous meals and drinks over a week. The team going back to Polaria’s Andromedome was a group of seven, including the team’s new manager, Joy, from the bustling city of Koroc. With one of each medal in hand, the Jungle Jumpers finished as runners-up in the Marble League 2020 Showdown – their highest placement ever in a tournament.
Manager Joy revealed a plan for a world-class training facility for the Jumpers, the new Lewara Sports Parc, during the offseason. The plans included a Marbula One track for the team called the Raceforest Circuit, qualifying them for Marbula One Season 2. Coach Tarzan narrated a racer reveal trailer that was viewed millions of times across Marblearth: Hop, “Sky High”, and Skip, “Super Skipper,” jumped out of a plane above the ocean to thumping electronic beats.
Hop, Skip, and Tarzan touched down in Herbotamia on Manager Joy’s jumbo jet, to the sight of reporters all around them. It would be the only shining moment of the season for the team, as they would earn nine points in 12 GPs, finishing last overall with the worst points-per-event average in JMR history.
At home, the team experienced other complications. A forest fire the week before hosting the Raceforest GP caused the team to reflect on the environmental consequences that they had inflicted on what was formerly their quaint hometown of Lewara. Halting any further development other than a new Funnel Tower and an Aquaparc, the team decided to remove their hosting bid for Marble League 2022, and focus instead on preparing for the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers. The Jumpers also prepared a reunion spanning athletes across the world, planning a group skydiving event, swimming in the Lewara River, and having a traditional feast. Jump was also returning from the 2021 Marble League Practice Race, placing 12th out of 28 there. On the same flight with them from Felynia back to Lewara were Rojo Uno, Bonbon, and Candy – all Surculo veterans.
The Jumpers centered their training for Qualifiers around the newly constructed Funnel Tower and what remained of the Lewara Rainforest. Sure enough, Leap redeemed their 2020 showing by winning Funnel Endurance – but the rest of the team could not keep up in the other events. Their seventh-place finish in Group A of the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers meant that the Jungle Jumpers would not compete in the main tournament for the second year in a row. Returning to the Showdown, Leap repeated their success in the Funnel Endurance by earning a bronze, but once again, the Jumpers as a team struggled, finishing eighth overall.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors Fouc, Orbitball, and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Jungle Jumpers.