ROJO ROLLERS (ROJ)
Rojo Uno (Captain)
Rojo Oro (Coach)
Rojo Macho (Manager)
Rollerdome (Numerun; ML)
Marble League 2016; Marbula One Season 1; Marble League 2021
Never the paradigm of consistency, the Rojo Rollers hail from the outskirts of Numerun and once worked in the modern city center, which encircles the historical center of Numerun Antigua. The five team members were all familiar with each other from the workplace, where they were mathematicians at competing universities. They formally met each other during the city’s Milenaria, which was celebrated in Numerun Antigua. The universities decided to go together in a historic academic event, grouping together departments of various schools on the trip. After getting to know each other throughout the day and making several bad math puns, the five marbles went down the famous Colina Umerun, one after the other, and regrouped at the bottom. Amazed at the opportunity, Rojo Uno hoped their colleagues would share the same excitement, and in time, they each admitted their passion for the race and dreams of competing in marble sports.
Rojo Uno, Rojo Dos, Rojo Tres, and Rojo Cuatro stepped away from their jobs the following semester and began to seek training. Luckily for them, Numerun was the host city for the Surculo, the most popular marble sports tournament west of Marblopolis. They quickly found a trainer, and in 2012, entered the Surculo.
Rojo Cinco remained at their job to complete a second doctorate in sports medicine. During their time at university, they came across Red Number 3, who was completing their master’s degree in sports medicine. The two became friendly in class upon finding out that they were both interested in the Surculo.
The Rojo Rollers, named for the red adobe homes of Numerun Antigua, started poorly in the Surculo, placing in the bottom half of their first tournament. The Rollers were not deterred, however, and in 2013, they improved, finishing exactly in the middle of the competition. In 2014, their margin of improvement was significant, and they earned a wild card spot in the elite league. Even though the stakes rose in 2015, the Rojo Rollers, steadfast in their passion and skill, improved still and finished as runners-up to the Jawbreakers after the tournament.
With the announcement of the Marble League, Greg Woods extended an invite to the leading teams of many regional marble sports tournaments. This included the top three teams of the 2015 Surculo, which were the Jawbreakers, the Rojo Rollers, and the Quicksilvers. The Jawbreakers and Rojo Rollers accepted while the Quicksilvers declined in favor of one more attempt at the Surculo Championship. The Jungle Jumpers, who placed fourth, also declined the invite, so the Chocolatiers, who placed fifth, were the third team accepted.
The Rojo Rollers entered Marble League 2016 as well as they possibly could have, earning the first gold medal in the tournament’s history in the Balancing event. Their points record, at 347 centimeters, lasted until the Crazy Cat’s Eyes broke it in Marble League 2019. The team earned one point during the Relay Race due to the malfunction on the top track, then placed last during Collision but made up for it in the Sand Rally when Rojo Uno earned a silver medal. However, the Water Race proved problematic for the team, and their performance was disqualified due to Rojo Cuatro allegedly blocking another team. The Rojo Rollers lost three points as a result of this.
The team unsuccessfully appealed the decision and worked harder through the coming events, their effort paying off with Rojo Dos’s gold in the High Jump. For the second time in seven events, the Rojo Rollers were at the top of the standings. Unfortunately, the Rojo Rollers only earned one point during the last events of the season, finishing Marble League 2016 in sixth place with 30 points. Had the team not been disqualified, the Rojo Rollers would have finished fifth overall.
The Rojo Rollers’ return to the Marble League 2017 Qualifiers proved to be a continuation of the downturn they experienced in the latter half of 2016, as they finished last with only four points. Out of the four original teams who failed to appear in a second consecutive season, the Rojo Rollers were arguably the most surprising on the list. The team had been in the top four of the standings in all but the final two events during Marble League 2016. In the 2017 Qualifiers, their performance was almost the exact opposite.
While the Rojo Rollers experienced their first extended offseason, they entered into an official partnership with rising Sand Marble Rally star Red Number 3, who hailed from Bifornya, a village outside of Numerun. As a part of the partnership, Rojo Cinco finally joined the Rojo Rollers as their “rojo-serve” and the team traveled to Doornse Gat to support Red Number 3 in the 2017 Sand Marble Rally. The team became very close with them, even including Red’s likeness in their logo, and began training together.
With “cinco” members on the team now, the Rollers competed in Group A of the Marble League 2018 Qualifiers, winning the first event, Curling, and taking second in the final event, Halfpipe. Unfortunately, the Rojo Rollers failed to qualify with subpar finishes in the other two events, fifth in their group with just 19 points to their name. The Balls of Chaos, who missed Marble League 2017 along with the Rollers, qualified at the top of their group. The Snowballs were already hosting Marble League 2018, making the Rojo Rollers and the Kobalts the first two teams to miss two Marble Leagues in a row.
Suffice it to say that the team was disappointed, but they decided to remain together. The team initially planned to return to their universities for a semester to teach but decided against doing so, instead, hosting a joint conference about their experience in the Marble League that broke records for the largest attendance in academic conference history. It was clear that, despite not being in the Marble League for so long, the Rojo Rollers still had a dedicated fanbase, especially in their home city. Additionally, with the help of Red Number 3, the team began construction of a training facility and marble sports stadium, located in the city of Numerun. This stadium was submitted as an option to host Marble League 2019 but was not chosen.
The Rollers’ performance in two of the three offseason events was moderate at best. However, in the Marble League 2018 Consolation Race, Rojo Uno would have an excellent run, and after leaping onto the finish line, won the race. The team showed promise, but doubt was cast on their ability to follow through in the Marble League 2019 Qualifiers. This doubt became their reality on 26 January 2019, when the Rojo Rollers failed to qualify for the Marble League for the third season in a row.
While training for the Marble League 2019 Qualifiers, the Rojo Rollers had to act quickly and cut their partnership before the team’s reputation was tarnished concerning a controversy with Red Number 3, although Jelle’s confirmation that Red Number 3 would be returning to the 2019 Marble Rally eased the tension surrounding the situation. Taking on a coach, Rojo Cero, the team prepared for an extended offseason, but rejoiced at the announcement of the Showdown and immediately got to training.
As the Showdown approached, the team was a favorite to not only advance to 2020 Qualifiers but to win the Showdown overall. All five of the Rojo Rollers were on the podium for their first medal since 2016 after winning the second event, Collision. The team’s gamble with Dos in Funnel Spinning paid off immensely, with their performance earning the Rollers a bronze medal and a guaranteed spot in the Marble League 2020 Qualifiers. Placing third overall in the Showdown, the team wa exhilarated and hungry for more competition.
While training for the Marble League 2020 Qualifiers, Rojo Cero received an official letter from JMR, inviting the Rojo Rollers to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The Rojo Rollers accepted the invitation, submitting Rojo Uno, “Primo Racer”, and Rojo Dos, “Segundo to None”, to compete.
The Rojo Rollers’ strength was certainly not individual events, save for some good performances from Rojo Uno and Dos. However, even they would falter in Marbula One. The team opened the season with two scoreless races before Rojo Uno scored four points at the Momotorway GP. Rojo Dos earned their first point of the season at the Hivedrive, with a tenth-place finish.
The Rojo Rollers would score points in all of the final four races, but never placed higher than fifth place. They would finish the season in thirteenth overall, with 32 points and no medals. Neither Rojo was particularly stunning in the Racer’s Championship, either, with Rojo Dos placing twenty-first, and Rojo Uno placing twenty-third in the individual standings.
Nonetheless, the team was hopeful to return to the Marble League and finally prove themselves after a three-year drought. They entered the 2020 Qualifiers with some confidence, seeing that Balancing was one of the events, an event they held the record in until 2019. This confidence was shattered after the team placed dead last in the event, and would go on to finish the Qualifiers in nineteenth overall, with just 24 points. The Rojo Rollers’ Showdown results wouldn’t be spectacular, either, as they placed seventh overall. Following the offseason, the Rojo Rollers were not re-invited to attend the second season of Marbula One. Thus, over the extended break, the team returned to the Surculo for extra practice, where they participated in the league for the first time since they had started competing in the Marble League.
The Rojo Rollers did not get off to a good start in the Surculo League, with Rojo Cinco placing dead last in the Sprint. However, as was a tradition with the team, save for the poor results in individual events from Rojo Tres, Rojo Cuatro, and Rojo Cinco, the team medaled in all five of the other events and would go on to win the Surculo League by three points over Team Toadstool. Following their win, the Rojo Rollers continued to train hard for the 2021 Marble League Qualifiers, and after a training session with Red Number 3, who was coming off of a mediocre performance of seventh in the Marble Rally following their surgery, the team participated in the Marble League Practice Race in Felynia. Rojo Uno participated in the race, and managed a very impressive second place among the twenty-eight competing teams!
With their Surculo rivals, the Jawbreakers, retiring from marble sports heading into the 2021 season, the Rojo Rollers entered Group A of the Marble League 2021 Qualifiers fearing the same fate. Starting with a bronze, the team did everything they could to keep their performances in the top half. For the first time in their team’s history, the Rojo Rollers succeeded, and qualified to appear in their second main tournament. But what seemed a prime opportunity for the team to finally prove themselves would, over the course of Marble League 2021, turn into the team’s worst nightmare.
Save for Rojo Dos’s bronze in Funnel Endurance and a pair of consecutive fourth-place finishes at the season’s end, the Rojo Rollers did not earn more than ten points in any of the 16 events and only placed in the top ten in three other events. Their highest placement in the overall standings was 11th before their inevitable sink into the basement; Rojo Tres’ DNF was caused by an incident with Blue Eye leaving the team in last overall for the entire second half of the tournament.
Frustration that had not been seen within the Rojo Rollers’ management since dissolving their partnership with Red Number 3 reached a breaking point during the Elimination Race when Rojo Macho fired Rojo Cero, replacing them with Rojo Oro, who had coached Red Number 3 through their recovery and Season 5 of the Marble Rally. The Rojo Rollers went through their own phase of recovery in the final two events but still finished last overall with 85 points in Marble League 2021.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors The Emperor and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Rojo Rollers.