TURTLE SLIDERS (TTS)
Marbula One Season 3
The Turtle Sliders are one of the newest teams in Jelle’s Marble Runs, but they have an old and storied history competing against the Oceanics in the Seven Seas Circuit. Shelly, the only original member of the team remaining, was key in outsmarting many of the other teams in the circuit and standing up to the Oceanics. Shelly’s skills in endurance and longevity helped them to remain active after many of their old teammates retired from sports – but it was also their drive to compete.
The Sliders never beat the Oceanics in the Seven Seas Circuit, but they came close in 2015, placing second in the final race and third overall. When the Oceanics left the Circuit, however, many of the original members lost interest.
Shelly began recruiting for new additions to the team in mid-2018, traveling throughout the region to cities like Aslipi, Jamarbla, and Mellacai. They met dozens of athletes who shared their passion to compete on a professional level, perhaps even in the Marble League. In the end, Shelly reformed the team with Crush, Squirt, Dash, Frank, and Splint, the team’s original coach, being the new faces of the Turtle Sliders.
Crush, who was recruited from Aslipi, used to compete in the minor league team of the Turtle Sliders, the Hatchling Skidders. After retiring from sports, they went into acting and were featured in “a gritty crime documentary about a colorful fish getting kidnapped”, according to the Non-Descript Entertainment Company. Crush was convinced to join the Sliders by their younger sibling, Squirt, who had always looked up to Crush’s leadership in the Skidders, and was followed by Frank, who became the team’s reserve. Dash, who was recruited from Jamarbla, was a key addition to the Sliders, as they were a rising star athlete in the city, known for their “extreme speed trials” that they would post on MarBook. Dash’s huge fanbase translated to the Sliders, who began supporting the revival of the team and requesting their presence in the Marble League 2019 Qualifiers. Splint, the team’s original coach, was living in Mellacai when Shelly contacted them about the Sliders’ reunion. Their response was anything but out-of-character, and they joined the new roster.
The Turtle Sliders began training that fall in Aslipi and were hard at work training for the 2019 Seven Seas Circuit in the spring when they received news of the Marble League Showdown, which would feature a fan vote component to determine two of the twelve spots in the tournament. The Sliders received overwhelming support from their fans to apply, and they cited their previous rivalry with the Oceanics to attract attention. There was ultimately no reason why the Turtle Sliders weren’t capable of doing well in the fan vote, and in the end, they finished second, securing a spot in the Marble League 2019 Showdown and a path towards facing off against the Oceanics again.
As they trained for the Showdown, the Turtle Sliders focused on honing their team synergy for Collision, where they would need to stick together and away from the edges. It was a strategy that worked out for them in performance, as they finished fifth after a quarterfinal loss. The other three events, though, were not as kind to the rookie team. The Turtle Sliders were tied for 10th with the Kobalts with one event to go—Balancing. Although the Turtle Sliders had trained for Balancing, their nerves got the best of them during the event, and they finished with a score of 207 centimeters. It was not enough. After a disappointing 11th place finish in the 2019 Marble League Showdown, the Turtle Sliders flew back to their training facilities in Aslipi, located on the Sliding Square, which was named after the team to celebrate their third-place finish in the Seven Seas Circuit in 2015.
The team was feeling down after the poor finish and expected to come home to a gloomy town, disappointed by the low results. Instead, they were surprised to come back to a huge celebration! Fans of the team crowded around the athletes, welcoming them back home and congratulating them for going all the way to the Marble League Showdown. The festivities lasted well into the night, with the athletes signing autographs and having a great time with their fans. Come morning, they had a new resolve, and were ready to push themselves to do their very best!
Unbeknownst to the athletes, Splint had received a call from the Crazy Cat’s Eyes’ coach, White Eye. Similar to the Turtle Sliders, the Cat’s Eyes had just finished 11th overall, and their morale was low, so the teams’ Coaches arranged for the Sliders to visit Felynia. After the long flight, the Sliders were welcomed to Felynia by Coach White Eye, who took them to a nearby park to surprise the Cat’s Eyes. The Sliders hid behind bushes while White Eye brought in the Crazy Cat’s Eyes. When the Turtle Sliders jumped out from behind the bushes, the Cat’s Eyes were ecstatic!
Upon returning from their trip, the Turtle Sliders found themselves more determined than ever to train hard, make a return to the Marble League and face off against their friends. The Crazy Cat’s Eyes found themselves feeling the same, prepared to push themselves past the poor finish in the Marble League. After months of training, the Turtle Sliders participated in the Seven Seas Circuit once more in early 2020. In the 12-event tournament, the Turtle Sliders performed well. Notable events include the Underwater Race and Rafting, where the Turtle Sliders won gold. Going into the final event, the Marathon, the Turtle Sliders, and the Balls of Flame were the top two, with a three-point gap in the Balls of Flames’ favor. Remembering Frank’s success in the Elimination Race against the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, the team put them in the Marathon. As the marbles rounded the final corner on the last lap, close together they remained. They passed the finish line at the same time! It took the refs an hour to make a decision, but ultimately they decided that…Frank won!
The Turtle Sliders won the 2020 Seven Seas Circuit over the Balls of Flame and the Archerfish in second and third respectively. Their return to Aslipi was met with cheers, as fans filled Sliding Square. The fans chanted each member’s name, cheering extra loud for Frank, the reserve who had won the tournament.
In the following months, the Sliders kept up the training, preparing themselves as best as they could for the Marble League 2020 Showdown. As the Marble League progressed, they cheered for the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, as the team never left the top five. When the Showdown arrived, the team was nervous, even though they had prepared. They didn’t want to disappoint their fans or their friends in the Marble League. But with middling results in each of the four events, the Sliders finished ninth with 18 points, failing to move on from the Showdown.
The Turtle Sliders were heartbroken after failing to move on to the Qualifiers once more. The team left the Andromedome dejectedly, stopping at the nearby Jupiter’s Juice Bar to attempt to cheer up. Even the usually playful Squirt was feeling down. As the team sat there, a group of marbles rolled into the building. The Sliders didn’t look up until one of the marbles in the group coughed to get their attention. They looked up and saw none other than the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, along with several other athletes from various other teams.
As more athletes from a variety of teams spoke, the Turtle Sliders grinned. All of these marbles had gone out of their way to see the team keep their heads up, and they were inspired by their friends. At the end of the Marble League, the Sliders went to Felynia with the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, eager to see the beginning construction as the Cat’s Eyes were revealed to host the next Marble League. The Turtle Sliders were in awe at their friends, still so diligent in their training despite the busy construction around them. They continued to push themselves further, to be the fastest that they could. After the trip to Felynia, the Sliders returned to Aslipi and remembered their struggles on the sand in the Showdown, so they set aside a location on the beach in Aslipi to create their Sand Rally track.
Despite no sign of the Turtle Sliders participating in any leagues soon due to the 2021 Seven Seas Circuit being planned for the fall, they kept their training up. The team focused primarily on sand events and water events, taking advantage of their better equipment. However, they continued to have a more balanced training. The team kept this up for months, until 13 April 2021. Splint got a call from Jelle themselves. Jelle explained that the qualification system was overhauled and that the Turtle Sliders, along with the other relegated teams (except for the Jawbreakers, who went on a hiatus), would be allowed to participate in the Qualifiers! When the team was told this, they were ecstatic! The Turtle Sliders were placed in Group B, while the Oceanics were placed in Group A.
Keeping up the training as best as they could, the Sliders felt ever more sure of themselves. Before the qualifiers, the team took the trip to Felynia for the Practice Race. The team sent Crush in, knowing that they had spent the most effort on the sand training. Crush started the race slower than all of the competitors, dead last at the first checkpoint, but as the race went on, made up ground. They finished the race in the top half, a proud recovery from the start. As the days began counting down until the qualifiers, the Turtle Sliders took multiple trips to Felynia to get themselves used to the climate and keep up training alongside the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, who always made time to train with them.
Amazingly, the Turtle Sliders nearly missed out on attending Qualifiers, rushing to the airport the day before the tournament. Despite a difficult first half, the Sliders’ fourth place in the Relay Race and Crush’s fourth place in the Sand Rally left the team just under the cusp of qualification, tenth of 12 teams. Had Crush placed second or above in the order of the top four, they would have qualified on the bubble—or above. Instead, hitting the large orb obstacle at the very beginning of the race was what seemed to cost the team, downplaying their rebound from the back of the racing order to nearly reclaim the lead.
Defying all odds, the Sliders earned the first medal in their career, sliding the block a combined .15 centimeters ahead of Team Galactic in Block Pushing during the 2021 Showdown, with Frank leading the team out of the starting gate into the fray. Holding their bronze medal, made of aluminum, sky-high, Turtle Sliders fans paraded through the streets of Felynia that night with glee, celebrating an achievement they had awaited for so long. Out of the bottom four for the first time in their career, the Sliders shell-shocked the competition with Dash’s silver medal in the Triathlon. Their balanced training routine, as practiced with the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, paid off with top-half performances in Diving and Marblocross, with Crush finishing fifth. In addition to earning their first two medals in any tournament officiated by Jelle’s Marble Runs and finishing seventh overall with 47 points, the Sliders finally beat the Oceanics, who finished 11th.
Following their repeat victory in the 2021 Seven Seas Circuit, the Turtle Sliders were hosting the Crazy Cat’s Eyes in Aslipi when they received official communication from JMR. Knowing all too well what the Turtle Sliders were about to experience, the Cat’s Eyes were coy as the Turtle Sliders opened their invitation to compete in Season 3 of Marbula One. Then, there was much celebration in the team’s headquarters, to the point where marbles outside of the building claimed to have heard choruses of “shell yeahs” from Sliders management. Ecstatic to compete in their first main tournament within Jelle’s Marble Runs, Coach Splint submitted Crush, “Bomb Shell” and Dash, “Shell Raiser” to compete in the coming Grands Prix.
Special thanks to FamousOlSpiced and Project Marblearth contributors Ghostly and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Turtle Sliders.