Desperate times call for desperate measures.
SuperSport may be doing its utmost to keep South African sports fans entertained (see their new schedule of sports highlights here), but around the world, the hunt for live action continues.
Social media users were pretty fond of a clip that did the rounds last week, which you may have seen.
For those who haven’t, we’ll get the ball (marble) rolling with this rollercoaster ride:
Day 4 with no sports:
Marble1 racing is intense! pic.twitter.com/StgO4fY8VG
— CHIS☥MAS (@davdchristmas) March 15, 2020
Yeah, it is intense.
That clip is actually from 2016, and comes via a YouTube channel called Jelle’s Marble Runs (JMR), started by Dutch brothers Jelle (pictured below) and Dion Bakker.
Over the past four years, the channel has amassed in excess of 700 000 subscribers, and even CNN is now reporting on the brothers’ races:
The brothers started with the Marble Sand Rally and after that went viral they invented the Marblympics — which is now called the Marble League after a run-in with the International Olympic Committee.
The Marble League is an annual tradition that consists of 16 events where 16 different marble teams compete against each other.
The teams have different colors and individual identities with their own fanbases.
Teams include the Green Ducks, the O’Rangers and the Raspberry Racers.
Dion says marble racing qualifies as a sport, and he may well have a point. After all, the Marble League was featured on ESPN8: The Ocho, a 24-hour takeover of an ESPN channel that featured “seldom seen sports”.
Yes, the channel was inspired by the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, so you’re on the money there.
This is the channel’s most popular video of all time, with more than 10 million views:
Greg Woods is your commentator, and the story of how that came to be, and his dedication to the art form, is well worth a read.
Back to the Dutch brothers and how it all started:
The genesis of this marble racing series began over 30 years ago in the backyard of the brothers’ grandfather’s house.
“Jelle built the marble runs and I started helping,” Dion explains. “It was when he was four. Most people with autism have a preoccupation, one thing they only want to repeat and that was one of his [Jelle’s] activities.”
…Jelle said his form of autism means he is “really interested in moving things, sounds, lights, etc” and that building marble runs and racing marbles plays into this perfectly.
The most recent video on their YouTube channel is the Marbula One: 2020 Short Circuit GP (S1R6):
Marbula One? There’s method to their madness:
As well as organizing the Marble League, the inaugural season of Marbula One is currently being released weekly on YouTube — and in a similar way to Formula One — has qualifiers on Saturdays and races themselves on Sundays.
There are time splits, while the points system also mirrors F1 as well.
I guess Formula 1 fans can now split their time between watching Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive and some marble racing.
Strange times we live in, hey?
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