Columnists,Deshan Ilangakoon,Top Story l by Deshan Ilangakoon l 26 Jun 2020     - 118

Marble Racing - The Hottest New Sporting Event

The new Coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in the cogs of most things in the world. Industries of all sorts are struggling or have come to a grinding halt. Families and friends no longer can spend time with each other, and a staggering number of people have become unemployed. In addition to all of this, a vast number of countries have enforced curfews or stay at home orders, as in Sri Lanka. With all this, people are looking for ways to stay entertained and to stay positive through this terrible crisis. One thing that had a potential to help everyone stuck at home, could potentially have been sporting events, but even these have been closed down or postponed. The summer Olympics in Japan was postponed by a year, the European soccer leagues, cricket tournaments and all other major sporting events were either cancelled or postponed.

With all this happening, what’s left for us in the world of sport entertainment? Well, for one thing, we have some sporting events that have tried their hand at playing without spectators. But even this is something that still requires quite a lot of people to be working around each other including the players, so it hasn’t gone off too well. But there has come an alternative and surprisingly it’s something that has been around for a few years now and it’s freely available, at least at the time of this article, for viewing on YouTube.

This new exciting new up and comer in the sports entertainment industry is Marble Racing. Now you might be thinking if I have gone crazy and you’d be right to think that, under normal circumstances. However, marble racing done on the YouTube channel “Jelle's Marble Runs” is something that is completely different and it’s in a league of its own. This is a channel produced by two brothers, Jelle and Dion Bakker from the Netherlands and trust me, once you start watching their videos, you are going to be hooked. What they have done is taken this kid’s play time activity and turned it into something unbelievable.

The site features videos of events such as Marbula One and the Marble Olympics which is renamed as Marble League. These are marble based re-does of their standard sports counter parts and they are just as exciting and captivating. Every aspect of these events features marbles. From the racers, to the fans, the referees and even the match officials. Some of these events have even featured a marble version of a streaker and there have been other episodes where fights have erupted between fans. The races themselves are truly captivating and you find yourself become totally drawn into the suspense, just as if it was a real high stakes sports event.

On this site, a main feature is the Marbula One event series, which is basically the marble version of Formula 1. They release videos in a series format, and it’s even released on Sundays (Monday from SL time) like formula one, and where the races are on different tracks. The event is just like the formula one season and points are awarded to each team based on their performance at that race. Along these lines, Jelle’s Mable Runs has actually gone to great effort to make sure these races are as close as possible to the real events. They have tracks set up that look like they were from models of real race tracks, they have pit lanes and even have technical turns like Chicanes. The only major difference would be a conveyor belt at the end point of each track so that the marbles could be raised to the starting level of the track.

Adding to the sensation of these events is the fact that all their videos have a sports commentator, Greg Wood, who’s narration of the events truly brings them to life. I can tell you for a fact that after watching a few of these races, where the races were actually very close and the marbles were constantly fighting for lead position, you do find yourself leaning in and spell bound to these events.

On top of these race sensations, the marbles themselves have been given back stories and have amazing tales as if they were real people and supporters and viewers of these videos are not shy to push and support their favorite marbles.

Sadly, however this year’s Marbula One season is at a close, however you can still watch them all online and enjoy the thrills. There are also other events like Marbula E and Marble Rally. However, there is good news, the Marble League 2020 is set to start June 21st, so mark your calendars, and start picking the team you are going to cheer for.

So, what do we have to look forward to in the Marble League 2020? Well this has some elements that resemble the Olympics, with some of the events being quite similar to real life events. Other events however like the Marble League’s collision event where two marble teams charge into an arena and try to push their opponents off the arena floor, don’t have a close real world likeness.

So these are some of the events that you can expect to see during the upcoming marble league series and based on what they have put out so far, it should be pretty cool and something to take our minds away from these stress full times.

On top of this, the site also has some pretty cool items which are basically huge marble runs that are highly complex and elaborate with tens of thousands of marbles flowing through them. This in itself is quite captivating and the sounds it creates is something quite different, therapeutic even.


Deshan Ilangakoon

"A creative writer, photographer, traveler and cyber security professional, Deshan has worked with several local and international travel magazines and other sources, to publish stories and reviews of places, sights and experiences around Sri Lanka. He has a passion to share his experiences through stories and pictures of the wonders of Sri Lanka."

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