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RetRollSpective – Turtle Sliders

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where we reflect on the history of marble sports teams that have appeared in the tournaments of Jelle’s Marble Runs. This time, we’re going to focus on the Turtle Sliders, a team that debuted in the 2019 Marble League Showdown. Read on to find out how this team has crushed the competition!

The official logo for the Turtle Sliders, designed by Tim Ritz.

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.

“I’m a visionary and an idealist,” Shelly proudly proclaimed. “It is my creed. I always believe that we’re going to take that next step, that we’re going to be as excellent as we want to be. We will get there.”

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.

“It made sense to me,” Shelly accepted. “They felt like they had lost a sense of porpoise—I mean, purpose. Sorry. But I never lost that passion, and my hope was that I could inspire other athletes to do the same.”

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.

The original logo for the Turtle Sliders, designed by FamousOlSpiced.

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.

When asked what relation they had to the other members of the team, Frank shrugged. “I dunno. I just joined the minor league and I vibe pretty well with Squirt. If I have to be frank, though, the reason I really joined is that I love the ocean.”

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 2019 Marble League 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: “It wouldn’t be the first time that I whip some lazy, pizza-eating, no good, turtles back into shape. I will turn these turtles into a force to be reckoned with, just you wait.”

We all love a good flowchart, unless we’re a fan of one of the bottom four teams.

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.

“But we are coming for you, we will not stand in your shadow, we are here to take it all. Our goal is to make it to the Marble League and win it all—we made it this far, we aren’t gonna stop now. We WILL make it to the starting line next to you, and when we do, you better be prepared. Your past is catching up to you.”

Their classic logo, used in the Seven Seas Circuit, was praised in addition to the team’s reunion story. 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 2019 Marble League Showdown and a path towards facing off against the Oceanics again.

“We choose what holds us back and what rolls us forward.” ~Coach Splint

As they trained for the Showdown, the Turtle Sliders focused on honing their own 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. Squirt finished ninth in the Sand Rally, struggling to reach the top four after getting caught behind a gaggle of competitors. Dash fell through the final two funnels after leading for much of Funnel Endurance, placing tenth.

The Turtle Sliders were tied for tenth place 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.

Sliders fans were understandably disappointed, but they did not abandon their team at their lowest.

“We weren’t ready, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be ready next year,” Crush, the team’s captain, promised. “This year was just a bad year for the seven seas.”

A Bittersweet Slide

an addendum by Ghostly

After a disappointing eleventh-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.

“It really meant a lot to us that our fans came out to see us,” Dash said when interviewed by the Aslipi Times. “It really helped to remind us all that we were good enough to make it to the Showdown in the first place, and that is a massive achievement.”

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 in eleventh overall, and their morale was low, so the teams’ Coaches arranged for the Sliders to visit Felynia.

“We’re great friends with the Crazy Cat’s Eyes!” said Shelly. “We met them about a year ago when they came to visit us after the 2018 Marble League. We went boating all over the islands and raced underwater back at the Slider Academy. We all had a great time, and it helped to motivate us to do our best to get to the Showdown.”

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! 

Yellow Eye hosting Shelly at a Felyni garden. (Photo Credit: Piney)

The two teams had tea and caught up in the park, before rolling off to the Cat’s Eyes training facilities. Along the way, the Turtle Sliders noticed the Cat’s Dunes off in the distance. “Is it true that Crazy Cat’s Eye lives and trains out there?” Frank asked. “It would be pretty cool to go find them and have them train you!” 

“Haha, maybe that is a good idea!” Red Eye replied. Though Red Eye’s comment was a joke, the Sliders thought they could see a thought forming in Red Eye’s mind. The teams fell to an uncomfortable silence.

“Oh, would you look at that!” Cyan Eye proclaimed before things could get too awkward. “We’re here!” The Crazy Cat’s Eyes led the Turtle Sliders into their training facility, the Sliders stunned silent by the sight.

“Woah, this facility is incredible, dude!” Crush said, staring at the impressive range of equipment and the massive tracks. “You guys have an Elimination Race track? Do you think we can do a race?” The two teams rolled off in preparation for the race, having each marble go at once.

One by one, the marbles got eliminated, until it was down to the final two: Frank and Cyan Eye. The reserves stuck close the entire race, neither marble able to pull away from the other. They crossed the line together, and it came down to a photo finish. Frank won over Cyan Eye by a hair. The teams congratulated the winner and continued to compete throughout the next few days.

Upon returning from their trip, the Turtle Sliders found themselves more determined than ever to train hard, to 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 twelve-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 Flame’s favor. Remembering Frank’s success in the Elimination Race against the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, the team put them in the Marathon.

The Underwater Race in the Marble League 2019, featuring the Oceanics in last while the Chocolatiers and Green Ducks have a photo finish to determine the heat winner.

After qualifying in third, just below Check from the Balls of Flame and Em from the Archerfish, the Turtle Sliders started off in fourth position, behind Dorsal from the Tiger Sharks, Check, and Em respectively, and held that for the majority of the race. Suddenly, Check had trouble entering the conveyor belt, stalling Em and Dorsal, which allowed Frank to catch up, all four marbles exiting the conveyor at the same time!

Frank and Check pulled ahead of the other two racers, neck and neck on the penultimate lap! The only separation was due to the attenuator, and they quickly matched each other’s pace once more. As the marbles rounded the final corner on the last lap, close together they remained. They passed the finish line at the exact 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.

“It was amazing!” said Frank, with stars in their eyes. “All of a sudden, I went from being just the reserve to a hero! Who am I, Mimo?”

Squirt glanced at the press mischievously, saying “You know, when we got bronze they named the Square after us. I hope this time they name the city after us. I can picture it now: ‘Aslipi, Home of the Turtle Sliders’!” The team erupted in laughter, luxuriating in their victory.

In the following months, the Sliders kept up the training, preparing themselves as best as they could for the 2020 Marble League Showdown. As the Marble League progressed, they cheered for the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, as the team never left the top five. Before the Showdown, Stynth visited the team, writing in their Offseason Moments – ML2020 Showdown article:

Prior to the 2020 Marble League Showdown, Stynth visited the team in Aslipi at the Turtle Sliders’ training facility, Slider Academy.

“Shelly decided to start an athletic training program during the offseason,” Crush explained. “While not all of us have the time to participate in it, we hear that Frank has been getting some skills out of it.”

“To be frank, they need it,” Squirt jested.

Stynth met Shelly at the Academy. Neither Dash nor Coach Splint was present, as Dash was visiting their family in Jamarbla and Splint was picking up pizza for the group. Although the facility was officially certified by the JMRC, Stynth noticed that it was severely under-equipped. “That’s because you haven’t seen the rest of the Academy,” Shelly answered. The group traveled down to the basement, revealing a massive swimming pool. “As you can see, we’re not afraid of the water, and we use that to our advantage. Rolling through water takes much more effort than rolling through the air. That’s how we get stronger.”

from “Offseason Moments – ML2020 Showdown”, by Stynth

When the Showdown arrived, the team was nervous as they prepared for the Relay Race. They didn’t want to disappoint their fans or their friends in the Marble League. Frank started the race, slower than the other teams by a small amount, but Squirt was able to recover a little ground. When they passed to Shelly though, they fell behind the Chocolatiers and Team Primary as they had a photo finish to decide the heat. The Turtle Sliders ended in seventh.

They didn’t perform any better in the Halfpipe or Black Hole Funnel, getting ninth and sixth respectively. They sat in ninth with fourteen points, desperately needing any big points to move up going into the final event; the Sand Mogul Race. They sent in Squirt to face off against Gogo, Pinky Toe, and Rima in the second heat. Squirt started off strong out of the gate, taking the lead. But as they got further down the course, they strayed too far upward and got passed by Pinky Toe and bumped into the back of Gogo, losing the heat. The Turtle Sliders only got four points from this event, leading to them finishing ninth with eighteen points, failing to move on from the Showdown.

The Turtle Sliders participating in the Black Hole Funnel in the 2020 Showdown.

The Turtle Sliders were heartbroken after failing to move on 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.

“How did it happen like this?” Crush pondered. “We were doing so well in the Seven Seas Circuit, and I thought we were ready for this.”

“Maybe we didn’t get the right kind of practice in? We spent so long practicing in the water that we didn’t do well on the sand or halfpipe.” Splint murmured.

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. 

“Hey guys, keep your heads up! You may not have done well, but you gave it your all!” Blue Eye rolled forward. The Sliders looked up, unconvinced.

Gogo rolled out from the group, and said, “Squirt, I’m sorry about that bump in the Sand Moguls. But you did great out of the gate, it took everything Pinky Toe and I had to catch up to you!” 

“And Frank, I heard about that tournament-winning Marathon of yours,” Mimo said. “We reserves sometimes need to prove our worth on the team, and let me tell you, you are an inspiration to all of us reserves!” At this, Frank began to give a weak smile.

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. 

Shelly and Squirt rolled up to Red Eye and the other Cat’s Eyes and whispered: “We want to practice with you guys again in Felynia after this league is over.” Red Eye was shocked to see such determination in their eyes and happily agreed to it.

Dash later spoke to the Aslipi Times about the scene, saying “It was incredibly moving to us all. Not only the good sportsmanship from our competitors but the faith our friends had in us. It really gave us the strength to continue to go on.”

Come 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 to 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 own Sand Rally track.

Crush and Shelly rolling through the sand – Drawn by B.J.V. Dimafelix.

“We definitely learned the importance of having more balanced training,” Shelly told the Aslipi Times, remembering their previous heavy focus on water events.  “The Cat’s Eyes taught us that, after seeing them perform so well with such varied training. This sand track is just the start for us.”

“Our visit to Felynia was (cat’s) eye-opening to say the least.” Crush said. “The Cat’s Eyes take race pace and acceleration so seriously, it’s very impressive. I reckon they will be a force to, heh, reckon with in Marbula One. I’ve been working with Splint on our Sand Rally track to make sure it is in top shape, and I’m hoping that that is just the first step in upgrading our equipment.” It’s no secret that the equipment in the Sliders’ facilities is lacking, with the exception of the pool. 

Despite no sign of the Turtle Sliders participating in any leagues soon due to the 2021 Seven Seas Circuit taking place in 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 (with the exception of the Jawbreakers, who went on a hiatus), would be allowed to participate in the Qualifiers! When the team was told this, they were ecstatic!

“We’re still in it everyone!” Dash proclaimed. “They can’t keep us down, we’re back and we’re ready to bring it!”

“Shell yeah!” Squirt shouted. 

“What’s the new system?” Shelly inquired. “Are we finally going to face off against the Oceanics again?” Unfortunately, the Turtle Sliders were placed in Group B, while the Oceanics were placed in Group A. The marble sports world will have to wait to see the two teams face off in a tournament outside of the Practice Race.

Crush crosses the line in the Practice Race.

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. Despite the busy atmosphere in Felynia, the Cat’s Eyes always made time to train alongside the Sliders, preparing both teams for the Marble League to come.

In RetRollSpective, the Turtle Sliders are new but passionate about the sport. With a charismatic bunch of athletes, it is hard for everyone, including their competitors, to not love them. With Shelly’s vision and Crush’s leadership, there is hope that they will be shore—we mean, sure—to shock their competition in the future, especially if it’s the Oceanics. Best of luck to the Turtle Sliders in the near future, keep on rolling!

Thank you to FamousOlSpiced for creating both the Turtle Sliders and the lore surrounding the team!


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