RetRollSpective – Minty Maniacs

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 Minty Maniacs, a team that debuted in the 2018 Marble League. Read on to find out how this team has conditioned the competition!

The official logo for the Minty Maniacs, designed by Tim Ritz.

As their logo suggests, the Minty Maniacs are candy fanatics—with an emphasis on mint, of course. The team met from across the lands of Herbotamia, a region known for growing herbs and spices. Herbotamia itself has gained the reputation of being the “freshest” place in the world, according to one of the world’s most acclaimed travel guides, Atlas Marbura. 

Minty Flav, Minty Drizzel, Minty Fresh, Minty Swirl, and Minty Mint competed together in local “turf tournaments”, which featured a variety of events utilizing the surrounding locale: for example, doing a Catwalk event along a wooden beam, or doing a Quartet Jump from a downhill slope into a lake. It wasn’t long before these tournaments started becoming popular throughout the region as a fun outdoor activity and a potential professional sports league.

These tournaments reverberated through the region as friendly rounds conducted without an audience, due to the hot, dry climate of summertime, when the lands weren’t being planted or harvested. The Minty Maniacs spearheaded the first tournament, which was a trio between the Black Jacks and Golden Wisps. The next season, more teams from around the region competed in what became known as the Herbotamia Tournament.

The Herbotamia Tournament was in its second year when professional marble sports became popular worldwide, punctuated by sand racing, hurdle jumping, and contact sports like lucha marbre. The athletes of the tournament had been contacted to be in the sports featurette that would go viral, but they turned down the request.

“We always envisioned this as something casual: as something we enjoyed to do for ourselves,” the team’s captain, Minty Flav, reflected. “I personally never anticipated this would get as popular as it has.”

“We were a little afraid of it at first,” Minty Swirl admitted. “We hesitated, and we shouldn’t have, because this is something we love to do. We were just shy.”

As tournaments like the Knikkegen Marble League ballooned in popularity, tournaments like the Fruit Circuit and Herbotamia Tournament stagnated. The cost of maintaining a tournament without sponsorship began to loom over the Herbotamia athletes like a shadow, even for something so casual—and the announcement of the 2016 Marble League did not help. The Minty Maniacs were preparing to retire from marble sports and go into the food industry, making homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream, when they were approached by Jelle Bakker. Although Jelle was focused on running the 2016 Marble League, they missed running a regional tournament and offered the Maniacs a sponsorship for their tournament to continue in 2016. After contacting the other teams, the Maniacs accepted, and the tournament—now rebranded as the Hubelino Tournament—was slated to begin in Herbotamia shortly after the 2016 Marble League.

The first season of the Hubelino Tournament was an experiment for regional tournaments that complemented the Marble League, which was an experiment for international tournaments.

The 2016 Hubelino Tournament differed from the original tournament in that it was recorded for the Internet (a first for a regional tournament) in the hope that it would be appreciated by a wider audience, and that it featured artificial courses using Hubelino tracks, bricks, and other special parts. The tournament was conducted without a live audience to preserve the original “friendly round” atmosphere of the competition and featured eight teams competing for eternal glory.

The Minty Maniacs may be the first example of the “host’s curse” in Jelle’s Marble Runs history, although they did not seem to be so in the first four events. The Minty Maniacs immediately made a strong impression, podiuming three times with two silvers and one bronze to their name. Minty Fresh’s bronze in the Elimination Maze, pictured below, helped their team rise to second in the overall standings, behind only the Black Jacks.

Minty Fresh’s bronze in the Elimination Race kept their team in the top half of the standings throughout the first eight events.

That said, the Minty Maniacs peaked early in the season, and they did not podium in the remaining four events. Still, by the end of the year, they placed in a respectable fourth place overall, squarely in the middle of all the Hubelino Tournament teams.

“We were pretty satisfied, considering how much changed from previous years. It was a challenge and we took it on in mint condition!” remarked Minty Fresh.

The eight teams got close during the tournament and made plans to attend the 2017 Marble League together. They were pleasantly surprised to receive invitations from Jelle to sit to the right of the torch alongside the four unqualified teams. In addition to this invitation, the eight teams also learned that Season 1 of the Hubelino Tournament would continue for four more events, with two – the Halfpipe Dash and Relay Course – preceding the Marble League. The Maniacs finished in the bottom four in both events.

Three months later, Minty Drizzel was astounded by the events of the 2017 Marble League: “We’d never seen a sports tournament like that before, and we were inspired. It was a reminder for us to keep doing what we love, and it pushed us to work harder.”

Afterward, the Hubelino Tournament reconvened for two more events, and it was clear that the Minty Maniacs were focusing their energy elsewhere. They finished seventh overall after placing in the bottom four in both Block Push and Ball Battle, but they were not discouraged. They were laser-focused on training for the 2018 Marble League, and they were not alone.

A disappointing conclusion to the team’s first season, marred by low-tier finishes in the bottom half of events.

Jelle offered all eight Hubelino teams the chance to compete in the 2018 Marble League Qualifiers. The Minty Maniacs, along with the Black Jacks, Golden Orbs, and Raspberry Racers (formed of members from the Bluefastics and Valiant Violets) accepted Jelle’s offer and entered the Draw in December 2017. The Minty Maniacs were placed in Group A with the Chocolatiers—a funny coincidence, considering that the Chocolatiers sourced mint from Herbotamia in creating some of their chocolate delicacies. During the Qualifiers, the Maniacs earned a second-place finish and a third-place finish in the Snow Race and Halfpipe respectively and did well enough in the other two events to qualify for the 2018 Marble League. They and the Raspberry Racers were the only Hubelino-based teams to qualify.

The Minty Maniacs debuted with high hopes and a crushingly low beginning, placing last in the 5 Meter Ice Dash. While they were able to recover in the next few events and place in the middle of the pack, the Maniacs were not in mint condition, even with the addition of their reserve, Minty Mint.

“The competition is so much more intense than anything we’ve ever experienced. It’s a true challenge,” Minty Drizzel realized. “It’s not that we didn’t want to do well, but we certainly questioned ourselves.”

The Maniacs seemed to be on the rise after two consecutive fifth-place finishes in Speed Skating and Team Pursuit, but they stumbled with two consecutive twelfth-place finishes in the next two events, falling to fifteenth overall. The Minty Maniacs, with no medals, were the most underwhelming rookie team in the tournament, and after placing last in the Biathlon, they were tied with Mellow Yellow in fifteenth overall. There were two events to go, and the next event, Ice Hockey, was similar to Ball Battle, an event that the team did not do well in during the Hubelino Tournament.

The 2018 Winter Marble League included several unexpected podiums. This was one of them.

The Minty Maniacs shocked everyone, then, when they made it to the finals of Ice Hockey and fell to the Midnight Wisps, earning their first Marble League medal despite falling out of contention for the championship. With this, the team rose to thirteenth place overall and remained there to finish out the 2018 Winter Marble League.

“I remember Jelle glancing behind themselves as they rolled up to the podium, and Jelle warmly smiled at us,” Minty Mint told, with a similar smile on their face. “That made the whole season worth it.”

Nevertheless, the Minty Maniacs were well aware that the Hubelino Tournament had not set them up to do well in the Marble League. The two tournaments required different skills, and after the 100 Meter Water Race, where Minty Drizzel did not finish, the team collectively decided to return to the Hubelino Tournament for its second season. They were joined by the Black Jacks and the Golden Orbs.

The second season of the Hubelino Tournament offered sports fans a classic friendly, but it was not hotly anticipated.

Although experience in the 2016 Hubelino Tournament did not help teams in the Marble League, experience in the Marble League helped teams do well in the 2018 Hubelino Tournament. The Minty Maniacs only placed off of the podium three times, demonstrating consistency that they had never shown in their career before. If they were in mint condition during the beginning of the 2016 season, they were on fire in 2018.

The Minty Maniacs were challenged by the Bumblebees, a rookie team from the Bug Circuit that did not have the Marble League experience, but the energy and the drive to excel. The Minty Maniacs earned two golds, one silver, and one bronze before the final event, the Big Tower, and had the lead in the standings—but did not advance to the final. The Bumblebees did, and they won their fourth gold medal and the 2018 Hubelino Tournament in an underdog upset.

The Minty Maniacs just missed out on what would have been redemption for their 2018 Marble League season.

Regardless, the Minty Maniacs had so much to celebrate even without winning the 2018 Hubelino Tournament, with medals from the Catwalk, Funnel Spin, Block Bumping, Relay Race, and Maze as physical embodiments of their achievements. While fans were calling for the Minty Maniacs to return to the Marble League for 2019, the team was looking forward to the third season of the Hubelino Tournament. Unfortunately, that opportunity would not come.

“It was a combination of teams retiring, such as The Green Gang and Valiant Violets, and a lack of performance. Jelle did everything they could,” assured Minty Swirl, “but it was a lost cause. The lack of ticket revenue and interest from the fans made a third season infeasible.”

“Everyone just wanted to see the Marble League,” added Minty Flav. “And honestly, we get it.”

The team disbanded shortly after the 2018 Hubelino Tournament, returning to Herbotamia. During this time, they got in contact with the Chocolatiers, who had qualified for the 2019 Marble League, and they collaborated on a special Marble League-branded mint chocolate ice cream flavor named “Mint Chocolate Condition”. The proceeds went to support regional marble sports tournaments around the world.

The relegation system used from the 2019 season to the impending 2020 season.

Upon the announcement of the 2019 Marble League Showdown, the Minty Maniacs reunited to decide whether or not to come out of retirement to accept their spot, which was granted to them due to their second-place finish in the 2018 Hubelino Tournament. The team, with the encouragement of the Black Jacks and Golden Orbs, decided to reform and compete to either advance to the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers or remain in the Showdown league.

The Minty Maniacs were the only team that competed in the Showdown that had competed in the Marble League before and had never failed to qualify, and the only team to come out of retirement. Regardless, the team faced intense competition from Marble League veterans such as the Snowballs and Team Momo, as well as from rookies like the Hornets, known for their rivalry with the Bumblebees. The Minty Maniacs were in eleventh midway through the four-event tournament after Minty Drizzel finished the Sand Rally in eighth and the Maniacs placed last in Collision. They desperately needed a good finish to be able to advance.

A hint of a comeback for the Minty Maniacs…

Minty Swirl was tapped to compete in the Funnel Spin, and true to their name, they swirled around the funnels, advancing from their heat in third to earn a silver medal in the final. The team rose to sixth in the standings, above the Bumblebees, and became the first team to earn a medal in the Marble League, the Marble League Showdown, and the Hubelino Tournament. With their ninth-place finish in Balancing, the Minty Maniacs advanced to the 2020 Marble League Qualifiers just above the Shining Swarm: two centimeters ahead of them in Balancing and a silver medal tiebreak in the overall standings. 

This tiebreak made all the difference for the team, as they were approaching their best season yet, one that came out of nowhere.

Minty Hint, the team’s coach as of 2019, echoed the team’s optimism. “The Maniacs are competing for the right reasons. They would rather be honored by their laurels than contested by their rivals, and that positivity will get them far.”

Spear(mint)ing Ahead

an addendum by NordiqueWhaler

A few days after the Minty Maniacs arrived in Felynia, I met up with them to discuss the season they had in 2020. While we discussed that season, they showed me this journal that the team had recapping their journey to get here. I have been permitted by the Minties to share this with you. Enjoy it.

Spearminting Ahead: Life of the Minty Maniacs

21 March 2020

It’s been a long day and not much is happening with the team, mostly since we were not part of Marbula One this season. We are looking forward to competing again in Marble League 2020, but until then who knows. The team is visiting Thorston and we are going to be spectating tomorrow’s race at the Short Circuit. To keep the team motivated away from the field, I bought this journal at Wal-Marb today while shopping. I hope that someday we can pass this journal down to future generations to motivate them and keep it going. Right now we aren’t that team yet; we are coming off an eighth-place finish in the Showdown and made it over the relegation line by having a silver compared to the bronze medal of the Shining Swarm. I have a feeling by the end of Marble League 2020 we are going to change that. -Flav

22 March 2020

Yesterday Flav told me about this journal, and we all agreed to take part in it. Our friends, the Snowballs, invited us to watch the race at the Short Circuit so we all came up together to study some of our competition. It was a very competitive race with a lot of changes on the provisional podium. I wonder if our presence helped because Snowy ended up winning the race! The home fans were ecstatic as Shock gave the Thunderbolts another silver. Speedy would round out the podium. For some reason Sublime sulked at the end of the race, don’t know why. One day I want to be out on that track to give it a shot. Anyway, we met up with Snowy after the race to congratulate them on winning. They were grateful we came up to watch. -Fresh

18 May 2020

It’s just a month until the Qualifiers. We are training hard to make sure we can get in there and not have to worry about being right on the cutline. We want to make a statement this year by not only qualifying but also performing well, especially since last night John Rolliver did a segment on the Marble League during their show and then announced they were sponsoring the league altogether. John said that they would donate $5,000 to a food bank in the winning team’s name for each event and $20,000 to the International Rescue Committee from the overall winner of the Marble League. I showed the clip to Coach Hint and the team has set out a goal: to donate the most possible. -Flav

The Minties training for the Marble League, captured by Nordique Whaler.

11 June 2020

Today we left Chlorotopia and began our journey to Polaria for Marble League 2020. We didn’t get that big of a sendoff though, but that’s how we wanted it to be. The fans here, including Minty from the JMRC, will soon have something to cheer about. -Swirl

17 June 2020

Tomorrow is Qualifiers, and while the rest of the team is asleep I am getting some extra reps done outside the hotel. Coach told me I’m doing all four events, something that I don’t think has happened to any team in the Qualifiers. I’m ready to send the Minty Maniacs to the Marble League. -Fresh

18 June 2020

WE MADE IT! I really can’t explain it, but here goes. The team got sixth place in the Qualifiers, 11 points over the cutoff line! Our path has been set; now we can return to the 2020 Marble League and aim toward our goal of donating the most to food banks across Marblearth. It’s going to be a tough goal knowing our competition as the Savage Speeders, O’rangers, and Midnight Wisps all qualified along with the top three from last year. Oh, and remember the Bumblebees from the Hubelino Tournament? They made it too, and this will be their first Marble League! We can’t wait to compete with them again. Too bad the Snowballs couldn’t make it, but they said they will support us in our new #ColdForGold partnership. 

It looks like this Marble League is going to be pretty top-heavy, and we’re looking at a group of competitors where we have one of the lowest chances of winning. The Savage Speeders are entering as heavy favorites to win a second championship, and we are currently projected at thirteenth –our rank in 2018. I think we are going to prove a lot of experts wrong. -Drizzel

21 June 2020

One event! That was all it took! We entered the Marble League with only one expectation: to show we are competitive and better than 2018. Partaking in the Opening Ceremony again gave me chills, just like it did in 2018. That’s when you know you’ve made it. Today we did something even more impressive. With Balancing as the first event, we saw it being similar to Catwalk from the Hubelino Tournament that we won back in 2018. We took that on board and scored 380 which ended up holding for a gold medal! The fans who made the trip couldn’t believe it! Heck, I can’t believe it either! Just to share the podium with the last two champions is something else. We got the attention of the entire Marble League. Oh, and we are sending a $5,000 donation to a food bank as well, the first of more to come. -Flav

A big surprise to start Marble League 2020.

28 June 2020

If there were still any doubts, we just wrote them off. Our Halfpipe score broke the Marble League record set back in 2018 by the Balls of Chaos with a score of 33.75! The crowd erupted even louder than when we won in Balancing. The O’rangers later broke the record, but our score summed up was good enough for a bronze medal. Just two events in, we already have more medals than we did in 2018. -Fresh

This isn’t a one-off, the Minties are ready to contend now.

3 July 2020

This may have been the greatest day in our team history. I’ll start at the beginning. Coach picked me to go for Funnel Endurance. I was slated for the first heat and I was able to advance out of it. When I got to the top of the funnel tower I saw something interesting. The Snowballs fan section had Minty Maniacs signs and was supporting us in our ColdForGold friendship. It was empowering, and bizarre as well—I do not recall a fan section carrying another team’s signs in the past. The motivation allowed me to advance to the final by placing third in the heat. 

The final was something else. There were plenty of moments where all eight of us were in the funnel at the same time. However, I entered the final funnel before any of them. I knew what I had to do at that point to survive the onslaught from the other seven marbles. Shock fell first, then Honey. Cyan Eye, who was the last to enter, then dropped. That’s when I knew my plan was working. Clutter and Ducky were knocked in by Kinnowin, then Whizzy lost control before Kinnowin themselves fell. 

Just like that, we won our second gold and our third consecutive medal. The entire team rolled to the bottom to celebrate my accomplishment! I will never forget the reaction from my teammates. This now meant we would send another $5,000 to a food bank, and we would get to see John Rolliver send a check in our name again. ColdForGold indeed. -Drizzel

The Minties celebrate Minty Drizzel’s miraculous victory.

9 July 2020

All good streaks come to an end, for we were not able to get a medal in the Newton’s Cradle. Fresh and I were the last to go and we got 102.40 cm which was only good enough for sixth. It didn’t help to see the O’rangers go right before us and take the lead thanks to a strong oomph from Clementin and Tangerin getting launched far because of it. Sadly, we lost our lead to the O’rangers. We’ll try to get it back. After all, we entered the Marble League with few expectations. -Flav

12 July 2020

I got my chance to do my first individual event this season in the Long Jump, and I was able to finish in eighth. Better yet, the O’rangers finished below us, so we got the lead back! -Swirl

16 July 2020

Today was the Hurdles and while I was able to advance out of my heat, Yellow Eye just blew us all away in the semifinal. My time was still good enough to finish in eighth, but I could’ve been better. Hopefully, Razzy is alright after taking a hard hit at the end in the other semifinal. -Flav

19 July 2020

That block is stronger than it looks, and the Midnight Wisps make it look like it’s a feather! Unfortunately, the team didn’t do well today and got fourteenth in Block Pushing. We fell to third in the standings, but that is still a good spot to be in. -Fresh

23 July 2020

The Triathlon was a lot of fun to go down. Orangin and Shock were too good for me to advance past either one of them and I got stuck in third for pretty much the entire heat. We fell off a provisional podium spot, but we now have a new goal in the second half: to finish the season on the podium. -Drizzel

26 July 2020

We’ve gone through a slump the last few events, and with Coach Hint putting out the new goal of finishing the season on the podium, I decided as captain to have a members-only meeting to prepare to exceed that goal, right before I went into the Sand Moguls. I went in the first heat and was able to advance alongside Ocean. I would later get into the final after winning the semifinal against Hazy. 

Knowing that none of the final participants were ahead of us in the standings at the time, I took a risk and gave Ocean a little bump draft to help end their drought. It worked out well for both of us, as Ocean won gold and I got bronze. The two of us shared a moment on the podium as Ocean was crying tears of joy. This day could be a turning point in our season, as we have jumped back into second in the standings. -Flav

The captain gets bronze and shares a moment with Ocean.

31 July 2020

The Sprint was pushed back a day due to some issues in the Andromedome. That allowed me some extra time to prepare myself for the fastest event in the Marble League. Even after I advanced out of the heat with Smoggy, I was stunned when it was confirmed that Smoggy broke the Yarble Yellers’ record that predated the Marble League itself. That’s when I knew I needed to be perfect in the semis and the final if I got there. 

I advanced to the final with a clean run and stayed off the walls. The final was against Razzy, Sea, and Velocity of the Savage Speeders. The race would be decided at the finish line as after Velocity hit the wall a few times, Sea and I were neck and neck the entire race. After the photo finish was revealed, my emotions went through the roof. I had just taken home our third gold medal this tournament and in turn, sent another $5,000 to a food bank in our name. Shortly after the event, I saw an article about how our mission to win was to help marbles in need and how it has captured the hearts of Marblearth. We are now in the lead again in both the standings and donations! -Fresh

Minty Fresh’s breakthrough moment.

2 August 2020

Reserve here, and yeah… I’m not going to write about the Black Hole Funnel run with Drizzel. -Mint

6 August 2020

Very disappointed with fifteenth in the Relay. There are only four events left; we sit twenty points behind the O’rangers, ten behind the Speeders, and currently one point ahead of the Wisps for the podium. I want the team to finish strong to achieve both goals this season. In the meantime, Flav submitted a last-second bid to host Marble League 2021 next season at Pepper Field. -Fresh

9 August 2020

The High Jump was something new for all of us, but I decided to give it a go. Early on I had no problem clearing all the jumps from 35.5 cm to 37.5 cm. I had a hiccup at 38 cm but I was able to get over the bar on the second try. 38.5 cm would be my downfall. My performance was okay at ninth, but Mandarin would win the event giving the O’rangers a big lead. -Swirl

11 August 2020

The team ran into some bad luck in the Aquathlon. Our heat time was the third-best of all sixteen teams—the problem was we were paired with the Hazers who had the best time. Worse yet, the Midnight Wisps won the event and knocked us off the provisional podium. The title needs a lot to happen, but the podium is still doable. We will need to net fourteen more points than the Wisps to get it. -Drizzel

13 August 2020

Dread it, run from it, Collision arrives all the same. 

This was the event we had circled because it’s the one that can make or break a season entirely. We found out we were put in Group C along with the Raspberry Racers, Oceanics, and Balls of Chaos. The results were a tie with the Razzies and Oceanics and a win over Balls of Chaos. That was good enough for us to advance to the bracket round. The quarterfinal had us against the Green Ducks who had taken down the O’rangers in their group. Thanks to a late ball bearing knocking one of the Ducks off, we made it to the semifinal. 

The semifinal was controversial. We noticed the Savage Speeders had lined up in an asymmetrical formation. The Speeders would defeat us badly in the semifinal 4-1. After the match, I contacted the JMRC about that formation and was told there was nothing in the rulebook preventing it. Thankfully we got over that and the team defeated the Hazers 4-2 in the third-place match to take home our sixth medal, a bronze. 

While it meant that we were eliminated from winning the Marble League, we didn’t focus on that too much. The fact that we’re this far up in the standings with Marble League champions is such an honor. We never expected to win, but if we can score ten more points than the Wisps in the final…we can finish the season on the podium. Let’s do it the best way possible: win and be the team that sent the most money to food banks, and have the Wisps be third or lower.

One last thing: O’rangers, how did you blow a 35 point lead in 2 events? -Flav

The Minties and Hazers battle for the bronze, moments before impact.

15 August 2020

The Showdown was today. While Minty Fresh was getting ready for tomorrow’s Marathon, the rest of the team and myself decided to spectate the Showdown and root for the Snowballs and Chocolatiers—while enjoying some Mint Chocolate Condition. The Chocs did pretty well, finishing on the podium thanks to gold in the Halfpipe. The Snowballs, unfortunately, did not fare well after blowing it in the Relay final, and it all snowballed from there. They finished tenth overall, and we felt pretty bad considering the ColdForGold partnership we had with them. The Kobalts came out of nowhere to win the Showdown just one year after finishing in the bottom four. Glad to see they overcame their struggles. -Swirl

16 August 2020

This was it, the final event. One race stood between us and the podium. As the Sprint winner, I was destined to bring the speed from there to the Marathon: to achieve both our podium goal and fund goal. Though I ranked last in the placement race, it didn’t matter much to me, even with no Marbula One experience. 

As soon as the gate opened, I was off. In just three laps I went from sixteenth to fifth, and just two laps later, I was in third. However, Wospy was running strong early on and was even in a position to win the Marble League. Wospy would tire out and soon it was just Yellup and myself. The two of us would battle for the lead for the next ten laps. After the battle midway through the race, Yellup was gone from my sight and it was just me in front. All I had to do was hold on, and the podium was ours. No experience, no problem. I had crossed the line three seconds ahead of Yellup. A seventh medal, a fourth gold, and a podium spot. I had just put the finishing touch on a remarkable season for the Maniacs. We had achieved both our podium goals and donated the most money to food banks of all teams with $20,000. 

John Rolliver loved our story so much that they put a photo of us in the studio. In addition, I was named Most Valuable Marble for being the second double gold medalist in a Marble League. The three of us on the podium donated a total of $50,000 to food banks and the Savage Speeders donated an additional $20,000 to the International Rescue Committee for winning the Marble League. Altogether, the donations were $100,000. 

We felt honored for what we were able to contribute to Marblearth, so we decided to celebrate after the ceremony and we brought the Oceanics along for their improvement. Before I went over, I saw Wospy in the hallway, dejected about falling in the Marathon. I tried to support them saying they did their best and that there will be next year, but they told me they weren’t sure if they would ever get the opportunity again like in 2018. I saw the Wisps in 2018 when we made our Marble League debut, and from what I have seen they will get their chance another year. 

For now, we can look back on a successful Marble League. -Fresh

Minty Fresh becomes the second double gold medalist in Marble League history (following Starry in 2017).

17 August 2020

Hello, Coach Minty Hint here. I did not know about the Minty Maniacs journal until Minty Flav showed it to me this morning. So I figured I should write something in it as well. I am very proud of what the Minty Maniacs have accomplished over the past couple of months. They have proven that they can compete with the big teams no matter the circumstances and have given hope to marbles across Marblearth by their commitment to donating the most to food banks around Marblearth. The team donated $20,000, so I am going to match that and send another $20,000 to food banks. They deserved their podium moment forever. I got a call from my cousin Spearmint who watched back in Chlorotopia; the Minties have taken the Herbotamia region by storm and the fans can’t wait to greet their team when we come home. Thank you Team Galactic for being gracious hosts throughout the tournament. We plan on leaving Polaria on the nineteenth. Well done Minties!

#MintCondition -Hint

The Minties celebrate their best season to date.

18 August 2020

Before leaving Polaria, we decided to have one last giveaway for charity. We teamed up with the Kobalts yesterday for a two-day bake sale before the teams and their fans returned home, with the proceeds going toward marbles in need. Special thanks to Cerulean for coming up with the idea before we left. The teams put their shares in as well. Team Galactic, as hosts, bought a giant Kobalt cake. The Chocolatiers bought a few lava cakes with Mint Chocolate Condition on them. 

The O’rangers bought ten boxes of Mint Donuts—I don’t know why they wanted 120 donuts, but that’s what Clementin ordered for the team members and some VIP fans. Together, we raised enough to help thousands of marbles in need across the regions of Herbotamia and Zuro regions. -Drizzel

19 August 2020

We bid farewell to Polaria and all the memories we made here. Team Galactic put on quite a Marble League to remember. As our plane touched down in Chlorotopia, a large fan base surrounded us. It was an honor to represent the Herbotamia region in the Marble League and seeing all of these fans cheer is a moment we will remember for the rest of our lives. We did not do a parade like the Savage Speeders, but we did speak to the crowd, thanking them for supporting us for years. We look forward to seeing many of the fans in Felynia. -Flav

08 September 2020

It’s been a while since we wrote anything here. Fresh thought about having a big Hubelino reunion and making it a new version of the Herbotamia Tournament we used to compete in. I loved the idea so much I sent out messages to our former competitors if they want to reunite with us. They are all coming, plus the Bumblebees will be joining us as well. Since it would be uneven with nine teams, we invited the Yarble Yellers, Grape Nuts, and Team Plasma as well, to have the tournament modeled after the Showdown. It will be private and limited to family, friends, and VIP members. It will be nice to catch up with the other teams to see how they have been since we last saw them. -Flav

21 September 2020

We will be having the tournament tomorrow, but in the meantime, we all got to meet up with the teams and play some Marbles and Monoliths together. Some of them were inspired by our story that they want to return to the Marble League someday. It’ll be awesome to have an official competition with the Hubelino teams again. -Swirl

The Minty Maniacs met with some of the members of the Bumblebees, Team Phoenix, Bluefastics, Green Gang, Yarble Yellers, Black Jacks, and Team Plasma (with a new look). Captured by Nordique Whaler.

22 September 2020

The tournament was a huge success! Who won? We won’t say because we are not allowed to post the results. Some of the teams still have the competitive spirit in them. Maybe they were right about rejoining the Marble League down the line. We might have another Herbotamia Tournament down the line. Who knows? -Drizzel

16 October 2020

Today I got word from Coach Hint that Drizzel and I are going to be participating in Marbula One Season 2! We were excited about having the chance to race there with the other teams, especially now that the field has grown. Even better yet, Minty Mania is going to be the site of the first race of the season! I already dashed out to the track to do some practice laps with Drizzel. Knowing that I won the Marathon and Drizzel had a good season, we could be a contending team here as well. -Fresh

The official promotional poster for the Minty Maniacs in Marbula One Season 2, designed by Jack Ironhide.

7 November 2020

I’m so embarrassed. It was the season opener that we hosted and I failed to qualify. I was the worst qualifier. The fans had high expectations for us, and I let them down. -Drizzel

8 November 2020

Since we hosted, I stomached through the race, even though I had to watch from the stands instead. We were all concerned about Speedy after they came into the belt too fast from the banked curve early on and fell into the mechanism. Yellow Eye won the race with Momo and Mallard rounding out the podium. After the race, all of us went to check on Speedy, who ended up being alright after the fall.

They’ll race again. -Drizzel

14 November 2020

This has not gone well. After Drizzel failed to qualify on our home track, I couldn’t make it at the O’raceway, finishing in seventeenth. We’re the only team to not qualify for both races so far. Knowing the next track is hosted by the Bumblebees, we might get some practice laps at the old Hivedrive. It’s not like the Hornets need it right now. -Fresh

22 November 2020

The third time’s the charm as I was able to send us to our first race of the season at the Honeydome! I got through to Q2 as well, already a massive improvement. I was mostly stuck in the middle of the race, but an eighth-place is better than what the other two races were. Plus, it got us out of last and into sixteenth. Next week, Fresh runs at the Aquamaring. -Drizzel

27 November 2020

I thought that after Drizzel qualified last week that “Okay, it’s doable to come in.” Nope. It was the worst time for everybody who completed the lap and I will have to watch the race again instead of competing. I did go with the other racers after the qualifier to check in on Yellup, making sure they were alright after the hard fall. -Fresh

5 December 2020

I won’t talk about the race much, I got twelfth today at the Tumult Turnpike. All I will say about it is that this may have been the best track for the whole season—it did live up to the name. In the meantime, the team is planning on hosting something for the holidays. I think the teams will enjoy this. -Drizzel

11 December 2020

This hurts, as I have failed to qualify again for a third time at Arctic Circuit. The first half of M1 has not been kind to us. Drizzel and I will be much better for the second half because 19th in teams, plus 29th and 39th in individuals, is highly unacceptable for us. 

I tried to take my mind off of not qualifying by spending some time up in the Snoronto region for the race today at Arctic Circuit. Snowflake Slope lives up to the hype. -Fresh

13 December 2020

The Snowballs had a holiday party with all the teams in Season 2 before they all went back to their hometowns. Jelle was also there, and they took the opportunity to offer us the chance to host a five-event special tournament in our stadium up in the Himarblelayas. We unanimously signed on to host it! This will help the teams stay in shape during the midseason break, especially us, because we need anything to improve ourselves. Jelle said they will take care of which teams will participate. We were allowed to spread the word to a few of the teams there. Team Galactic offered to provide a few props since this tournament is happening on short notice. Should be a nice tournament and a winter getaway. -Flav

Most of the Marbula One teams having fun in the snow, captured by Nordique Whaler.

21 December 2020

Our Wintergreen Stadium is almost set for the Winter Special, and we got word on which teams were going to participate. A lot of teams from the last Marble League are coming, and we also are having the Snowballs come by in hopes to reignite ColdForGold. The Chocolatiers and Pinkies are the other two teams even though neither are in Marbula One this season. Special thanks to JMR and Team Galactic for helping out the construction and to Glide, former Gliding Glaciers athlete, who came to set up the Bobsled track. There will be familiarity with these five events as they all are from 2018. -Flav

3 January 2021

A day we have been waiting our entire lives for: to carry the torch in the Opening Ceremony of a Marble League. It gave us great emotions to see the fans from all over cheer as the teams rolled out together. Now it was time to compete again. The first event was the same as the previous winter edition: the Ice Dash. The start of this tournament didn’t go well, as I did not advance and finished last in the group behind a record performance by Blue Eye. I placed tenth, but it felt nice to be competing in front of the Chlorotopia faithful. -Drizzel

The Minties carry the torch for the opening ceremony of the Winter Special.

9 January 2021

We made some changes to the Snowboard Cross compared to the 2018 version—the obstacles will now be made of the honeycomb Gravitrax parts, similar to the ones from the Honeydome and Hivedrive. The change didn’t do much for us as I got eleventh, only one spot better than the 2018 version. The final was intense to watch, as Aqua and Bolt battled in a photo finish where Aqua would come out on top. It’s nice to see the Oceanics win again after being able to share the podium moment back in the Marble League. Gee, what if they win our tournament? -Flav

16 January 2021

Guess who’s back? The Freshest Marble in the League! It had been a hard month and a half for me after failing to qualify for three races, but now that we are doing a special Marble League, I feel right at home. Even though Ocean would beat me in my heat, it was fast enough to take home a bronze medal, and it feels good to see one of these again. Perhaps this could help motivate the team heading into the second half of Marbula One when we are done here. -Fresh

Minty Fresh gets another podium.

23 January 2021

We were looking forward to this event, as we went down the Bobsled track the Glaciers provided for us. Early on there were some issues with the test team, but we decided to flip the bobsled upside down and that worked for everyone. The O’rangers set a big standard by breaking the Glaciers’ record on the track with 6.541 seconds. We felt we could challenge that, and while we did not break the record, we turned in a very impressive 6.761 seconds, which earned us a silver! While it was drowned out by the O’s, our fans gave us a loud ovation for podiuming two events in a row. There is still a slight chance we can win the Special if we win Ice Hockey. -Swirl

30 January 2021

The bracket for Ice Hockey was seeded by where we were in the standings. As the fifth seed, we faced the twelfth seed Midnight Wisps in a rematch of the 2018 Hockey Final. This time, we claimed revenge by defeating them 2-1. There was still hope for a title as the Oceanics and Thunderbolts were upset in the first round, but the O’rangers ended our hopes with a 3-1 win. However, they too would not win the title after they lost in the semifinal. 

Guess who ended up winning the Special? The Oceanics! While we hoped it would’ve been us, the Oceanics were the next team who we felt deserved a title. After what they went through, especially in 2019, this is their ultimate redemption! 

Congratulations to Ocean and their team for dominating our special. We ended up in sixth which is better than a lot of hosts in both Marble League and Marbula One. -Flav

The marble-eye view of going down the bobsled track.

20 February 2021

It’s been a while since any of us wrote in this, but we’re back on the circuit for the start of the second half of Marbula One. We’re still very far behind, so Drizzel and I are pretty much competing for pride the rest of the way, just to see if we can salvage something. The first stop was down in Lewara at the Raceforest. There, I was able to qualify for the first time all season! I got to Q3 and ended up in fourth place. Still, that is our best starting position all season. The race was tight, though I recovered and finished eighth! We’re still very far behind so Drizzel and I are pretty much competing for pride the rest of the way just to see if we can salvage something. -Fresh

27 February 2021

Momotorway was not a fun race for us—I got thirteenth. The Crazy Cat’s Eyes won again and essentially knocked out half the teams for the title in one race. It feels inevitable that they are going to win the team title and get both marbles on the podium for the racer title. They eliminated half the teams from winning the championship with their sixth medal of the season.-Drizzel

13 March 2021

This entry isn’t about our performance; I got tenth at Palette Park. But I am writing a special note to Wospy, who we saw in tears after the Marathon. They turned it all the way around and held off Speedy at the end to win the first Marbula One race of their career! Seeing Wospy on the top step of the podium gave us relief, because it still bothered me that I knocked them off the podium in the Marble League. It may not be an auto-qualifier, but a nice job to them on overcoming their internal struggles. -Fresh

27 March 2021

There was a delay in the schedule for the tenth race at Misty Mountain. Simply put, none of us knew where in the world the Hazers were so they had to help nearly every team get there by…however we got here? Anyway, back to the race. I got twelfth in qualifiers and the race, but the race itself was on another level. Clutter went into the safety marble lane, which I didn’t think was possible. Then, Bumble hit the wall hard after a collision with Cerulean and got stuck. We all tried to help free them but we could not, due to the angle they were at. This was just a mess of a race. -Drizzel

3 April 2021

This is big. We have just received word from Jelle that the Jawbreakers and Hornets will no longer take part in the Marble League going forward. Since the Savage Speedway GP is a little far off, we decided to propose a mini tournament to Jelle, where eight teams participate in and the top two teams there earn spots in the Marble League Qualifiers! Each of the main team members will pick two teams, but we cannot tell the teams the reward. This will be the Herbotamia Invitational. -Flav

5 April 2021

I did some research on some teams that could still compete. The Fruit Circuit just had a reunion not so long ago and the Fruit Circuit was one of the biggest tournaments before the Marble League started up. I figured out that since the Yarble Yellers and Grape Nuts came by for our Herbotamia reunion a while back they could join in. Both of them agreed to send their teams over! -Swirl

6 April 2021

Our team came out of retirement, then came out of nowhere to get a podium. So in honor of that past, I went out to seek some teams that once competed but never got to shine in the main tournament. The first team I reached out to was Team Plasma since they were at our Herbotamia Tournament. I contacted Fearo about bringing their team over for the tournament and they accepted without hesitation. 

As for the other team, I was struggling with who to find, but then I remembered Glide, who was captain of the Gliding Glaciers. They did help reconstruct the bobsled track in our winter special, but could they still compete? I called Glide this morning and they told me the other team members had left well before. However, Glide said they wanted to recruit some new marbles and preserve the Gliding Glaciers name; Glide, meanwhile, would become their coach. Flav approved of this and said they had a few weeks to get a team set. Glide said they could find a team in not even a week. -Fresh 

10 April 2021

I wanted to find some low-profile teams that didn’t have an international following but had a good regional base. The Oceanics gave me some insider info about the Balls of Flame, a team they used to compete against in the Seven Seas Circuit. They had a big following in that region, mostly known for their slogan #CheckEm. That was all I needed to know before inviting them.

The other team I wanted to bring along was one that Team Galactic told us about before the Winter Special and how they became friends in the Stardust Classic. This team, the Solar Flares, competed in a couple of other tournaments as well, such as Ocho’s Marble Competition. I figured, why not take a chance on them. Starry gave me Flare’s contact info and Flare informed me they’ll come over with the team! -Drizzel

11 April 2021

It wouldn’t be Herbotamia without some Hubelino teams. I guess this tournament is Herbotamia in name only, because it’s even bigger than the teams could imagine—it’s like a qualifier for the qualifiers. 

I could only invite two teams, and we have seven that were interested in joining. I eliminated the Bluefastics and the Green Gang to start, because their uniforms were too similar to those of the Oceanics and Team Momo, respectively. I also eliminated the Ruby Rollers because we already have the Rojo Rollers. That left me with the Black Jacks, Golden Orbs, Team Phoenix, and Valiant Violets. 

The Black Jacks was a team I invited without hesitation, because they were one of the most popular teams in our tournament. As for the other team, I took a chance on the Valiant Violets, because we don’t have any purple-uniformed teams in the Marble League. After contacting the rest of the Minties, we have all the teams set, so I chose a date for the Herbotamia Invitational. That day will be April 13th. -Flav

12 April 2021

The Herbotamia Invitational is tomorrow. My teammates put the finishing touches on Pepper Field while Coach and I helped the teams get prepared for the tournament. We brought the Indigo Stars along to promote a partnership charity with the Isle Hyu Conservation Foundation to help preserve the wildlife near the Stars’ home. They are also going to help us prepare the event as a neutral host, and they will watch from the box with us along with some superfans and VIPs. We’re going to treat this like a real Marble League under the Herbotamia name, and for two of these teams, their lives are going to drastically change forever. -Mint

The logo for the Herbotamia Invitational, designed by Stynth (using the official Minties’ logo by Tim Ritz).

13 April 2021

“Welcome to a very special edition of the Herbotamia Invitational! We have selected eight teams who have not been in a major competition for a long time to get some action back in a five-event tournament. I have been given two envelopes from a secret marble that contain the prize for two of the teams.” 

Then the teams all came out one by one, just like in the Marble League. The first event was Balancing, which ended up being our first gold from last season. Right from the start, we were flabbergasted as the Solar Flares, a team Drizzel threw in, had the best start by getting a 423, just 15 short of the Hazers’ Marble League record in 2019. They would easily take home the gold by 43 more than Team Plasma and another four back to the Gliding Glaciers. I’ll hand it over to Drizzel as they won the funnels last season. -Flav

We brought back the funnel tower from Marble League 2020 in the same order as well: five orange funnels and five green ones. I remember the final run I had last year and I told the teams my strategy of getting gold. I can tell Vivid of the Valiant Violets ignored my lesson as they interpreted the event the other way around by going down the funnel in record time… which means last. Flame of the Balls of Flame, Spade from the Black Jacks, Craisen from the Grape Nuts, and Gloomo from Team Plasma would all go through in that order. Yell from the Yarble Yellers would take home a bronze medal, leaving it down to the Flares and Glaciers. Radiance ended up with silver and Frost from the Gliding Glaciers took home a surprising gold. Currently, the two we are advancing are the Solar Flares and Gliding Glaciers. Next up, our long-lasting sprinter Fresh will recap their event. -Drizzel

Sprint was my event submission, because it felt obligatory to include a triple crown event in a Marble League-style tournament. The underdog Solar Flares are still rolling strong advancing out of their heat alongside Fearo of Team Plasma. The other heat had Sheet of the Gliding Glaciers and Yap of the Yarble Yellers move on. Sheet’s run was one of the smoother runs of the entire tournament and followed my advice of preserving energy at the end of the race. In the final of the race, it was Fearo who would take home gold, just beating out Sheet in a photo finish. With Flare taking home a bronze, the standings were tight as the Flares and Glaciers were tied in points and Plasma was just two behind. Collision would help clear things out. -Fresh

Things got interesting right away when the Valiant Violets were able to upset Team Plasma which put a major dent in their top two hopes, because both the Solar Flares and Gliding Glaciers advanced, beating the Grape Nuts and Black Jacks respectively. The other quarterfinal had the Yarble Yellers take down the Balls of Flame. The Gliding Glaciers did their part by defeating the Valiant Violets in the most lopsided matchup. The other side had an upset as the Yarble Yellers stunned the Solar Flares to advance to the Collision final. It was even more stunning that the Violets would steal the bronze medal after a Flare marble that was teetering on the edge fell off after a planet marble hit it. The final had the Yarble Yellers knocking off the other top team, the Gliding Glaciers, and the AAAAAA chant rained down. The final event was the Minty Mania GP, the same track from Marbula One Season 2. The Gliding Glaciers led 32-28 over the Solar Flares for the title with Team Plasma the next closest at 23. The Yarble Yellers would need a miracle to win as they were at 22.

-Mint

The final event was pretty tight, though we had a scare when Salvia of the Valiant Violets fell off the track after a hard hit from Phanto on the banked curve. Ember of the Solar Flares was leading for most of the race and Iceberg could not get into the top three, being stuck between fourth and sixth the entire race. A late run from Nuthin of the Grape Nuts did not derail Ember at all as they would finish second to them and Diamond of the Black Jacks, who started on pole, finished in third. The Solar Flares had pulled off the stunner of stunners by winning the Herbotamia Invitational by one point over the Gliding Glaciers, but both technically won as they will be the two teams joining the Marble League. The reaction when Jelle revealed themselves and invited them in marble was one of the greatest moments in our lives! -Swirl

Overall, the tournament was a huge success, and Jelle proposed to use the format we had down the line in case another expansion comes along. We accepted without hesitation! We can’t wait to see the Solar Flares and Gliding Glaciers compete with us and all the other teams and we wish them the best of luck going forward. Now it’s back to Marbula One, and hopefully, we can cherish something out of the season. -Fresh

The final standings of the Herbotamia Invitational. Table designed by Stynth; team logos designed by Fouc (Solar Flares), MightyCucumber (Gliding Glaciers, Yarble Yellers, Team Plasma, Grape Nuts, Black Jacks, Valiant Violets), and BHG+JMR (Balls of Flame).

24 April 2021

The penultimate race of the season and my final race of the season was anything but a race. Yeah, we were all racing for second because Red Eye just blew the entire field away with an 8+ second win. I ended up in ninth and that ended my Marbula One season with 12 points and no hardware. I am very disappointed in my performance for the season and felt I could have done better. Just never got over failing to qualify at home. Just know this: in Marble League 2021 we will be way better. -Drizzel

1 May 2021

Saved our best performance for last. It took us twelve races to finish in the top five, and after I tied for our best qualifier to start in fourth, I finished in fifth at Midnight Bay. Even then, it still feels like the season was a big letdown. Eighteenth in team standings, 21st and 37th in the racer standings is unacceptable for our standards. It was even more embarrassing to find out the Minty Maniacs were one of two teams never to lead at any point, and, ironically, our ColdForGold partner, the Snowballs, was the other team. Maybe Marbula One isn’t for us, but we have a Marble League coming up and we are already there no matter what happens. Now we set our eyes on doing well there. -Fresh

7 May 2021

An opportunity has arisen for one marble on each team to come to Felynia and get a practice run on CCE’s sand rally course tomorrow. Drizzel volunteered to represent us and all of us agreed to send them there. They will get a chance to scout out the area as well since we are getting closer to Marble League 2021. The team is looking forward to going to Felynia, as many marbles said it is going to be quite a show that the Crazy Cat’s Eyes put on. The new stadium is also going to be the largest one on Marblearth yet. Fortunately, we get to watch the qualifiers and wait for the friendly. The rest of us will join Drizzel in Felynia later. -Flav

14 May 2021

I still feel emotional about seeing the Flares and Glaciers become Marble League teams, but now it’s time to focus on the present moment. I got to Felynia last night, and this morning, we met with one member of each team to participate in a practice race as a warmup to Marble League 2021. It was surprising to see Candy from the Jawbreakers and Vespa from the Hornets here, as they were retired, but they each wanted to give it one last run before riding off into the sunset. I ended up finishing in fifteenth, but the race results didn’t matter, as it was just a friendly run to warm up. The marbles had a lot of fun going down the Cat’s Dunes, especially Indie and Rojo Uno, who surprised us all by being the top two in the race. I guess they don’t call this day the “Day of Legends” for nothing. After the race, Indie, Bonbon, Snowstorm, and I went to hang out for dinner at a local favorite in Felynia, talking about what we have got ahead of us for Marble League 2021. The falafel was delicious! -Drizzel

11 June 2021

We bid the fans in Chlorotopia farewell again; this time, the sendoff was much larger compared to the one we had last year at this time. When we got there, we reunited with Drizzel at the Marble Hotel in Felynia, and then, met up with them for some dumplings that night. We saw the Gliding Glaciers there as well, who were very humbled to be part of our tournament and to have the opportunity to become an official Marble League team. 

The two of us reminisced on our journeys. Alpine told me that if they qualified and eventually finished on the podium, they would credit us for allowing the Glaciers to compete at all. After what I have seen, that’s not out of the question. We came out of retirement and finished in third…they can do the same thing, right? I’d like it and would like it even better if we were on the top step, but that’s for another day.

All I know is the journey has been quite a rollercoaster, and my teammates have been some of the best marbles anyone could know. We touched so many marbles and teams in the past year alone, and we are looking forward to making a difference in the years to come. -Flav

The Minties and Glaciers meet for dinner, joined by Momomomo. (Photo Credit: Nordique Whaler).

End of Journal.

In RetRollSpective, the Minty Maniacs have one of the most interesting histories competing in tournaments, from friendlies to the Marble League, with varying degrees of success. Although they were once worried about the future of marble sports, their embrace has made the sports better, just by their presence and determination to keep on. Their 2020 season will go down as one of the most historic runs any team has had in JMR history and their passion for helping others, whether it’s by donating to food banks or allowing teams to join the Marble League, has empowered many other marbles around Marblearth. With hope, the Minty Maniacs will truly realize their potential and do well in future tournaments. Best of luck to them in the near future, keep on rolling!

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