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 Balls of Chaos, a team that debuted in the first season of the Marble League. Read on to find out how this team has raged against the competition!
The Balls of Chaos are one of the oldest teams in marble sports history, dating back to the beginning of the millennium. They hail from Hunluen, the most populated city in the world, as well as the largest. The city was established in the third century when part of the Om civilization migrated northeast in search of riches and found a flat plain in the center of several tributaries. The city eventually spread past the boundaries of its rivers and extended southeast towards the bay. This southward expansion became a hub for innovation in the nineteenth century, but it also attracted the attention of other civilizations. After much negotiation, the Hunluenians opened their city to these civilizations.
The city is known for its oriental architecture, which evolved from Om architecture to become far more stylized, reaching out in all directions. This style is adapted from the Arms of Chaos, a universal symbol that the Hunluenians have lived by. The symbol is representative of infinite possibilities by any means necessary, a principle that defined the marbles’ foundations in the city and the opportunities that lay within. It is, similarly, the principle that the Balls of Chaos have lived by for almost twenty years. When Anarchy, Clutter, Tumult, and Snarl started competing in marble sports tournaments as younger marbles, it seemed extremely unlikely that the team would ever make it to international competition. The team was competing in youth leagues and placing consistently in the bottom half of the final standings. Why did they go on?
“We love what we do, plain and simple,” said Tumult. “No matter how good or bad we do, we keep playing. We keep competing because we know we can always do better. We’ve failed so much that it doesn’t hurt us anymore. Failing will never make us quit.”
The team kept training together throughout their formal schooling and were accepted to university on account of their marble rallying performance record, which, by the end of their senior year, was remark-marble. During their college years, the four began competing in regional marble tournaments alongside the Pinkies. They were the only team that was still in university that participated in the MFC Championship League and came very close to victory in 2014 with a fourth-place finish.
In 2015, the Marble League was announced as an international marble sports tournament. Three spots for the inaugural season were allotted to the MFC Championship League, and it originally seemed as if the Balls of Chaos would not get an invitation. The top three finishers, however, declined the invitation to stay in the MFC, and the Balls of Chaos were offered a spot, which they accepted. The Pinkies accepted their invitation after the fifth-place finisher declined, and, afterward, the third spot was ceded to a different competitor due to the MFC’s general lack of interest in the Marble League.
The Balls of Chaos entered the 2016 Marble League as badly as they possibly could have, with two finishes in dead last, one of those being a disqualification. The team finally reached positive points in the standings in the fifth event, Long Jump, where Clutter earned one point in seventh place. The team, notably, is the only team so far to have had less than zero points in the standings at the end of not only one event, but two. This was also their last event of the season in last place, although they were now tied with the Oceanics for fifteenth place.
The team had already started to turn the team’s fortune around in Collision and with Snarl’s performance in the Sand Rally, but they now continued in full force, earning at least one point per event until Quartet Diving, where they earned their third last place of the season. The Balls of Chaos notably earned their first bronze medal with Clutter’s run in the 10 Meter Sprint and their first silver medal in Team Pursuit. These two finishes ensured that the Balls of Chaos were out of the basement regardless of how the final few events went. The team placed fourth in Precision Slalom before going scoreless for the last two events and finished the 2016 Marble League in an impressive eighth place. In fact, the team was tied with the Jawbreakers in points but were just behind in medal count. Despite a rough start to the season, the Balls of Chaos, as promised, did better.
However, the 2017 Marble League Qualifiers were not as kind to the team. After staying in the clear for the first half, a fourteenth-place finish in Block Pushing and a ninth place in Funnel Spinning doomed the Balls of Chaos to the bottom four teams in the standings. The Balls of Chaos failed to qualify for the 2017 Marble League.
After making a brief cameo in the 2017 Marble League’s closing ceremony, the Balls of Chaos returned in the 2018 Marble League Draw along with the Rojo Rollers and the Kobalts, two of the three other teams that missed qualification in 2017. The Snowballs were the fourth team, but since they were chosen as hosts, they did not need to qualify. The Balls of Chaos placed into Group C for Qualifiers and soared, finishing third in Curling and second in the Snow Race and 5 Meter Ice Dash.
By the end of the third event, they were already qualified for the 2018 Marble League and finished in their group with 25 points. This was the highest finish in points out of every team that participated in Qualifiers. The tournament was not without controversy, however, as Team Primary got into a fight with the Balls of Chaos during the Halfpipe event. Team Primary was not penalized for instigating the fight, but the team had already failed to qualify for their third Marble League. The Balls of Chaos, on the other hand, were just getting started.
Tumult started the 2018 season off well, with a fifth-place finish in the 5 Meter Ice Dash. Anarchy took that energy and, well, dashed off with it, earning a gold medal and setting a Marble League record in the Ski Jump. The team collectively earned a gold medal in Halfpipe, in fact improving on their appearance in Qualifiers, and rising into first place overall. Despite finishing in fifteenth in the Bobsled event, the Balls of Chaos remained in the top spot.
Team Primary’s return to the Marble League, in the form of Team Momary, admittedly threw the Balls of Chaos for a loop. “That’s something we would have never seen coming,” Anarchy admitted. “We may surprise our fans here and there, but that is something we would never think of doing—especially after picking a fight with another team.”
Fans wondered if the rivalry between Team Primary and the Balls of Chaos would resurface as a result of this, but it never did. However, the difference in the latter’s performance was readily apparent. The Balls of Chaos fell behind, placing mostly in the bottom half of the standings for the rest of the season. Anarchy rejuvenated the team with a silver medal in the eighth event, Snowboard Cross, and a return to second place overall. However, the team continued to lag in team events, touching down in seventh place before earning a bronze medal in the final event, the Sand Mogul Race. This boosted the team back to fifth place overall, the very same place where they started the 2018 Marble League and would end it in.
“It was a great first season to be a part of. We really put ourselves out there,” Disarray, the new reserve member, stated with pride.
Expectations for the Balls of Chaos were understandably high for the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers, with the team having finished in the top ten of the 100 meter Water Race. The Balls of Chaos finished second in Funnel Spinning and third in the Relay Race, which, with a few subpar finishes, was enough for the team to qualify for their third Marble League in seventh place. The Balls of Chaos, notably, were the only team from 2016 that missed qualifications in 2017 but qualified for 2018 and 2019. The Snowballs, unfortunately, missed the cut for the 2019 Marble League in eighteenth place.
The Balls of Chaos’ 2019 season played out similarly to their 2016 season—that is, it was underwhelming until the end. The team placed in the lower middle of the standings for nine out of sixteen events, earning between two and six points. Their most notable finishes prior to the penultimate event were a fourth-place finish by Anarchy in Funnel Spinning and a seventh-place finish by Anarchy in the Summer Biathlon. By the end of the fourteenth event, Surfing, the Balls of Chaos were in fifteenth place, ahead of the Oceanics with a comfortable margin of 22 points, but far out of reach from any place near recognition.
The phrase “it’s not over until it’s over” could be used to describe the outcomes of the next two events. The Balls of Chaos scraped by in the initial heats of Collision to move on to the quarter-finals, where they bested the Raspberry Racers by one point. They repeated this success in the semi-finals against the Chocolatiers, making it to the finals against the O’rangers. The latter team edged ahead of the Balls of Chaos to earn their first gold medal since the 2017 Marble League, but the Balls of Chaos earned their first medal of the season and catapulted into twelfth place, safely out of the basement.
The final event, the Sand Rally, saw many of the teams put in their captains, but the Balls of Chaos elected Tumult to run the final race. It turned out to be a worthy investment for the team, to say the least.
“This was the longest Marble League yet, at sixteen events. You might think that it would have taken a lot of endurance out of us,” stated Tumult. “but I felt a second wind, and I didn’t question it. I rolled with it.”
Tumult’s gold medal, the first in their career, jettisoned the Balls of Chaos into ninth place in the overall standings, just three points away from being in the top eight teams.
“Our team is anything but traditional; we’re wildly unpredictable in everything we do except for the fact that we stick together,” Coach Harmony declared. “Our 2019 season overall wasn’t what we wanted, but we promised ourselves that no matter what, we’d enjoy the ride and that at the right time, we’d give it all we had. And I fully believe we did that.”
As they prepared for the upcoming Qualifiers, the Balls of Chaos received an official letter from the JMRC inviting them to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The team accepted the invitation and was represented by Anarchy, “The Revolutionary”, and Clutter, “Red Hot Mess”, during the tournament.
an addendum by Phoenix
The Marbula One season, beginning at the Savage Speedway Grand Prix in February 2020, was a rocky start for the two Balls of Chaos athletes, with Clutter qualifying in fifteenth and ending the race in eleventh. Anarchy didn’t fare much better on the O’raceway, netting the Balls of Chaos a single point after finishing the race in tenth. At this point, the team was standing in thirteenth position in the standings, but Clutter and Anarchy refused to give up hope so early on, hoping to pick themselves up.
This ended up turning out to be for the better, as on 26 February 2020, Clutter competed at the Momotorway Grand Prix qualifiers, and with a time of 21.05 seconds, qualified in second. The determination didn’t stop here; the Momotorway Race began with Clutter jumping ahead of rival Prim to take pole position, where they remained for much of the race. The race ended dramatically, with Prim and Clutter neck and neck before Clutter made a final push towards the finish line, earning their first podium and first Marbula One gold medal. With this win, they rose to sixth in the standings.
“Never stop believing,” Clutter said, after returning from the changing rooms well after the race ended. “You just never know when things are going to go well.” “I think Prim’s success had something to do with it,” coach Harmony revealed during a later interview. “You saw that drive hit the Balls of Chaos during the qualifying incident in 2018, they really just don’t like being shown up by similar-looking teams.”
This momentum, however, was even more short-lived than it was in 2018. Mediocre was the word to define the next several races, and the Razzway looked to be no different, with Anarchy starting fifteenth on the grid. However, in a truly chaotic fashion, Anarchy rose through the ranks after a track defect forced a race restart, ultimately finishing in a solid fifth. “Nobody knew what was going on, what with the track issues and the fan invasion. I wanted to give them an autograph, but the security marbles got to them first!” Anarchy joked in a press conference after the race. “However, it’s that confusion that helped me pull ahead. Nobody knew what to expect. I never knew what to expect, the fools were in my element now.” Clutter followed up with a final fifth-place finish at the Midnight Bay Grand Prix to cap off the season, allowing for the famous too-late-to-matter final surge the Balls of Chaos had become known for.
Their overall standing was ultimately ninth, which Clutter reflected wasn’t too bad but wasn’t desirable either.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I feel like I could have given a bit more,” Anarchy admitted, after coming twenty-sixth in the individual marble standings. Clutter, comparatively, came ninth but remained beside their racing partner.
“We both could have, but you live and learn. And there isn’t enough time to reminisce, with Marble League 2020 around the corner.”
And the Marble League was indeed around the corner. Clutter and Anarchy headed back to Hunluen where they joined the rest of their team in training. The Qualifiers were set for June 18, 2020, and the team knew they would have to work hard in order to avoid the difficult start to the League that they had seen last year. The team reportedly trained daily in their training center, The Pandemonium, and while they weren’t necessarily strict about marbles not watching, the outside was such a hubbub of noise and marbles hurrying around, it was rare that anyone would bother going to spectate. During one training session, the team was reportedly challenging each other to races in the chaos just outside the stadium.
“There is no one way to train. As a team, we have found that the most effective way to improve is to mix it up and try a variety of things together. Even if they are sometimes a little strange to others,” Coach Harmony reasoned with one curious reporter.
At last, the Marble League 2020 Qualifiers arrived, with a fairly average performance from the Balls of Chaos. The first team event of Balancing was received with a tenth position. However, Anarchy stepped up to the challenge and with a time of 2:21.01, came in second in Funnel Endurance. A Block Pushing position of eighteenth and a tenth in the 5 Meter Sprint meant that the Balls of Chaos had qualified for the 2020 Marble League, with an overall standing position of seventh.
“We’re in it. That’s good,” Anarchy, the captain, told a reporter when the team was approached after the Qualifiers.
“Now we just have to actually do well,” Tumult piped up. The team laughed and rolled away, proud that they had qualified and ready for the League ahead.
The Marble League began decently for the Balls of Chaos, as the team picked up a fourth in the first event of Balancing. This start did not continue through the second event, where the team collectively finished Halfpipe in thirteenth. However, Clutter made amends with a fifth place in Funnel Endurance. Newton’s Cradle was a similar story to Halfpipe, and the team’s two chosen athletes, Anarchy and Tumult, ended up in thirteenth, bringing Balls of Chaos to an overall position of ninth in the standings.
Anarchy was set to compete in the next event, and although having already competed in the event prior, was confident that they could do well. And true to spirit, Anarchy performed admirably and picked up the Balls of Chaos’ first medal of the League, a silver. Anarchy’s best jump of 82.60 cm helped the team move up to fifth in the overall standings, about a third of the way through the League.
Despite this result, the performances immediately started going downhill from here. Snarl placed fifteenth in the 5 Meter Hurdles, and then the whole team only managed a thirteenth in Block Pushing. This was consistent through the next event, where Disarray placed thirteenth in Triathlon but was worsened by Snarl in the Sand Mogul Race with another fifteenth place. Following this, Clutter competed in the 5 Meter Sprint, and failing to recall the speed that allowed a podium during the first season of Marbula One, placed thirteenth. They had now fallen to eleventh in the overall standings, with only six events left.
“We’re not doing so well,” Snarl admitted to a group of reporters, disappearing suddenly before there was a chance for any further questions.
The terrible performances only continued, with a fourteenth place in the Black Hole Funnel, where Anarchy and Clutter competed. A short break for an average event performance came next, where the team managed to earn a ninth in the Relay, and then Snarl jumped 38.5 cm to reach eighth in the High Jump, but they just fell even further in the next two events. The Balls of Chaos came fifteenth in Team Aquathlon, and in the penultimate event of Collision, came twelfth. With one event left to go, they were standing in fifteenth place in the overall standings, only eight points above Mellow Yellow, the last-place team.
A lot of pressure was riding on Tumult in the Marble Marathon, to try to regain some places. And Tumult didn’t do too badly, achieving sixth place at the end of the race. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough, and the Balls of Chaos remained in fifteenth place at the end of Marble League 2020. This was their worst final standings for a Marble League they qualified for.
“Yeah. Not our best go. I hoped for better. I expected better,” Anarchy told reporters, looking slightly downcast. They sighed and perked up, an edge of confidence and determination in their voice.
“We just have to pick ourselves up and try again. We’ll get there.”
The Balls of Chaos had done badly, but they didn’t let it dampen their spirits. They headed back to Hunluen, as cheerfully as if they had done well, though not so cheerfully as if they had won. But their cheerfulness was not an indicator of apathy, as they resumed a medium level of training soon after arrival, determined to do better the next chance they had.
Although their training was as rigorous as ever, the Balls of Chaos continued to adopt their unique style of inconsistent training, ensuring room for fun to keep them going. They met up with the Pinkies and had a dance-off, the blossoming of a new tradition and a somewhat friendship-rivalry mix between the two teams.
“Oh…you don’t know what we’re talking about, do you? It’s a funny story. We saw comments on the Marblebase that were joking about a dance competition between us and the Balls of Chaos, so we decided to try it out. Come in—you can be the judge of the grand finale!”
While most of the team started a slow and steady preparation for competitions in the distant future, after receiving an invitation to Marbula One Season 2, Coach Harmony selected both Tumult, “The Tempest”, and Clutter to compete in the coming races.
On 7 November 2020, twenty teams gathered at the first qualifiers of Season 2, at Minty Mania. The Qualifiers carried new stakes with them; the athlete’s results reflecting both their beginning position as well as whether or not they got into the race itself. Though Clutter had competed in the previous season of Marbula One, this qualification process was new.
“I’m not worried,” Tumult told reporters, after watching Clutter leave to prepare for the first race’s qualifiers. “I know Clutter has done it before, and I haven’t, but I’m sure we’ll still do great.”
These words did not hold up for long, as in the Minty Mania Qualifiers, Clutter qualified seventeenth out of twenty and failed to qualify for the first race, a tragic start to the season. Despite this devastating start, Tumult failed to lose hope going into the return of the O’raceway on 14 November 2020, and qualified for the race in sixth. The day after, Tumult managed to pull back from sixth position, and in the second race of the season, the Balls of Chaos earned a bronze, just ahead of Rima from Team Primary. With this extra boost of confidence, Clutter qualified for the Honeydome in eighth and raced an average race with a final position of twelfth.
Tumult then performed similarly at the Aquamaring, with a qualification of eleventh, and then a final result of eighth, which dropped the Balls of Chaos only one position down in the standings to tenth. The team’s middle position would not last for long though, as in the next race at the team’s home track, Tumult Turnpike, Tumult devastatingly didn’t even qualify for the race, ending the qualifiers in seventeenth.
“I started off fairly well,” Tumult recollected at the end. “I had some good speed. I reckon if I’d have kept that up I’d have finished high up, but I took quite a hard hit at turn 6. Completely slowed me down and there was no catching up at that point. It’s not a mistake I’ve made often, I believe I got distracted or something.”
As it was, Tumult was 0.451 seconds off the final qualification spot, which was taken by Speedy from the Savage Speeders. This low qualification place was consistent into the next race, where Clutter only just achieved qualification in the sixteenth place at Arctic Circuit, catching up a few spots during the race to finish the race. The ending of this race concluded the first half of Marbula One Season 2, and Tumult and Clutter swiftly returned to the rest of the team to resume team training.
As winter was passing, the team was thrilled to receive an invitation from the JMRC to compete in the Marble League Winter Special, a small and wintery version of the League during the off-season. While this was only a fraction of the size of the full league they were due to compete in later in the year, as a professional marble sports team they considered it important to keep a good reputation through any sort of competition that they did.
The Marble League Winter Special was set to have five events, and the Balls of Chaos would be competing against fifteen other teams who had all been invited over from the Marble League. The first event, the Ice Dash, was held on 3 January and featured a long straight ice track, reminiscent of the Sprint but without lanes. Anarchy was the first representative of the Balls of Chaos to compete in this tournament, and set the bar low for the team, falling back at the beginning of the race and then taking a wide-angle that finished them in the last position in their heat. Their time of 4.869 was only sufficient enough for fourteenth-place in the total standings, a disappointing beginning to the Winter League.
Tumult proceeded to then replicate this result in the next event of Snowboard Cross, where they were placed in Group A. With a track reminiscent to that of the Elimination Race, an event that the Balls of Chaos had only competed in once and ranked bottom of the standings, Tumult began the Snowboard Cross by very quickly falling to the back of the group, right behind Razzy from the Raspberry Racers. A small tussle mid-way through the race where Tumult momentarily went ahead of Razzy lasted only shortly and Tumult stayed in last, with a hard hit right near the end that forced them a whole 1.49 seconds behind Astron from Team Galactic, who had won the race. The Balls of Chaos achieved yet another fourteenth place result and fell to last place in the overall standings.
Snarl was up next, with Speed Skating, an event which placed the Balls of Chaos against the Snowballs, who had Snow racing for them. This event had the rest of the teams on the edge of their seats, watching Snarl a short distance behind the Snowballs during most of the race. Fortunately, Snarl pulled forward right at the end to finish just in front, but only achieved a standings result of thirteenth.
The whole team came together in the Bobsled, an event where they had previously attained a fifteenth place position back in Marble League 2018. With only two events left and sitting in last place in the standings, it was crucial that the team achieved a high result in order to try to pull themselves forwards. The Balls of Chaos were due to race first, and the team got into the bobsled at the top of the track filled with excitement and nervousness. Their performance was decent, with a fast start but slowing down at the beginning. It wasn’t the best they could have done, but they ended up in seventh for that event, bringing them up to fourteenth in the overall standings.
“I’m glad. It could have gone much worse but it didn’t,” Anarchy admitted after the event. Their teammate, Clutter, spoke up. “We’re still near the end of the standings, with only one event left, but near the end is better than the end, so let’s keep that up.”
True to their word, the next team event of Ice Hockey gave them a roughly mid-range standing of ninth, which kept them in fourteenth position overall. While they didn’t even get past the first round against the Hazers, they were fortunate to not place so low that they fell back in the standings. It was a disappointing finish, gaining only 23 points to end in fourteenth out of sixteen, but for Clutter and Tumult, who had only a short period of time before a return to the Marbula One Season 2 second half, there was little time to reflect.
Perhaps still affected by the knock of confidence from failing to qualify at the race they hosted, or distracted by the long gap over winter, Tumult’s return to Marbula One in February started with a flop as they also failed to qualify in the Raceforest, attaining a seventeenth place qualifier position. After the qualifiers were concluded, Tumult could be seen deep in conversation with Clutter and Coach Harmony, before Harmony and Tumult left together. Clutter was asked afterward whether or not Tumult was upset with how things were going.
“Upset? Well, not in the way you are thinking. They are certainly disappointed with themself. But Tumult is determined, I’m quite confident that we won’t see this happen again in their next race.”
In response to the less than favorable results the Balls of Chaos had recently achieved, Clutter put everything into the next race at the Momotorway, the track that during the first season they had claimed a victory at. True to consistency with this, Clutter successfully qualified in fourth and finished the race the next day in second, a boost to team morale that brought them up to tenth in the overall standings.
The next week, at Palette Park, Tumult entered the stadium with a determined expression that reflected the confidence given by Clutter’s last result, as well as two weeks of hard training and pep talks from their coach and teammate. Almost as if responding to Tumult’s anguish at having failed at the Balls of Chaos’ track, when on their rival team, Team Primary’s track, Tumult regained their impressive speed and at the Qualifiers, finished the solo run in 12.70, second place for Q1.
“Wow, that was appropriately a chaotic run with loads of speed. It’s showing some of these other runners that you can take some chances and it may pay off.” (Greg Woods Commentary)
Tumult fell behind in Q2, with both Yellup and Smoggy only just ahead, but regained this position at the very beginning of the third qualifying race, allowing them to begin the next day’s race in provisional second. The main race went similarly well, with Tumult only finishing the race two positions back from where they started, earning a fourth-place and yet again moving Balls of Chaos up to eighth in the final standings. It wasn’t a win, but Tumult looked incredibly pleased when they met up with Coach Harmony after the race, having made up for the lack of success prior.
However, it seemed like Clutter and Tumult’s luck ran out at this point. In the Misty Mountain Grand Prix, Clutter managed to achieve a pole position, after a set of very quick races. Despite this, tragedy struck on Lap 7 of the race, when Clutter narrowly missed the wall of the track when coming off the belt, and ended up forced down the Safety Marble lane by their momentum. The race was unsalvageable, but took an interesting turn in Lap 9, when Bumble of the Bumblebees took a very hard hit at Turn 6, causing them to stall in the middle of the track, deploying a yellow flag. The safety marble was released, and Clutter benefited from it, as they were able to return back to the track. The two approached the turn in which Bumble remained, before a collision from the safety marble at the turn caused Clutter to bounce back and get stuck beside Bumble. In the momentum of the race, the safety marble was unable to dislodge either of them and a red flag was called, stopping the race, and Clutter ended the race in sixteenth position, after being determined as a DNF. This disappointing last-place finish continued into the next qualifiers at the Savage Speedway, where Tumult returned from their previous decent finish and failed to qualify, ending the qualifier in twentieth.
There was one race to go, and the Balls of Chaos were in tenth position in the overall standings, a position in the middle of all competitors, and a mix of mostly very good and very bad results. In an attempt to better the position in the final race at Midnight Bay, Clutter eventually ended the qualifiers with a provisional position of second. Things were looking up, but the tragic twist in Clutter’s last race seemed to weigh on them greatly. It was perhaps due to this that the race went less than desirable for Clutter, and they fell back to finish that race in eleventh position.
The end of Marbula One Season 2 had arrived and the Balls of Chaos had come in eleventh position in the overall standings. This was only two positions lower than the previous season but was still not the top podium spot that every marble team hoped for.
“I’m surprised I did as well as I did, to be honest, as it felt like I performed quite badly,” Tumult told interviewers after. They had managed to place seventeenth overall in the individual marble standings, staying above the twentieth position through the entire season. Clutter attained a similar result, ending in twenty-fourth place in the individual standings.
“I could have done better. You always can, even if you come first. And we will if there’s a next time. I’m sure of it,” added Clutter, after a pause.
With the disaster of the Marble League Winter Special still hanging on to the team, they began training with passion. The team could be found daily in and around The Pandemonium, training hard for the upcoming league. For such a chaotic team, it was strange to know that they were dedicated to reaching the goal of the Marble League half a year away, so it was both a surprise and not a surprise to find out they had entered a new competition in the meanwhile.
“Cranthym Challenges,” Coach Harmony informed reporters after one long training session. “It’s not just marble sports, but also a lot of puzzles and that kind of thing.”
Cranthym Challenges was indeed a new competition, set to first be held in late March. A competition that required much more than physical skill from a marble, and the last thing anyone expected the Balls of Chaos to participate in.
“Aren’t you worried that this competition may take away your training time for the Marble League?” a reporter asked the coach while being jostled by the crowds outside the stadium.
“No, I think it’s exactly what we need. Clutter heard of it first and mentioned it. And I think the skills in it might turn out really useful for the Marble League, so we let a few other teams know and they seemed interested. Of course, it isn’t all we are focusing on, doing well in the Marble League is also important to us.” And with that, Harmony had vanished.
True to their word, the Balls of Chaos rolled into the new tournament of Cranthym Challenges with a confident and exciting outlook. It was new, and it was interesting. The word of the competition had spread around the Marble League teams, and the Balls of Chaos weren’t alone. The Opening of the Challenges was to take place in a very large hall called The Cranthym, which was filled with marbles from sixteen different teams. The Balls of Chaos’ dance ‘rivals’, the Pinkies were present, alongside the Green Ducks and the Kobalts. The O’rangers also took up the invitation, and not wanting to be bested by their rivals, the Savage Speeders also attended. These Marble League teams had taken very short breaks from their various competitions and activities during the offseason to compete, even though the competition itself was new and had a rather low broadcast and media coverage.
“There are a lot of teams we know here, who have somehow managed to take the time out of their busy schedules to attend,” Anarchy mentioned to a reporter near the team. “But also some less well-known ones.” They gestured over to a team in a light purple uniform. “Those are the Magusi, they arrived here at the same time as us so we started to get to know each other. Their captain, Mage, is very friendly.” And the Opening began before Anarchy was able to say any more.
The competition was made up of ten different challenges, where the team with the most points at the end was awarded the Cranthym Crown. The first challenge was a maze, and it didn’t go especially smoothly for the Balls of Chaos. The team somehow split up while navigating and finished thirteenth, earning no points. The Hazers won the first gold, a team called Team Strix got silver and the O’rangers snatched the bronze narrowly from the Savage Speeders. However, the Balls of Chaos refused to let this knock their confidence, and in the second event, which involved code-breaking, they placed first.
The rest of the competition continued chaotically for the team, and with results jumping from the podium to mid-range to lower end, the Balls of Chaos gradually climbed the ranking. It was in the closing of the event that Balls of Chaos had managed to hold on to fourth position, while the third and second places were achieved by Team Strix and Hazers respectively. The first Cranthym Cup and Crown were awarded to the Whizlers.
Back in Hunluen, the team spoke to reporters.
“I’m so glad we did it. It was a blast and has really helped us work on our problem solving and teamwork skills,” Snarl was the first to speak.
“And we also did fairly well. I hadn’t expected us to, but I think we really found that our chaotic nature was very useful as we were able to be creative and experiment with all sorts of ways to solve things, rather than being fixated on one approach as some teams were,” Tumult added.
“We were only one point behind Team Strix,” Coach Harmony said while ushering the team inside to resume their training.
It was ultimately a success for the team, but would it help them with the fast-approaching Marble League 2021? On 14 May, a fourteenth place result from Tumult in the Marble League 2021 Practice Race suggested that the team certainly had a chance to do well, but the full league was coming and could bring anything.
In RetRollSpective, the Balls of Chaos have had a chaotic run in the Marble League, with two finishes in the middle of the standings, one in the top five, and one in the bottom of the standings. They were the first team to win two consecutive gold medals, as well as the first team to have a negative number of points in the standings. They also had a disorderly set of results in both seasons of Marbula One which resulted in two finishes in the middle of the standings. They have a distinct rivalry with Team Primary, but could not be any closer within their own team, which is reflected in their team medal victories. They, true to their Arms of Chaos, are representative of infinite possibilities by any means necessary. Although they seem to have had a fairly rough year, their inconsistent results are sure to lean in their favor again. Best of luck to the Balls of Chaos in the near future, keep on rolling!