This article was originally published in Marbles Today, a community-run newspaper created and edited by u/TheFlute20.
Saturday, August 7th, 7:18 Felyni Standard Time (FST)
I arrived promptly at 1:08 pm outside a skybox in Felynia Coliseum, reserved for a private event. As my ticket was scanned for entry, I was given a small box of Momo’s Dumplings and entered to find the room crowded with fans, marble sports athletes, and even some members of the Jelle’s Marble Association. Adorning the walls were photographs of Team Momo throughout the years, from as far back as their Ramen Bowl competition days to the most recent Marble League event, with Momomomo beaming with their first gold medal atop the podium. A banner spelling out “MOMO STRONG” was draped over the windows, where Felyni construction workers were prepping the Block Pushing track for the next event.
I was grateful to receive an invite to celebrate Team Momo’s recent successes as the Head Editor of Project Marblearth, a news organization dedicated to chronicling the history of teams and athletes affiliated with JMR. Team Momo has already scored more points than they did in 12 events of the 2017 Marble League and 12 events of the 2018 Winter Marble League. They’ve broken the O’rangers’ 2020 record of earning the most points in the first seven events and won their first event since the 2018 Snow Rally, ending a gold medal drought of three years. With a commanding (albeit not invincible) lead of 27 points, Team Momo sits atop the Marble League standings this year for the first time in their career, one that cannot be broken before the second half of the 2021 Marble League.
There was at least one athlete there to represent each team, but the full roster of the Midnight Wisps was there. They had planned the party as a surprise for Team Momo, and along with Team Primary, covered all of the expenses. Just before Team Momo was scheduled to arrive, I was able to speak to Wispy:
“We’ve had a lot of time to think since we didn’t qualify, and one of the things we’ve been focusing on is building our relationships with other teams. Our friendship with Team Momo is one that we treasure, and although we didn’t get to compete together this year, we knew we had to celebrate their successes.”
“It’s been really nice working with the Wisps,” Mary added. “We’re both friends with Team Momo, and we realized that we have a lot in common. When this season is over, we’re excited to invite the Wisps and Team Momo to The Palette!”
“Did you see Mary’s painting of Momomomo and their gold? It’s really impressive how they incorporated the shard of glass as a view into the future. Very impressionistic,” mused Wespy.
I scanned the wall for the painting, finding it next to the polaroid of Wispy visiting Momomomo in the infirmarblery. Before I could question if that was really in the best taste, the lights dimmed and I rolled under the table.
“SURPRISE!” the room exclaimed, with Team Momo taken aback. They blushed as everyone revealed themselves in the room, and Bolt, ever the gastronome, handed each member of the team a large box of Momo’s Dumplings. A MarBeats recording of the song, “Momolution”, subtly began playing in the background of the growing chatter in the skybox.
Don’t you know they’re gonna roll (alright)?
Don’t you know they’re gonna roll (alright)?~ “Momolution”, released by The MarBeats in 2015.
“The fact is Momo has never been in this position before, they got to fourth in 2016 but never held the top spot,” DandaMan65, a fellow fan of Team Momo, remarked. “After all the injuries and the failure to qualify and their comeback, they DESERVE to finally have a good year and have the chance to make the podium and possibly win.”
“I think the worst thing that we as Team Momo fans can do is take this for granted,” I replied. “Let’s be in the moment and celebrate this while we can, though—for as long as it lasts.”
DandaMan65 agreed. We toasted with our dumplings, cheering.
Sometime later, I rolled over to Speedy, who I was surprised to see out of their training regiment…although, I haven’t seen them in their secretive training regiment, either.
“Our addendum with Fouc is going quite well. I think you’ll be pleased to see how we uncover much of what we’d otherwise keep secret about our internal struggles and coaching strategy,” Speedy said succinctly, without a prompt to speak about Project Marblearth in the first place.
“That’s nice to hear. How do you feel about this season so far?”
Speedy shrugged, donning a poker face they’ve become accustomed to using in the few public appearances I’ve witnessed them handle. “As an athlete that nearly experienced a career-ending injury, I have a lot of respect for Momomomo and what they did in Hurdles yesterday. Their push through adversity is something we share, and it makes both of us stronger athletes and marbles alike. Now that we both share the podium in the standings, I feel honored to celebrate the team’s achievements—and at the end of the season, I hope we can celebrate more when we claim our third championship.”
Across from the two of us, Yellow Eye rolled their eyes. Not long after Speedy vacated the premises, they approached me. “I see Speedy’s still working on respecting other great marble sports athletes. That was something I’d never even think of saying.”
“Even with the matchups we’ve had against Team Momo, neither would we,” added Starry. “This isn’t the moment to say you’re better than the team you’re celebrating, especially when your teammate just tripped over every single obstacle on the track.”
Thankfully, all of us were out of earshot from Team Momo, who at that moment were taking pictures of Momomomo, Clementin, and Sublime with their medals from Hurdles. They motioned to Mocha to join them, who posed in the middle with one of their Choco’ranger candies.
…And in the moment of the celebrations
I roll down
Mo, you’re gonna carry that block
Carry that block past the red line…~ “Carry That Block”, released by The MarBeats in 2016.
After eating a scrumptious dessert, catered by the O’rangers, Mellow Yellow, Limers, and Raspberry Racers, I was finally able to approach Team Momo on the balcony to congratulate and speak with them.
“This season has been a blur for me,” admitted Momomo. “I focused so much on getting into form this year that I haven’t thought about much else. Today’s the first day in a long time that I’ve gotten to take a roll back and realize that I’m competing in the Marble League again, my team is at the top of the standings, and I’ve earned two medals for them…the first individual medals I’ve ever earned. When I passed out on the Bobsled course in the 2018 Winter Marble League, I could have never predicted that this would be my life in three years.”
“You’ve worked so hard, though,” Momo, ordained the team’s new captain earlier in the year, encouraged.
“Do I? I haven’t done anything to carry my weight on the team in the past six years.”
“You’ve done it in every event you’ve competed in, not just the ones you did well in,” assured Momomomo. “For years, I felt like I was bringing the team down. I would have asked Mimo to replace me on the main team any day. But today, I know that everything I worked so hard for has led to this momoment. If I hadn’t splintered apart during the Collision, I wouldn’t have had the same momotivation to keep on pushing through adversity with the team and, yesterday, to push through those Hurdles to win the event.”
I began shying away, as this seemed to be a personal conversation, but Mo stopped me. “There’s no need for that. We appreciate that you’re here for us, even in a momoment like this.”
Following a long conversation with the team, where we discussed the team’s favorite flavors of dumplings, I returned inside the box, where I was greeted by Speedy.
“I thought about what I said, and I decided to come back to the party to celebrate for the right reasons. Any team’s achievements deserve to be celebrated, with respect above all. I left some Felynia falafel on the table if you’d like to try some!”
I smiled and courteously took a piece of falafel, despite dessert being over for about an hour.
And in the end, the roll you take is equal to the roll you make.~ “The Roll”, released by The MarBeats in 2016.
The reception went on for about a total of two hours, and as quickly as it had begun, athletes were trickling back outside the skybox to return to training. I left with a few friends from the JMA, walking with them down the hall to their skybox. I politely declined their invite inside, as I had to return to my hotel room to prepare the next article for release on the Project Marblearth website.
As I headed down to the lobby of Felynia Coliseum, I remembered watching my first Marble League. While studying abroad in Rollence, one of my friends had come across a video of Comet’s legendary 500 Foot Marble Race. Later that night, a larger group of friends huddled around my television and watched the Underwater Race from the 2017 Marble League for the very first time. As I watched more events with my friends, I became attached to Team Momo not just because of their catchy team member names and uniform colors, but because of their drive to push through adversity.
Barely two months later, I was at the Arctic Circle when I saw Team Momo get stuck on the Bobsled course. The day that my RetRollSpective on Team Momo went live on the MSPN Blog, the IMC announced that Momomo and Momomomo were withdrawing from the 2018 Winter Marble League. I hastily reported on the news, penning an article titled “In Momoriam” for release the next day. As a writer, I was thrilled, but I was heartbroken as a fan of the team.
Tonight, I am thrilled to be both, and I’m in the “momoment” to celebrate Team Momo’s accomplishments through writing for Project Marblearth. #MomoStrong, forever and always!