RetRollSpective – Mellow Yellow

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 saying hello to Mellow Yellow, the reigning champions of the 2021 Marble League. Read on to find out how this team has kept the competition mellow!

The official logo for Mellow Yellow, designed by Tim Ritz.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise, given their name, but the team members of Mellow Yellow all met while working for The Non-Descript Soda Company in Amalanta. Yellow, Yellah, Yelley, and Yellup had all been working at the company for about ten years each, and they were taste-testing their Non-Descript Yellow Soda when they first met each other. After a long night of meetings and a lot of empty cans of soda, the four realized that they were miserable at their corporate jobs, and decided to quit. 

The four left the city and headed out west, where taxes were much cheaper. They moved into an apartment in Marblopolis, a city renowned for individual marble racing, and tried to find new jobs. They struggled to make ends meet for months.

“To say that we were worried is an understatement,” Yellow recalled. “We all kept trying to convince ourselves that we had made the right decision. I guess we were, excuse the pun, trying to keep it mellow. We truly didn’t have any idea what was going on.”

  “We always enjoyed seeing the racers come through for the Marblopolis 500, though,” said Yellup. “There was always so much excitement in the town. They made us feel like everything was going to get better, at least at the moment.”

“It was maybe eight months after we moved in. We were already starting to conserve electricity because we had to cut down the bills,” explained Yelley. “We got a knock on our door. The marble introduced themselves as Greg Woods, and they said that they heard that we enjoyed racing. We said, “Well, yeah, of course, we do.” And they asked us if we wanted to join the Fruit Circuit.”

The Fruit Circuit is a now-defunct series of untelevised marble races that was run by Greg Woods and held until 2016 when the Marble League first began. It featured fruit-related teams from around the world, including the O’rangers, Raspberry Racers, and the Limers. The four marbles caught Woods’ attention due to their experience working for The Non-Descript Soda Company, which Woods found similar enough to fruit.

“It was a tough situation. We needed more teams to get more funding, and thus, more racing. If those four marbles had declined us, I don’t think we would’ve been able to continue the Fruit Circuit,” Woods mused. “And with no explicit alternative, these marble athletes would’ve been stranded in their careers.” “But if you think that we had any experience in marble sports…” Yellah chuckled. “I used to play dodge-marble. That was an extreme sport. Then they changed it to prison-marble in middle school and it got boring.”

The four original members of the team, photographed for an official photoshoot in 2017.

The Fruit Circuit deal involved minimal training for the four marbles, who donned the team name “Mellow Yellow” to avoid copyright-related issues while staying true to their origin story. After training was completed, the team entered the fray in the Fruit Circuit. Races were once per week and had a cumulative score throughout multiple seasons.

“Yeah, we didn’t do well during the first few months,” Yellup said. “We couldn’t break the top twenty, let alone the top 25. The Yarble Yellers and the Strawberry Strudels had it in for us. But with every race we did, the stronger we got. It wasn’t long before we got past the Grape Nuts and started staring down the O’rangers.”

As the years passed, Mellow Yellow became a consistent force in the top ten, usually placing in the top five. When the Fruit Circuit shut down for good in 2016, due to a sufficient lack of funding, Mellow Yellow ended the competition in second place overall. With that came a new beginning for the team.

Mellow Yellow’s second medal of the 2016 season.

Mellow Yellow prequalified for the 2016 Marble League due to their second-place finish in the Fruit Circuit, joining the tournament with the Limers, O’rangers, and Greg Woods in tow to commentate. The team immediately started the season strong with a silver medal in Balancing and earned their first gold medal in the Sand Rally. They rose to the top of the standings, tied with Rojo Rollers in both points and medals.

Yellow finished third in the Water Race, netting their team a bronze medal, their third medal of the season, and the entire team earned a gold medal in the Quartet Diving event, putting the team in a three-way tie for second place, with just one event to go.

“We never expected to get as far as we did,” Yelley said. “Both in marble sports and the Marble League. We were just, excuse the pun, keeping it mellow, and going as far as we could to the finish line.”

Mellow Yellow was a second away from winning the final event, not even half a length behind the Savage Speeders in the grand final of Hurdles. Had they won the event, they would have won the entirety of the 2016 Marble League.

The now-iconic photo finish that defined the 2016 season.

The team still secured an impressive second place with 41 points and a prequalification for the 2017 Marble League, but even the team was surprised at how close they were, between their finish in the final event and the fact that they were tied with the Thunderbolts in points. They were in a daze.

“I realized halfway down the course that I could do it. If I just pushed a little further and rolled quicker than I thought I could, I would win it all. I sped down the track, neck-and-neck with Speedy,” Yellup recounted. They shrugged. “I guess Speedy had a little more in them.”

The 2017 Marble League came up quickly for the team, but Mellow Yellow still earned a gold medal after a third of the events were complete, in the 5 Meter Sprint. This, combined with a fourth and fifth-place finish, put the team at the top of the standings. 

Yellah’s record-setting performance in the High Jump.

Mellow Yellow slipped in the standings until the eighth event, when Yellah earned a gold medal in the High Jump and set a new Marble League Record, reaching a height of 38 cm. The team rose into second place overall when they earned a silver medal in the next event, Steeplechase, but the team ultimately lost its focus, picking up just six points over the last three events. Thankfully for Mellow Yellow, their one-point lead over the Midnight Wisps in fourth place allowed the team to finish the 2017 Marble League in third place, and prequalify a second time for the next season.

The team acquired Yellim in time for the 2018 Marble League Friendly Round, which saw the four prequalified teams compete in an exhibition tournament before the 2018 Marble League championship. Mellow Yellow placed second in all three events and finished second overall. Things were looking good for the team in yellow.

The Mellow Yellow we saw in the 2018 Marble League was so jarring that it almost looked like a different team competing. The team earned no medals throughout the entire tournament, and the closest they came was in the final event when Yellow placed fourth in the Sand Mogul Race. The team began their season in ninth place and jumped up briefly to eighth after a sixth-place by Yellah in the Ski Jump before falling to ninth, then twelfth, then fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth. 

Yes, Mellow Yellow was in sixteenth place at the end of the eighth event, having placed last in the Snowboard Cross as well as in Speed Skating three events earlier. The team began battling with the Minty Maniacs and the Pinkies to “stay out of the basement” of the standings, for at this point, the team had nary a path to victory. Luckily for Mellow Yellow, they secured double-digits in three of the four final events and finished the 2018 Marble League in fifteenth place, well above the Pinkies, and tied with the Limers in points, but behind them in medal count.

“A lot of fans attribute our bad performance to the ‘third place curse’, where the team that places third at the end of a Marble League tanks in the following season,” Yellah pondered. “It’s an interesting concept, and so far, there’s no evidence against it…other than the fact that there is no logic or physical evidence for it, either. Besides that, it’s not fair to the hard work that we athletes put in every year. You can’t always win.”

The city center of Amalanta, known as “The Squeeze” by locals.

Mellow Yellow had an extremely busy offseason, and much of it was spent rebuilding the team. The team returned home not to Marbopolis, but to Amalanta, where they visited their families and began working on a stadium and training facility in coordination with their new coach, Mellow.

“It was a change we needed,” Yellow confessed. “We finally had the money to return home, and we were welcomed not only by our families but by our fans. I’ve never seen a more yellow city in my life, and it made me so excuse the pun, mellow.”

The team was not entirely sure whether it could afford the time off from training to go to the two offseason practice events, but their coach insisted that they show their faces. Yellup finished fifteenth in the 100 Meter Water Race, an unfortunately familiar position for the team, but, a better finish, considering it was out of twenty-seven competitors. Mellow Yellow did not advance from their initial heat of the Amazing Maze Marble Race and returned home to Amalanta on the next flight out of Knikkegen. Additionally, the team had submitted a hosting bid for the next season, but its bid was denied in favor of the Oceanics’ Seven Seas Stadium.

Coach Mellow worked hard on restoring their team’s confidence, despite any bleak outlooks. This mindset was key in the 2019 Marble League Qualifiers, when Yellup placed dead last in the first event, Funnel Spinning. The team rose from their performance, earning eight points in Block Pushing and twenty points in the Relay Race with a second-place finish. Yellah maintained the team’s standing in eleventh place by placing tenth in the Underwater Race, and Mellow Yellow qualified for the 2019 Marble League in a decisive transfer position, with 38 points to their name. They would live to see another day after all.

The Mellow Yellow we saw from the beginning of 2019 was beginning to return to form, itching to reclaim relevance in a tournament that was looking to newer competitors to win. Mellow Yellow had one goal, and it was not to win: it was to earn the fans’ respect. Yellow, now the captain of the team, began the season by placing eleventh in the Underwater Race, but in each event the team improved, ticking further and further up the standings until it was Yellow’s turn again: this time in the 5 Meter Sprint.

A spark of hope.

Yellow earned the team’s first Marble League medal in over a year, and it was a gold medal. The team rose to sixth in the standings and remained there during the next two events, including at the end of Block Pushing, when the team’s finish of 65.1 centimeters earned them a bronze medal. Mellow Yellow rose to fourth place in the standings after the Summer Biathlon, where Yelley placed seventh. They jumped ahead of the Savage Speeders for the first time in two years and, of the original Marble League teams competing, was only tracking Team Galactic in third. For the first time since the 2017 Marble League, Mellow Yellow was competing.

The Savage Speeders were admittedly more interested in tracking down the newer teams, such as the Raspberry Racers and the Green Ducks, but they, too, wanted to be the best of the 2016 crew. While the Savage Speeders medaled in the Hubelino Maze and barely placed fourth in the Dirt Race, Mellow Yellow began to fall behind, not finishing in the Dirt Race and placing fifteenth, and falling apart in Rafting by earning two penalty points for two teammates lost, placing fourteenth. With a quarter of the 2019 Marble League remaining, Mellow Yellow was doing enough to stay in the top eight—but it wasn’t doing enough for what they wanted out of the season.

“They earned their fans’ support back…but they had yet to earn their respect back,” Mellow noted. “And they knew that.”

“I don’t know what it felt like to be on Mellow Yellow two years ago,” Yellim stated. “I only know what it felt like last year. It felt terrible, and I didn’t want to be there,” they admitted. “I want to be here now, and maybe we won’t win, but I want to be the best we possibly can. At least then, I’ll be able to respect myself as an athlete.”

A pivotal moment that Mellow Yellow had one event to preserve…

Mellow Yellow began to rise in the standings again, coincidentally the same time as the Savage Speeders began to fall. The team’s most notable finishes were a fifth-place finish by Yelley in Surfing and another bronze medal by way of the third-place match in Collision, which put the team back in fourth place above the Savage Speeders. Every team but the top three—the Raspberry Racers, Green Ducks, and Hazers—were locked out of a podium finish, but Mellow Yellow, with a good enough finish in the final event, could remain where they were.

As it turned out, even with a fifth-place to Mellow Yellow’s ninth-place finish in the Sand Rally, the Savage Speeders were not going to surpass them. Mellow Yellow held on with 146 points and kept their fourth place after the 2019 Marble League. For the first time in the team’s history, after four long years, they had finally beaten the Savage Speeders by more than half a length, capping off one of the most impressive redemption seasons in Marble League history.

…and they did!

“Deep down, we knew we could always do it,” Yelley said. “Ever since I watched Yellup rush down the hurdles, and get so close…” They trailed off, beaming. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for four years. It’s just…so liberating.”

“We returned home and our logo was on graffiti, our favorite pizzeria had posters of us, we even had a headline in the Amalanta Press,” Yellah reminisced. “Years ago, we were miserable marbles, working jobs we never wanted, thinking that we’d never get anywhere in life. Now, we’re mellow as can be, we have the best jobs in the world, and we’re back home, but we love our lives. We’ve made it.”

Although the team’s hosting bid for the 2020 Marble League was turned down, Mellow Yellow was invited to compete in the first season of Marbula One in early 2020. The team accepted the invitation, and on 25 November 2019, they were confirmed as the eleventh team. On the same day, they announced that Yellow, “The Big Cheese”, and Yellup, “The Golden One”, would represent Mellow Yellow in the tournament.

The official promotional poster for Mellow Yellow in Marbula One, designed by Jack Ironhide.

“Yellow is one of the most accomplished athletes in Marble League history,” Coach Mellow explained, “and has earned all of their medals in racing events. Yellup has also done well in racing events: especially the Hurdles event in 2016.”

Yellow debuted as a Marbula One racer in the Savage Speedway GP Qualifiers on 15 February 2020, where they set a time of 28.70 seconds and qualified in fourth. Yellow fell back during the race, still earning two points but finishing in ninth.

Yellup debuted as a Marbula One racer in the O’raceway GP Qualifiers on 22 February 2020, where they set a time of 32.07 seconds and qualified in eighth. During the race, Yellup was able to stay ahead of Orangin behind them but could not break into contention for the lead. Yellup finished in seventh, gaining six points.

Yellup proved that Mellow Yellow deserved their spot in Marbula One.

Mellow Yellow did enough to stay in the top half during the first season of Marbula One. Yellup did well in the Hivedrive, qualifying in third and finishing in fifth after holding the lead for four laps. Yellup returned to race in the next Grand Prix at Greenstone, and after getting pole position, they earned a bronze medal in the race. Yellow held their own during the Short Circuit, qualifying in third and placing fifth in the race. Yellow had difficulty following through, however. Their penultimate finish at the Momotorway and tenth place at the Razzway brought down the team. At the end of the seventh race, Mellow Yellow was eliminated from championship contention.

This is not to say that Yellup could not have done more—Yellup certainly could have won any of the races they qualified strongly in. Regardless, Mellow Yellow still did well enough during their first season, even if they struggled with following through. The team finished in tenth overall after the Midnight Bay GP, where Yellup qualified in ninth and finished the race in a disheartening thirteenth place.

Not So Mellow

an addendum by ElrQ and Vector

After Marbula One concluded and Mellow Yellow got a decent tenth place, the team fully felt that their 2018 drudgery was behind them. 

“I think 2020 is going to be our year,” Yellup hoped, the day before the Marble League 2020 Qualifiers. “Our name may say we’re mellow, but we’ll be the opposite in the Marble League from now on.” 

The Qualifiers proved to be another relatively decent performance, with a fifth-place overall finish and 46 points to boot. After the final event, Yellim was ecstatic. “I think we could pull it off this year, y’know. This is the Mellow Yellow I joined! I feel like we’re finally coming into our own.” 

Sadly, Yellim’s and Yellup’s enthusiasm was wildly misplaced. The team finished last in the first event of the 2020 Marble League and then amassed only six points after four events. Luckily, things looked like picking up after Yelley got bronze in the Long Jump, moving the team off the bottom spot, but things fell apart again in the next three events, pushing Mellow Yellow down to the basement again at the halfway point.

“In hindsight, maybe we should’ve seen this coming,” Yellow said, regarding the league after it had finished. “We had been burnt out after M1, we had barely any training and we were overconfident. We can’t seem to find that sweet spot between overworking and underworking anymore.” 

As the second half rolled on, Mellow Yellow consistently fluctuated in and out of last place, dueling with teams like the Hornets and the Green Ducks to stay out of the basement. A bronze in High Jump was impressive, and with a decent eighth in Collision, the team may not have been able to get anywhere near the podium but were still capable of climbing off 16th place. 

The Marble League would draw to a close with the final event, the Marathon, and Mellow Yellow was still in the basement. Tensions were high, and every team was going to go full steam ahead.

“Alright folks, listen up! I know times have been tough, and we find ourselves at the bottom. But we cannot let this dampen our spirit!!! Yellup, I believe in you! Now go out there, and LET’S GET ROLLING!!!”

– Coach Mellow’s team talk, minutes before the start of Event 16.

Mellow’s pep talk paid off. Coming in fourth in the qualifying round and then getting a season-high of second in the overall Marathon, that one silver medal from Yellup moved the team over the Hornets and Balls of Chaos into fourteenth place. Mellow Yellow had escaped from the bottom spot once again. 

Coach Mellow believed in Yellup, and Yellup delivered.

“I was ecstatic, to say the least. 2020 was one of our worst years yet and being able to get the silver to keep us out of the basement lit a small fire in my heart of darkness.” Mellow Yellow fan Kozakk said when asked about the Marathon result.

The second season of Marbula One was upon us, and Mellow Yellow was not surprised to receive an invitation for the series.

When asked why they decided to accept despite their recent bad form, Yellow said “We had to go, otherwise we would’ve just slipped away into obscurity. We need to prove ourselves. We aren’t just a yo-yo team.”

The first race was to be hosted by the Minty Maniacs; Mellow Yellow had applied, and was selected, but was unable to get their track ready in time, and had to withdraw from hosting. Regardless, they still finished the race in a respectable seventh position, amassing eight points. Unfortunately, Mellow Yellow’s season would go downhill from there, with a tenth at the O’raceway and failure to pick up points at the Honeydome which led to the team dropping down to tenth place overall. But, unfortunately for the team’s fans, the worst was yet to come.

“Oh, what happened there? Yellup is gone!”

-Greg Woods’ now infamous lines, after Yellup’s incident at the Aquamaring.

Yellup was lined up to race at the Aquamaring, but, unexpectedly, the athlete gained such air on the ramp, that they jumped off the track entirely. 

“I still don’t know what happened. One minute I was riding high, the next everything was spinning, I was dizzy, in pain and I thought I had shattered. I’m lucky to still be able to race in the Arctic Circuit.

“I was shocked, sad, and angry. The fall due to a track defect cost us potential points and our dignity. It wasn’t only Yellup’s fault that it happened yet he’s still getting smack talk regarding it. I’m just glad the circuits have improved on making sure the teams are safe. I don’t wish to see any racer suffer the fate Yellup did ever again.” Kozakk said, speaking of course of the Aquamaring incident. 

However, at the race, Mellow made sure Yellup’s injury did not go ignored.

“Well, I wanted to do something for Yellup, they’ve done so much for the team, so I passed around a get well soon card, and all of the racers from this week pitched in to buy ‘em a new car.”

“I appreciate the card,” Yellup said. “And especially the Rollvo, but what I want to do is get back to racing.”

Yellup was checked by the medics after their Aquamaring accident.

Yellow appeared for the Tumult Turnpike race but was once again unable to qualify. This, being the second time in a row Mellow Yellow failed to qualify, meant that the team was stuck in a desolate eighteenth place, having not scored a point for the last three races. The final race of the first half was at the Arctic Circuit, and Yellup, who was racing for the first time since their injury, was determined to end their scoring drought. 

“I’m furious with our recent results. I mean, we’re below the Limers, for goodness sake! I’m back to full physical fitness though, and I’m sure I can pick up points this time. I don’t want a repeat of this year’s Marble League.”

Unfortunately, it was another mediocre outing, with Yellup only scoring two points in the race, and the team remained in eighteenth.

The first half of Marbula One was over, with Mellow Yellow third from bottom in the standings. But this did not mean there were no more JMR competitions to come during the break, as a special five-event invite-only Marble League Winter Special was commissioned.

“I mean, we are relatively confident that we’ll be selected. Sure, we haven’t been performing the best recently, but we’re a legacy team, in a way. We’ve been in every full-on Marble League, so why not this one?” Yelley said of the team’s chances. 

There was one legacy team left out…

However, it came as a shock to the team when they were not included in the invitations list. 

“The deciding factor for us not including Mellow Yellow was their poor performance in the last Winter Marble League, and their recent bad results overall,” prominent JMRC member Mesp explained. “We were going to include the Limers and Mellow Yellow, but we decided to swap them out with the Chocolatiers and Balls of Chaos for various reasons.”

Yellup shed some light on the team’s mentality after not being selected.

“We were devastated, it was a huge wake-up call for us. That was when we realized that constant near misses with the basement just isn’t good enough. We needed to step up, and fast.”

The Limers were another team that had finished poorly in recent tournaments and were also not invited to the competition. However, the team had already been making plans of a different type. 

“We were a bit upset after we didn’t receive an invitation to the Marble League Winter Special, but it also got us thinking,” said Goolime of the Limers. “We had not seen our pals from the Fruit Circuit in years. We had an idea, and we started working with fellow alumni, the Garden Peas, to set up a special one-off Fruit Circuit reunion series.”

The classic Fruit Circuit logo was revived for the one-off reunion.
(Art credit: Vector)

The Limers had won the Circuit in 2004, 2010, and the final edition in 2015, and were commonly considered one of the best teams in it, leading to many comparisons later on when they began having extremely bad performances in the Marble League.

“We wanted to do something nice for the team. They’ve had a rough year, and they’re really good sports.” Keylime explained. “And besides, I owe Yellup. I come from Marblopolis myself and, well, if it weren’t for an incident involving a collision between a few Marblopolis 500 racers, myself included, and a couple of Fruit Circuit teams back in ‘07, then I’d never have met Yellup, and if it weren’t for them I’d never have been introduced to the Fruit Circuit, and if it weren’t for the Fruit Circuit… well, you get the picture.”

Mellow Yellow was ready for the Fruit Circuit Reunion. This would be a five-event racing competition featuring sixteen teams, each of them Fruit Circuit alumni, all competing at different racetracks hosted by different competitors. Whilst at the event, Yellow discussed their experience.

“I’d be lying if I said that this wasn’t the greatest event of my life. So many old teams in one area! I know that I’m the captain and I’m supposed to be carrying the team’s pride on my shoulders or whatever, but I’m a bit of a Fruit Circuit nerd. You see, the Circuit was never televised but they always showed the highlights on the sports section of the news, and I was instantly drawn to it. All of these flashy teams racing against each other in the white knuckle, untamed courses designed to separate the wheat from the chaff. I had to keep my cool when we got invited, and I barely spoke to anybody there because I was so nervous. Seriously, how did the Limers of all teams manage to put this together? Look, over there, that’s the Watermelon Wanderers, they haven’t competed in the Fruit Circuit since its first season! And there, those guys are the Jalapeños and the Cayenne Calvary. They’re like the Limers-Racers rivalry turned up to eleven! Oh my goodness, this is a dream come true!”

(Photo credit: NordiqueWhaler)

Initially, it seemed as if Mellow Yellow would have yet another middle-of-the-road performance. They started up with a decent fourth on an overcast Tuesday afternoon in the twisting tunnels of the Cloudberry Colliders’ Cloud Caverns. But this was followed up with two decisively middle-of-the-road finishes, a seventh at the Seedway and an eighth at the Undergrowth, respectively. At this point in the league, they had managed to remain at a steady fourth place. However, it wasn’t over for them yet. After pulling off a shock gold medal performance at the Jalapeños’ Chilli Pepper Cross, Mellow Yellow was suddenly fired into second, exactly equal with the legendary Grape Nuts.

“Gosh, it felt good to get back to our best,” an exasperated Yellow said minutes after the conclusion of the race. “Maybe we can even go all the way!”

Everything rested on the final race.

It was to be held at the beautiful Rambutan Run, a marathon course taking the competitors across the Silver Lychees’ hometown of Lycinder, finishing at the town hall. Historically, there were never any stadiums in the small town, and thus the Lychees never once before hosted a Fruit Circuit season. Instead, they used a route made up of abandoned roads and streets, providing a racing experience like no other. Yellup would be the chosen marble for this race, giving them a golden opportunity to redeem themselves after their Aquamaring injury. They would, however, start the race in second-to-last, as per Circuit rules.

The lights were on. The fans were cheering. The marbles were ready. And off they went.

Sugar of the Jawbreakers, guest commentator at the Rambutan Run, interjected colorfully throughout the race:

“And here we go! Immediately, it’s the Banana Splits into the lead, with Banana Bread holding off Boysen at the top, and further down, Yellup doing very well for themselves so far, taking over Multeberry.”

Yellup started in good speed, immediately dropping Pistachio from the Grape Nuts, and pushing past the Cloudberry Colliders’ Multeberry before they had even reached Turn 1. The first sector of the track was made up of permanent road, a surface Yellup was more used to than most other marbles in the race. It was in this section where Yellup would make their way past the Strawberry Strudels and Zoomchinis before they entered the next section comprised of dirt roads—Yellup would closely follow the Watermelon Wanderers through here, but couldn’t get past. However, as the marbles were approaching the end of the lap and moving back onto the permanent asphalt section, Yellup had the chance to get Golden Delicious of the Apple Turnovers, who had been passed by the Watermelon Wanderers. It was at this point that the broadcast, which had been focusing on the race lead, moved their attention to the title fight, particularly on Yellup.

“Here’s Yellup of Mellow Yellow, looking to pass Golden Delicious, following closely through these turns but not- OH, a huge block laid down by Golden Delicious, Yellup loses loads of momentum and is sent backward!”

Yellup gets passed by the Strudels and the Zoomchinis.

Yellup felt themselves slowly rolling backward, before getting passed by Shortcake of the Strawberry Strudels and getting hit by Courgette of the Zoomchinis. As Yellup started to get rolling again, trying to get to the ramp to start the next lap, they saw the purple marble of Pistachio passing them. But the ramp gave a few seconds for Yellup to think. Yellup had moved so quickly on the first lap, but one incident had led to them losing the positions they had gained. Doing that multiple times would not suffice, so Yellup would decide to be more patient.

“Now this is interesting… Yellup is now directly behind Pistachio! They’re following their every move!”

Rather than attempting to pass Pistachio, Yellup would attempt a strategy popularized by Boysen of the Boysenberry Ballers, which is to follow the line of another fast marble as they make their way through the field. It was not a strategy many marbles could pull off, but Yellup did brilliantly, following Pistachio up the order. With three laps to go, Pistachio and Yellup were in fourth and fifth. 

“Yellup has sat behind Pistachio for quite a few laps now, looks like the move might come into this corner-yes it will! Yellup past Pistachio but Pistachio might come back at him, no Yellup blocks and receives a good push, and they might use this momentum to get past the Garden Peas by the end of the straight, yes they will, Yellup into third place.”

Yellup is gone, charging down the straight.

As they came off the belt to start the penultimate lap, Yellup would make a pass on the Jalapeños, now in second. They could have let off and brought it home there, already maintaining a points lead over the Grape Nuts, but they wanted the win.

“We’re heading into the final section now, but look at Yellup! They speed past Honeydew, and it looks like it will be Yellup, with the win and the title!”

Yellup charged down Honeydew of the Watermelon Wanderers and made a move into the same turn where they had the incident on the first lap, claiming first place in the race and championship.

In a post-race interview, Yellup would remark, “I thought of everything I had been through – my miserable tenure at a corporate job, months of struggling to make ends meet, and years where I’d been so close to winning, even when I’d fallen so short…and I realized that the act of winning isn’t what matters, but the journey to get there does. And I’m not making the most of that journey if I’m not fighting for it, even if the result ends up not so mellow.”

The final standings of the Fruit Circuit Reunion, organized by Orbitball and Fouc.

Once the midseason break had finished, Yellup, fresh off their victory, was chosen to represent Mellow Yellow at Raceforest. Yellup would qualify thirteenth again, but they would get a great start and finish a respectable sixth place after fighting in the top half the whole race.

Then came the Momotorway. Yellow ended up on pole after doing a great job defending from Yellow Eye in Q3. Yellow led many laps, but it wasn’t exactly a simple task to keep the previous year’s winner at this track, Clutter, and one of the best marbles in Marbula One, Yellow Eye, behind them, and they would slip down to third. 

After the race, coach Mellow would speak, saying, “This is good, this is exactly what I wanted to happen. The Fruit Circuit Reunion was where we would get a chance to enjoy ourselves and get back to our roots, but a good result for us would put us in good spirits heading into the second half of Marbula One and maybe carry some momentum. I think that’s exactly what happened today, and I hope we can carry this momentum the rest of the season, maybe even into the Marble League. But of course, marble sports don’t always work like that.”

Yellow ascends the podium for their Momotorway bronze.

Mellow Yellow’s good run would continue at Palette Park, where Yellup would score pole position making Mellow Yellow the first team to earn back-to-back poles in Marbula One. However, their luck would run out in the race, with Yellup finishing eleventh. 

The final three races would result in below-average finishes, with tenth at the chaotic Misty Mountain, twelfth at Savage Speedway, and twelfth at Midnight Bay. In the end, they finished fifteenth overall, with Yellow finishing 22nd and Yellup in 33rd in the individual standings.

After the disappointing finish, rather than returning home, Mellow Yellow would make their way to the outskirts of Knikkegen, where Marble Rally events usually take place. 

“I proposed the idea of practicing sand racing at Marble Rally tracks to coach because of the number of sand events that the Marble League will have, and as a way to prepare for the practice race that I will compete in”, commented Yelley. “Besides, sand racing is real fun, and there’s also no point in going back home when the practice race is in two weeks.”

At the start of the Practice Race, held to the south in the outskirts of Felynia, Yelley jumped out to the lead, and led for the first part of the race, as they were challenged by Indie of the Indigo Stars. However, Yelley took the low line through converging paths, and Yelley held a somewhat comfortable lead. 

“I was feeling pretty good at this point in the race,” noted Yelley. “This race was just a friendly, so I wasn’t pressured to do perfectly, and I found myself in the lead, so I was running fast but not completely focused, and that would end up costing me.”

Rather than hitting the outside wall and going straight over the bridge, Yelley went past the wall and straight off the bridge, losing spots quickly in the racing order. They kept going through the slower section, but the speed lost from going off cost them, as they got stuck. Eventually, they were hit by Rapidly and able to continue, but in the end, they finished 26th above Pinky Rosa and Bolt, setting low but not insurmountable expectations for Qualifiers.

Yelley and Indie battling for the lead, before any incidents.

In RetRollSpective, Mellow Yellow is not only a staple of the Marble League but one of its most decorated teams. The team placed in the top four of three of the five Marble Leagues leading up to 2021, earning fourteen medals overall. Of the teams that have suffered from the “third-place curse”, Mellow Yellow has had the most successful rebound from its “cursed” season, has earned the respect of not only its fans but of all Marble League fans—and “kept it mellow” through it all. Best of luck to Mellow Yellow in the near future, keep on rolling!

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