RetRollSpective – Purple Rockets

Hello and welcome to another RetRollSpective, where we reflect on the history of marble sports teams that have competed in the tournaments of Jelle’s Marble Runs. This time, we’re entering orbit to visit the Purple Rockets, the reigning champions of Marble ManiaX. Read on to blast off and discover what this team is made of!

The official logo for the Purple Rockets, designed by Tim Ritz.

Hailing from the frigid city of Sheetersburg, the Purple Rockets are a team that made their professional sports debut at the Stardust Classic in 2014. But before that, they were all members of the Astrophotography Club at their university in Sheetersburg. The five original team members met while at Astrophotography Club, where they instantly bonded over their love and passion for Marble Sports. One afternoon, on an astrophotography excursion into the woods, Orbit set up a maze made in the snow outside, where they competed in races amongst themselves.

“Something clicked that afternoon.” Dwarf reminisced. “I think that’s when we became more than just friends. We became a team.”

The original logo for the Purple Rockets.
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)

Shortly after graduating from university in 2013, the team began training day and night. They had been taken under the wing of one of their former professors, Rocket, who began coaching the team. The team participated in an exhibition tournament in Sheetersburg in the winter, where they won three of the four events, to everybody’s surprise.

“I didn’t expect us to have this much skill!” Blast stated. “We might be able to get up into the higher leagues soon!”

And sure enough, later that year the Purple Rockets were given an invitation to the Stardust Classic, a regional tournament that would be held in Polaria by Royal Stardust.

The Stardust Classic logo.
(Design Credit: Phantasm)

The Purple Rockets started the tournament with a bang. After receiving an ovation from the crowd during the opening ceremony, Sulfur made it to the finals of the Sprint Race in a very fast time. In the final, Sulfur sprinted to the finish line in a photo finish with Radiance from the Solar Flares, a team from Meteorine. Timing and scoring revealed that the two marbles had tied, and a race-off was held between the teams. But Radiance would not hold on to the field this time, as Sulfur earned the Purple Rockets the first gold of the competition.

“It was a momentous occasion,” Sulfur beamed on the podium, above Radiance and Astron, from Team Galaxy. “I’ll treasure it.”

The first podium of the Stardust Classic.
(Art Credit: Fouc, Laurent, Phantasm, Stynth)

The Purple Rockets wouldn’t win another medal until Event 4 of the competition: Diving. The team had pinpoint accuracy in this event, where they set the event record with an 11.76. Orbit, who had scored a bullseye in the event, remarked: “We’ve won two golds now, and we have our heads up high! The standings are close, and I’m hoping we can make a statement run soon!”

The team would go on to win one more medal, a bronze in the Black Hole Funnel. They finished the 2014 Stardust Classic in third place, just a few points behind the Solar Flares in second, but well behind the champions, Team Galaxy.

The final standings of the inaugural Stardust Classic!
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)
NOTE: The standings table was graciously re-edited in 2016 to prevent disputes with the Galaxy Corporation.

“We know we have the potential to be great, now.” Coach Rocket said. “We’re going to drive ourselves forwards next year, and win it all.”

The team returned to Sheetersburg triumphant after a successful season and spent the winter teaching local students astronomy and building a training facility. They would return to the Classic in 2015 with their heads held high, and eyes set on the overall victory.

Saucer and Blast in the Polarian Wilderness.
(Photo Credit: The Emperor)

The 2015 Stardust Classic kicked off with the Dirt Race, an event the Purple Rockets had not done well in during the prior year. This time, however, Saucer would deliver a bronze, earning the team another early medal. From there, the team did not let go of the championship at all, with their performance as dominant as Team Galaxy’s (now known as Team Galactic) the prior year. Orbit won gold in the Hurdles, the team won the Relay Run and Block Pushing, (even over the newly-formed Shadow Riders; whose claim to fame was Block Pushing domination) and Sulfur finished second in the Sprint. The Purple Rockets had clinched the championship victory before the final event, which hadn’t been decided yet.

“We’ve achieved our wildest dreams this year,” a happy Blast stated through tears of joy. Following the Sprint Race, which was the penultimate event of the tournament this year, Royal Stardust approached the team and offered them a chance to host the final event back in Sheetersburg. They accepted without hesitation, and the final event of the 2015 Stardust Classic would be the Rocket Ring GP, the Purple Rockets training track. Dwarf raced for the Rockets and earned them another silver medal, their sixth medal in eight events. Dwarf finished behind Radical of the Tubular Terrestrials, who finished the season in third overall. The Purple Rockets won the championship by thirty-three points over the Blood Moons, and then a further two over the Tubular Terrestrials.

The most dominant Stardust Classic performance!
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)

Unfortunately, the Stardust Classic disbanded following this season when several teams withdrew from the competition; Team Galactic joined the newly founded Marble League, and Royal Stardust became busy monitoring the region of Polaria. The Purple Rockets, slightly disheartened, disbanded for the time being, and went along to pursue careers in the space field.

Orbit became an astrophysicist and helped design components for the International Space Marble. Dwarf became a Team Galactic superfan and would be found in a Team Galactic uniform cheering them on from the stands in every Marble League event. Sulfur became a rocket designer and helped design many rockets, including the one that took Astron to space. Saucer and Blast joined coach Rocket as astronomy professors at Sheetersburg University and helped run the Astrophotography Club.

Orbit, the Captain of the Purple Rockets!
(Design Credit: Phantasm)

“We needed a break, and we each managed to pursue our paths now. Maybe one day we will start competing again, but for now, we’re content.” Orbit stated at the time.

Over the next few years, the Purple Rockets’ lives would be relatively uneventful, save for Dwarf’s life as a superfan of Team Galactic. To date, they have not missed a single event and are often one of the sign-bearers in the stands for the team. The team scarcely met with one another, but a moment they all shared was during the 2017 Marble League when Starry won Team Galactic their first-ever gold.

“That day… I was in tears,” Dwarf reminisced. “It was monumental.”

After the 2020 Marble League, Orbit was working on a new part designed for the ISM when they caught Cosmo, the captain of Team Galactic, in a special Cable Marble Media segment. There, Cosmo announced that the Andromedome would be hosting a Stardust Classic Reunion, inviting previous competitors to compete in a special exhibition tournament.

The Purple Rockets members all met on a “Nyoom Meetings” video call, and decided that they would give competing another shot. They attended the reunion, and their results once again were impressive. After a poor result in Block Pushing, the team won the Black Hole Funnel and placed second in the Starlit Speedway Grand Prix. They would finish the reunion in third place overall, just nine points behind Team Galactic.

The Stardust Classic Reunion Final Standings.
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)

“For not competing in several years, I think we had a very solid result.” Blast stated. 

Following the reunion, the Rockets craved more competition and sought out other competitions to take part in. Saucer and Blast did not wish to compete and returned to their jobs as astronomy professors, but the rest of the team continued to search for competitions. Orbit managed to find a local youth league that was starting up, called the Marble Sports Games, and managed to reserve a spot for the Purple Rockets based on their impressive Stardust Classic results. It was during this time that Smokey and Smoggy, two marbles from Rocketvok with the same names as members of the Hazers, managed to get in contact with Coach Rocket. Smokey and Smoggy joined the team shortly after, and the Purple Rockets were ready to roll in the Marble Sports Games. The tournament was hosted by The Emperor, a long-time Team Galactic fan and future member of the Jelle’s Marble Association. 

“We’re excited to be allowed to participate with the Purple Rockets,” Smoggy said. Unfortunately, the Purple Rockets’ debut in the Marble Sports Games would not be as successful as their Stardust Classic runs. The inaugural edition of the tournament was hosted in the Blueberry Bowl. The Rockets started the season with two poor finishes in the 10 Meter Sprint and Quartet Diving. Entering the third event, Balancing, they sat in fourteenth place. The Rockets blasted off with a silver medal in Balancing, which vaulted them up in the standings, to sixth. 

“That’s a solid start. Now we need to keep the momentum up.” Coach Rocket said in an interview after the event. Unfortunately, the momentum would not continue for the Rockets, with poor results in the Slalom, Collision, the Dirt Race, and Obstacle Maze.

“We miss Saucer’s expertise from the Dirt Race back in the Stardust Classic,” Captain Orbit remarked. “But, alas, we have to make do with what we have. And we currently aren’t doing enough.”The Rockets wouldn’t medal again until the eighth event of the tournament, Speed Skating, where Sulfur delivered a bronze medal. However, even with the medal, the Purple Rockets fell in the standings, to dead last. After another set of poor performances, Smokey managed to deliver the team one final medal in the finale, the Marathon. Even though they had two silvers and one bronze, the Purple Rockets ended the tournament with 82 points, in dead last.

Smokey on the Marathon podium!
(Photo Credit: The Emperor)

“We didn’t have a bad season…” Orbit exclaimed. “Sure…we got last. Not great. But we still had 82 points, which isn’t terrible by any means! The other teams were just better than us. We need to work harder, but you can mark my words, someday, we will be back.”

Besides their three medals, the Purple Rockets didn’t have a single top-half result. The team returned to Sheetersburg in the offseason to train and meet up with Saucer and Blast, as well as dabble in their origin of astrophotography.

“It’s great that the other members get to keep competing!” expressed Blast. “I’m happy we all got what we wanted, and that we’re still friends despite not being on a team anymore.”

The upcoming winter edition of the Marble Sports Games, hosted by the Valiant Vanillas in Vanillsinki, seemed to favor the Rockets’ advantage training in the cold, wintery atmosphere of Sheetersburg. However, the Qualifiers would not reflect that. The team finished in eighteenth with no medals earned, and their highest result was a fifth-place finish in Balancing. They would look for redemption in the B-League, however, and they found it. Orbit started the B-League off with a fifth-place finish in Funnel Spinning. However, in the next three events, the Purple Rockets won three straight silver medals and would finish the B-League in second place overall.

“That was much more like it!” A very happy Orbit beamed on the overall podium. The Purple Rockets’ fine form appeared to be returning from the Stardust Classic. The team was jubilant and decided to take a small vacation during the offseason. They visited Hunluen, Rocketvok, and Meteorine during their trip. While in Meteorine, they took a tour of the Solar Flares’ hometown and managed to meet a few of the local fans. The Solar Flares had recently been given an invitation to the 2021 Marble League Qualifiers.

“It’s always been a dream of ours to compete.” Dwarf stated. “We’ve been performing rather well in these minor leagues…one day…I think we might have a shot at the bigs.”

Following their vacation, the team returned home to Sheetersburg, but in better spirits. They had performed exceptionally in the B-League and knew that they had the potential to do well.

Orbit, the Purple Rockets Captain, in Sheetersburg.
(Photo Credit: The Emperor)

“We believe that we have a shot at qualifying this time,” Smoggy said in a hopeful voice. Alas, it was not meant to be for the Rockets, as they placed fourteenth in the qualifiers, just four points off of the final spot, which went to the Oddballs, a team that had formed around their dedication and passion for the Marble Rally Athlete, Oddball. 

“It’s an improvement…but we still can’t make the final push when it matters.” Coach Rocket said. “We’ll be giving it our all in the B-League again, though. Don’t count us out yet.”

The Rockets’ Season 3 B-League would be admittedly worse than the prior season, placing fourth, fifth, sixth, and last in the four events. The team barely scraped by the relegation bubble, placing eighth overall. But that wouldn’t be the most disappointing thing that the Rockets would deal with at the end of this B-League. Smokey and Smoggy announced that they would be leaving the team, stating that they had “lost the spark of competition” that they had once had.

“It’s a shame to see them go, but we wish them all the best,” Orbit said through tears. 

The four remaining Rockets returned to Sheetersburg, disheartened, but still, determined to keep their legacy going. They met up with Saucer and Blast and decided that it would be best to take a break from training, and get out and do something together, as friends. They unanimously decided to take part in watching the 2021 Marble League from the stands, and all donned Team Galactic uniforms. Despite the team failing to qualify for the main league, the Rockets still showed up for every event. 

“I missed this, ya know?” Dwarf said. “Being a superfan is always a blast…I get to show up to the events every day wearing my uniform, holding signs, and supporting my favorite team…with my friends now! It’s great!”

Saucer echoed Dwarf’s sentiments, stating: “I missed being a team…and I think Blast and I have decided…we’re going to re-join the others once this Marble League is done!”

The team sat in the Team Galactic fan section for the Marble League Showdown, where they saw Astron win gold in the Sprint, and Starry win silver in Marblocross. As they left the stadium, united once more, the Purple Rockets were hungry for more competition…and more competition they would have.

The Team Galactic cheering section during the 2021 Marble League!

It was the time of year again for the Stardust Classic to be up and running. However, with Team Galactic returning to Galakonur to focus on their training for the upcoming Marbula One Season 3, Royal Stardust needed a different hosting venue. And that was when they approached the Purple Rockets.

“It was truly…well…I fainted upon hearing the announcement, but I was told that it was a truly amazing moment.” Saucer said. “We were going to be hosting the 2021 Stardust Classic.”

The Mayor of Sheetersburg, Shuttle, offered to renovate the Rockets’ training facility for them and turn it into a new and improved, large-scale stadium. The Rockets graciously accepted, and soon, construction of the Space Station was completed. 

“We cannot thank Mayor Shuttle enough for this opportunity.” Coach Rocket said. “We have reached out to them in regards to potentially becoming our team manager, and helping settle and manage the finances of the organization.”

The Purple Rockets invited seven former Stardust Classic teams to compete in the tournament. Since the Reunion one year prior, Royal Stardust had expressed interest in maintaining it as a yearly tradition. Several teams from the Reunion would be returning for the new edition, including the Stargazers, Supernovas, Asteroids, Crazy Comets, and Blood Moons. The Rockets also invited the Shadow Riders, a former Stardust Classic team, who had emerged from retirement to participate in the Team Quadrilla Marble League. The final invite was sent out to an up-and-coming youth team, known as the Eclipses, from Pesky’s Marble Championship. All seven teams accepted, and the Reunion was underway.

The competing 2021 Stardust Classic Teams.
(Art Credit: Laurent Rollon)

The Purple Rockets got off to exactly the start that they imagined, scorching the competition in Balancing with a 427. The Sheetersburg inhabitants, who had come pouring into the Station to view their home team, were overjoyed. The Rockets’ next endeavor, Funnel Endurance, would be a lesser success, with Blast taking home just a sixth-place finish. Similar to their first roundabout in the Marble Sports Games, the Purple Rockets experienced a midseason collapse. A fifth in the Newton’s Cradle, seventh in Block Pushing, and dead last in the Vacuum Wave saw the Purple Rockets fall to dead last, with three events remaining.

“It’s certainly not what we had in mind. Perhaps we put too much effort into hosting…” A disappointed Saucer stated. “I’m up next in the Sand Rally, so I’ll look to right the spaceship.”

Saucer’s bronze was a step in the right direction, as was the team’s bronze in Collision Course. The Rockets entered the final event in sixth and had an outside chance to win it all, with Dwarf on the track in the Rocket Ring GP.

“We have an outside shot, eh?” Dwarf said. “Well…we’ll need a lot of other things to happen for us to even have that shot, we don’t control our destiny. So, I say, it’s best to just go out there, and enjoy. Give the crowd a final hurrah!”

The track map for the Rocket Ring GP.
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)

And Dwarf, for the most part, did that. While they only finished in fourth, securing that the Rockets would not finish on the overall podium, Dwarf was one of the most exciting racers to watch on the track and had several highlights on display upon the conclusion of the tournament.

“That pass on Cupid in the final lap…wow. Most beautiful overtake I’ve ever seen,” remarked a CMM reporter, who interviewed all of the teams after the tournament. The Purple Rockets would end up finishing fifth, with 56 points, but only 13 adrift from the victorious Stargazers.

The 2021 Stardust Classic Results.
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)

“The chemistry we used to have, back when the five of us originally started competing…we need to get that back. Once we do though…I think we’ll be back in our early form.” Blast stated.

The Sheetersburg residents were beginning to get excited. The Purple Rockets had built up a lot of small successes over the years now, and there was a rumor that they were a frontrunner for a new, big event coming up soon. But for now, they had their eyes focused on finally qualifying for the Marble Sports Games, hosted by The Emperor (now a JMA Member) once more, and shortly after the conclusion of the Stardust Classic, they flew over to Burnsville for the fourth edition of the tournament. During their training regiments, Coach Rocket received a formal invite to a new, upcoming tournament hosted by the Balls of Chaos and operated by none other than Jelle’s Marble Runs.

The Purple Rockets’ Marble ManiaX team reveal.

“We were stunned. Jelle’s Marble Runs had just reached out to us, inviting us onto the big stage.” Orbit exclaimed. “It hasn’t been revealed to the public yet, so our fanbase doesn’t know yet. But just picturing their reaction…it’s going to be priceless!” The team accepted the invite for Marble ManiaX, which was set to begin later in the year.

“Even with that shocking news, we figured that the time between tournaments would give us enough of a chance to rebuild that chemistry that we once had…” Blast began. “It didn’t.”

The Purple Rockets Season 4 Qualifiers were a disaster. They only managed 13 points; their lowest accumulated in any tournament, let alone a qualifier with 20 spots available for points. Suddenly Balls of Chaos’s selection didn’t seem as promising. “It’s an embarrassment, but we assure you, we can overcome it.” Sulfur assured the public. The Purple Rockets were once again stuck in the B-League but now had to balance between two tournaments, with Marble ManiaX about to start. Thankfully, their start to the B-League was relatively good, and to end off the first half of the league, they won a bronze in the Heat Wave.

 The Purple Rockets’ first MSG Medal since Season 2!
(Photo Credit: The Emperor)

The Rockets were ready to roll in Marble ManiaX; their first competition on the big stage. 

“We’ve been asked…how are we going to juggle two tournaments at once?” Orbit stated at a press conference. “And the answer is…we simply love to compete. And that hunger for the competition is going to drive us. We’ve got Shuttle back in Sheetersburg, who’s agreed to help manage the team. And then Coach is with us every step of the way on our journey through these competitions.”

The Purple Rockets hold a press conference ahead of their busy early 2022 season.
(Design Credit: Laurent Rollon)

The Purple Rockets’ big stage debut could not have gone much better. Competing with some of the best prospective teams, as well as three Marble League teams, they won a joint-silver medal with the Black Jacks; the first podium tie in their history.

The Purple Rockets take their turn on the second step of the podium!

“Looks like we’re blasting off again!” Rocket said with a wink. Following the event, Sulfur caught a quick flight to Burnsville, to compete in the Track and Field event in the Marble Sports Games’ B-League. The Rockets’ representative did not compete well in it and crashed out early on. Thankfully, in the next event of Marble ManiaX, Sulfur was crashing into dominoes, and not off of the course, and the Purple Rockets earned their second silver medal in two events.

The dynamic duo of Orbit and Sulfur team up for another medal!

Blast was the next one up in the Marble Sports Games, and in their first event in the competition, snagged a top-half finish in Funnel Endurance. Meanwhile, in the Marble ManiaX edition of funnels, Dwarf put up a solid showing as well, with a fourth-place finish, which rocketed the team up to first place overall. 

The Purple Rockets’ next endeavor would be for the B-League Finale at the Marble Sports Games; the Gravitrax Slalom. And the Rockets delivered another great performance, with a silver medal, to ensure that they would advance to the Qualifiers for the next season.“We are happy with how this season turned out.” Coach Rocket said. “This team has a lot of heart…I know I wouldn’t have been able to compete in the sheer number of tournaments that they have. But they persevere through it all and are still flying high in Marble ManiaX, too.

The Rockets win Silver in the Slalom!
(Photo Credit: The Emperor)

The Purple Rockets finished the B-League sixth overall, enough to secure advancement to the Season 5 Qualifiers. With that locked up, they returned to Hunluen for the Obstacle Run, the fourth event of Marble ManiaX. Saucer was selected to participate, and after placing poorly in the first round, they finished in the top three in every remaining round and delivered the Purple Rockets’ third silver medal in four events.

“We are looking forward to taking this home,” Saucer remarked after the event. And the final obstacle in the Purple Rockets’ way was the daunting event of Super Collision. An obstacle, it appeared, that the Purple Rockets were not ready to handle.

“It was the most heartbreaking thing, and then when we watched the rest of the event unfold on the sidelines…we panicked.” Orbit remarked. “But…that panicking turned out to be for naught. The Constrictors went out in the semifinals, and we had done it.”

The Purple Rockets had won Marble ManiaX. It took them just three silver medals, becoming the first team in JMR history to win a tournament without any gold medals.

The Purple Rockets on the final Marble ManiaX Podium; triumphant at last!

“It just goes to show you…if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.” Coach Rocket stated. “And I believe that we’ll be back again soon. You can quote me on that.”

In RetRollSpective, the Purple Rockets’ history is full of ups and downs. The team has astronomical potential, as we’ve seen in the Stardust Classic and Marble ManiaX, and has fought through all of the obstacles that have been thrown their way. Best of luck to the Purple Rockets in the near future, keep on rolling!

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