Marble Races are the Sport We Need

My boss shared a video of Jelle’s Marble Runs with our team as a random Friday distraction in Slack. I was pleasantly surprised at just how well-produced these marble runs are, commentated as though they were actual sporting events with living competitors.

What surprised me most of all was how entertaining the whole thing was. I couldn’t help but listen to the excited commentary and play-by-play of these tiny glass balls rolling down slides and sand towards the finish line. Which marble would take the gold? Was Red Number 3 going to roll away with the victory?

I made the decision to play some of these videos for my three-year-old son, Luke. He took to them instantly, and we ended up watching the marble runs for a significant part of our weekend. I immediately ordered marble runs from Amazon and within two days, Luke was racing his own marbles.

A Sport Without Politics

Wholesome entertainment is hard to come by these days. Studios have all but shut down production on virtually every television show and movie. Live sports are returning but with it the limitations of our current health and political situation.

Marbles, on the other hand, don’t need an offseason. They’re free of political opinions and societal trappings. They can’t get sick or injured on the field. They don’t cheat, jump the gun, or deal with scandals.

They just roll downhill. It’s one of the purest forms of sports entertainment ever created.

A Sport of Boundless Possibilities

Jelle creates unique marble runs for each event. Viewers are treated with twisting sand trenches, funnels, tubes, tracks, ramps, and more. The competitors don’t always make it to the end of the race, but the ones that do have a real chance at being placed on one of the winner’s podiums.

In order to win, marbles need to lean into the path of least resistance. Slalom motions down the ramps slow them down and allow opposing marbles to take the lead. They must be able to roll in the air and in water, maintain a solid pace, and be able to navigate through the twists and turns of a marble course without getting caught up or stalled.

A Sport with Market Potential

Viewers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver are familiar with Jelle’s Marble Runs. The show recently featured the YouTube channel on its program and became the sole sponsor of its 2020 season.

Oh, that’s right, sponsors! Because it’s fun and child friendly, it also has terrific market potential as an entertainment enterprise. Not only to entertainment entities like Last Week Tonight, but these events would be a great platform for brands like Upper Deck and retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

The Sport We Need Right Now

The COVID pandemic has had everyone cooped up at home for over half a year now. There’s no clear end in sight to the pandemic, and it’s safe to say we’re starved for something to watch.

Sure, we could spend that time watching cable news, getting angry at ourselves and the world around us. What’s the fun in that?!

Marble racing is just pure enough to be the thing many of us can agree on. It’s good, clean fun.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson