Noah Brier | April 1, 2020

Why is this interesting? - The Marble Racing Edition

The Marble Racing Edition On sports, YouTube, and the endless search for mindless entertainment

Noah here. One of the things we’ve lost during the COVID-19 pandemic is sports. Of course, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t a very big deal, but for a lot of people (myself included) watching athletes compete is a nice little escape from the world. While ESPN continues to talk about anything they can and all the leagues have offered up access to their archives, it’s a fun moment to look outside the American three-letter acronyms for different kinds of competitive entertainment.

So what have I been watching? I’ve always found snooker incredibly relaxing to watch and I keep this Metafilter post with perfect games bookmarked for when I need a break. Last week I discovered World Chase Tag, which is one part parkour and one part playground game. It’s bonkers. I don’t know what Bo-Taoshi is, but it does not look safe. One friend suggested I check out this 1996 Olympic Single Scull Rowing Final. You can’t get enough Highland Games. And, of course, where would we be without the electrician’s national championship?

Why is this interesting?

While all those are fun, one sport has risen to the top for me: marble racing.

Run by some dutch marble fans, the channel does a pretty impressive job putting together a well-produced "Marbula One" race. Fan noise, announcing, and onscreen graphics that are better than some college basketball games I’ve watched. But mostly, it’s fun and relaxing and mindless. After I gave my kids a bath the other night we sat on the couch and watched marbles go around the track for 10 minutes. It’s easy to understand and strangely fun to root for. 

I’m not alone in taking notice. Subscriptions are up for Jelle’s Marble Runs (the channel that runs the races) by 100k in the last three weeks and Saturday’s race apparently attracted some oddsmakers (Savage Speeders were +500 to win the championship going into the race). The race, for what it’s worth, did not disappoint, with some real surprises on the opening lap. Like all good internet things, there’s a wiki with full results and statistics maintained by the community.

Once you’re done with Marbula One, you can check out Marble Rally (dirt and sand) and the Marble League (formerly called Marbleympics, presumably before a cease-and-desist from the IOC).

Got any other strange sports for me to add to my YouTube queue? (NRB)

Chart of the Day:

From Recode: “This month, nearly 200 companies have told investors that they are withdrawing their guidance — the numbers they told them they would be hitting in the next few quarters of the year — via update sections of 8K filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, where companies put new meaningful information for shareholders.” (NRB)

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Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN)

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