It’s been a weird few days. As news of COVID-19‘s incredibly rapid spread across the world has us terrified, we’re all (or at least we all should be) spending tons of time at home. Movie theaters are closed and sporting events are on hold indefinitely. So what’s a group of people to do? Sure, there’s plenty of streaming movies to watch; and there are lots of great video games to play. But what do you do if you want to follow something more immediate? Something with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat? Ah, what about marbles racing?
Day 4 with no sports:— CH𓂀IS☥MAS (@davdchristmas) March 15, 2020
Marble1 racing is intense! pic.twitter.com/StgO4fY8VG
It’s astonishing how rapt this video actually had me. The tweet from davdchristmas makes the point that, on Day 4 of no sports, this is what we’re turning to. However, I find this video endlessly compelling! Comet takes an early lead and the whole rest of the video is a tense battle of kinetic energy and friction as the marbles careen down an insanely long run on a hill near a beach. There are winding roads and forks and breakaways; if real car racing were more like this, I’d watch every match. Meet? Contest? What do they call a car race besides a race? Regardless.
Jelle’s Marble Runs
The video actually comes from Jelle’s Marble Runs, maybe the most addicting YouTube channel of the Social Distancing era. With commentary via the sonorous Greg Woods, this channel gives us exciting marble races week after week. The tracks are more and more complex and employ escalators and elevators to get the combatants back to the start for the second and third laps.
In February, Jelle’s Marble Runs launched Marbula 1, an incredibly lush racing circuit with a full season well underway. They even built stadium seating for other marbles to watch the action. I think the announcer really makes the videos; I love the way he makes it seem like the racers all have a specific strategy instead of it all coming down to gravity and physics. But my heavens if it isn’t incredibly watchable, and addicting. Perfect for a no-go-outside kind of year.
Featured Image: Jelle’s Marble Runs