Say what you want about the Olympics, both summer and winter, but I find them horribly boring. Hockey is interesting to watch, as is swimming and sometimes gymnastics, but unless you get lucky and the games are held in a part of the world close to you, more often than not, the most interesting events are held when a lot of the United States is still sleeping. Not only can the Olympic Games often be hard to catch live, but they also tend to carry on for weeks at a time, robbing you of your preferred sport unless you happen to be at home when it is airing live or can catch a rerun.
Maybe you recorded it or watched it online. That doesn’t solve the issue of it having been over for a while and a large portion of the world already knowing how it ended. Spoilers are hard enough to avoid for popular television shows such as Game of Thrones; how can you hope to avoid them for a worldwide event?
There is an alternative. Maybe even a replacement. Before you roll your eyes and stop reading, understand that I was dubious at first as well. “Jelle’s Marble Runs” is a strange little YouTube channel that only focuses on content around marbles with new videos posted every Tuesday and Friday. Jelle, an autistic man from the Netherlands, has a passion for the little balls of glass that has turned itself into an exciting series of videos with a solid base of viewers.
Yes, people watch these videos, and you should too. The MarbleLympics consists of a series of events with different teams competing against each other. You’ll see groups such as the O’rangers (orange marbles, and also the best team), the Limers (lime green marbles), the Snowballs (White) and others compete on varying types of courses in order to earn points and try to win the championship.
There’re relay races, block pushing (where four marbles roll down a ramp to push a block as far as they can), a high jump (marbles launch upwards off a ramp to try and clear an obstacle), sand rally’s (racing in the sand), curling (where the marbles act as the rocks), archery (closest to the center wins) and steeplechases (sand rally’s with obstacles). Overlayed over the top of each video is a commentary track by Greg Woods, who adds personality and flavor as you watch balls of glass roll around. The MarbleLympics are charming, fun, exciting and available to watch whenever you feel like sitting down for it. The opposite of the real Olympics in pretty much every way.
If silly events aren’t your thing, Jell makes other series that are just as exciting. Though the MarbleLympics are what he is known for, he also features a popular Sand Marble Rally event where marbles “race” down a long track dug into the sand. In this event each marble is unique and competes on their own, trying to secure enough points over the season to win the overall championship. (The best marble here is Red Number 3.)
“Jelle’s Marble Runs” is a unique show made by a man with a passion who spends an enormous amount effort on what he is doing and has tons of fans who are willing to buy into the silly premise and root for their favorite teams. Best of all, each video is short, costing you only five or so minutes of your time. You can binge or enjoy it in small doses and go on with your day. It’s a great time—and one of the best channels you haven’t heard about.
You can check Jelle’s entire line of videos out here and his Twitter feed here. The 2019 MarbleLympics are on the way, with qualifying already underway. There’s never been a better time to get in on the action.
Caleb Edwards is a junior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. When he isn’t working or writing you can find him tending his fish, taking care of his cats or trying to find free time that he can waste (there never is any). You can follow him on Twitter @CEdwardsSam