I have absolutely no idea why YouTube recommended Jelle’s Marble Runs to me the other day, but I’m glad it did. The channel is kind of weird, but in the best possible way. I don’t mean that in a mean way at all — just unexpected. If you’re unfamiliar with Jelle’s Marble Runs, the short version is that it’s a guy who makes massive marble mazes and then runs different “teams” of marbles through them. I’m not exactly sure what they’re made out of — it looks like some sort of Lego-alike for some parts — but damned if it’s not soothing.
The first time I watched one of the races, it took me a little while to get it. The schtick is that it’s treated as a real sporting event. There are stands packed with marbles cheering for their favorite teams, and there’s an announcer (Greg Woods, who sounds a little like Andy Daly) who gives play-by-play as the marbles go through the maze. Woods’ announcing plays into the concept so much, at first I thought that perhaps the marbles were actually controlled somehow. But, as far as I can tell, they’re just marbles.
The marbles are divided into teams by color, and most events are a series of heats, as the different colored teams repeatedly go through the mazes. Despite the teams being made up of, you know, marbles, I have to admit rooting for different teams during the events. I’ve got a soft spot for the yellow Bumblebees, but I also like the Crazy Cat’s Eyes, because they’re pretty. I admit that I’m a little strange in that I don’t give a damn about human athletes, but when it comes to smooth glass balls, apparently I’m all over the thrill of competition. At least I haven’t started assigning personalities to the teams… yet.
But seriously, it’s really fun to watch. My favorites are the mazes with different paths the marbles can go down, so you get a few that find the shortcut, and get ahead… but then they might end up getting caught up in another loop and losing their lead. And, oh dang, the sound they make, it’s super pleasing to the ear.
I’m not sure why Jelle’s Marble Runs has clicked with me so much, but it really has. And now it’s your turn.
Watch a few Jelle’s Marble Runs videos below:
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