By Matthew Spadaccini
Hey guys! Welcome to the first ever RetRollSpective, where I reflect on the history of marble athletes that have been featured in the MarbleLympics. For this first one, we’re going to take a glass eye to Team Momo—a momember of the original sixteen teams of the 2016 MarbleLympics, they have appeared in every MarbleLympics since.
Team Momo has never been a boring group of marbles. Taking its name and logo from the name of an Asian dumpling, Team Momo accumulated great interest in its early days merely because of its marble athletes’ names: Mo, Momo, Momomo, and Momomomo. This, coupled with Team Momo’s strong showing in the 2016 MarbleLympics events, quickly made the team one of the most popular in the competition. It seemed very hard to dislike a team that was so quirky, yet charming at the same time. Team Momo took home one gold and three bronze medals during 2016, finishing in a marblous fourth place overall. This automatically qualified the team for the 2017 MarbleLympics and secured their place as a team known and loved by fans across the marblebase.
But where 2016 was perhaps one of the best years Team Momo could have hoped for, the 2017 MarbleLympics brought one of the most difficult years that Team Momo could have imagined. Team Momo did relatively well during event one, placing fifth, but fell to dead last during event two. The team was discouraged, but they were ready to pick themselves up and keep rolling forward.
The now infamous Fidget Spinner Collision event, which was inspired by the oversaturated trend of fidget spinners last year, completely changed Team Momo and the MarbleLympics as we know it. As Team Momo faced against the Midnight Wisps, racing toward the battlefield, all Team Momo and the Midnight Wisps wanted to do was their own personal best, regardless of how many marbles were left on the arena or how much they fought against the fidget spinners. The two teams raced onto the battlefield, collided, spun out into the fidget spinners, collided again, and a shriek of shattered glass erupted from the center. Momomomo, unable to control himself from the rapidly rotating blades of the fidget spinner, was knocked into Wispy so hard that a chunk of his glass broke apart from him.
Momomomo later said, “It felt like my life, everything I had worked for, it was all flashing before my eyes while I could only look back at the piece of me left on the arena…everything that was happening at the present felt like it was in slo-momo.”
The event continued past the injury, but not for Team Momo, which had to withdraw immediately from the event as they cared for Momomomo. Mimo was the first alternate ever for a MarbleLympics team, and his presence on Team Momo ultimately gave them the momomotivation they needed to continue pushing forward. In the next two events, Momo and Momomo got past the initial Heat rounds, and in the Relay Run, Mimo’s first event in the MarbleLympics, Team Momo obtained their first silver medal ever in the MarbleLympics. Momomomo reappeared in the stands to watch Team Momo get another silver in Block Pushing, and came down to the arena with crutches to congratulate his teammates on their bronze medal in the High Jump. Sadly, Team Momo’s mid-MarbleLympics push proved futile to keep Team Momo in the top five, though the team remained in the top ten at ninth place at the MarbleLympics’ end.
The following offseason was, apart from training for 2018 Qualifications, a time of deep concern and reflection for the team. Thankfully, with healthy donations from across the marblebase, including the Midnight Wisps, Momomomo was able to afford the medical care he needed to recover from his injury, which had seemed fatal at the time it happened. While Momomomo recovered, the team regularly checked on him while training Mimo as an official new momember of the team.
Mo has said of Mimo, “Just because he has an “I” in his name doesn’t mean he isn’t for the team. Mimo has been a truly fresh addition to Team Momo and always inspires Momo, Momomo, and myself to be the best we can be. We have no intention of benching him, nor will he ever replace Momomomo: he’s not only a great team momember, he’s strengthened the bond of our family.”
Team Momo also received several complaints that their logo looked like a smelly green trash bag over the offseason. Momomo has said that she understands, but the team will not have the logo altered because it honors the Asian traditions behind Team Momo.
Team Momo appeared in Group B of the qualifying events with Momomomo fully recovered, which the fans were overjoyed to hear after a nearly silent off-season from the team. They ended up in fifteenth place, just enough to qualify and get the marbles rolling for their appearance in the 2018 Winter MarbleLympics.
However, it seems this season has proved trying for Team Momo as well. The team placed in thirteenth in the first two events and was in dead last overall after the second event. Team Momo got ninth place in the third event, rising to fifteenth overall, but got twelfth in the fourth event and faced yet another series of injuries. Momomo was replaced with Mimo in the retry after Team Momo got stuck on the bobsled track due to an altitude sickness, and Momomomo knocked into a corner while on the bobsled the second time, incapacitated for the rest of the ride. Doctors quickly assisted the two team momembers. Though Team Momo was given points for their participation this time around, it is currently unknown how the team will recover from this. Reactions across the marblebase remain largely positive in the hopes that Team Momo will continue in the 2018 Winter MarbleLympics, though some have voiced their opinions that the team is in poor health and is unfit to even compete due to their lower scores in the events.
Overall, in RetRollSpective, Team Momo has seen a marblecoaster of events occur over the past two MarbleLympics, but the team is still very well regarded by other marble athletes and the fans for its fun, its traditions, and its achievements in 2016 and other competitions. It would be a shame to see Team Momo have to leave the MarbleLympics this year after all Mo, Momo, Momomo, Momomomo, and Mimo have fought for—they cannot be replaced. Best wishes to Momomo, Momomomo, and the fate of Team Momo; keep on rolling!