People are watching games of Fifa and marble racing as a replacement for all the sports that have been cancelled

Greg Evans
Tuesday 17 March 2020 16:00
sport
Picture:(Jelle's Marble Runs/ Fifa)

It goes without saying that while we are all isolating and social distancing we are sorely in need of some entertainment.

While we are all planning our own film festivals on Netflix or re-watching the entirety of The Wire, Sopranos, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad some people are really mourning the loss of sport.

Everything across the board has either been cancelled or temporarily suspended until further notice.

As a means to an end, people have been seeking out alternatives for sports and a popular choice is 'Marble Racing.'

Yes, you read that correctly, 'Marble Racing'.

How perfect is this? A sport that requires no human interaction but is completely engrossing and intense with brilliant commentary.

It's all that we could ask for in these times of isolation.

Plenty of different marble races have since emerged on Twitter in the last week, you know, since all the traditional sport stopped.

Where do these videos come from and why are they so good?

Well, it turns out that we have a YouTube channel called Jelle's Marble Runs to thank for this. The channel started in 2016 and features such events as Marble Rally and Marbula One.

The level of production and effort that goes into these videos is actually quite remarkable featuring everything from graphics, race tracks, rankings and even team names.

Views on the channel's videos have significantly jumped following the cancellation of all sports and it all comes from the mind of 32-year-old Jelle Bakker from Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Speaking to Vice in 2016, Bakker explained his fascination comes from a form of autism that he has.

I got one as a gift from my parents, I have a form of autism and I'm really interested in moving things, sounds, lights, etc.

My biggest dream is to set up my own museum filled with marble runs and marble races where people can put in marbles and compete each other.

The now annual Marble League features 16 different racing events and an astonishing 15 different teams, made up of five different marbles.

Interest in marble runs has now got to the point that it has now been featured on BBC Sport and ESPN.

If marbles or even racing isn't your thing then there is still something resembling football going on.

On YouTube people have been enjoying 'celebrity football' that are being played out on Fifa. It's a bizarre combination of daytime television, Spitting Image and Match of the Day and one new video a week will be released by the creators, Sonage Gaming, a week until the football actually returns.

That's one thing but it is worth bearing in mind the many lower league football teams who depend on matchday revenue from fans to keep them afloat.

To try and raise some money and help those teams that might be fearing the future, League Two side Leyton Orient has organised a mass Fifa tournament, where players from actual teams will represent them in a knockout tournament, with matches streamed on Twitch.

This will feature 64 teams from as far afield as the United States and South Africa and the draw threw up some tantalizing clashes such as Roma vs. Walsall and Swindon vs. Benfica.

Of course, there is a point to this as Leyton Orient is encouraging people to donate money to a Just Giving campaign with the money raised being given to football league teams as well as the MIND charity and for COVID-19 research. It's a noble cause and well worth contributing to even if you have no interest in football.

Although there is no sport happening right now, it's great to see people are still finding unique and original ways to keep themselves entertained.

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