The title of National Marbles Tournament champion comes with many rewards — college scholarships, trophies, bragging rights, and in the case of last year’s Marbles’ King Brandon Matchett, big-screen superstardom.
Well, sort of.
Matchett, 13, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pa. is one of three mibsters - marble shooters- featured in a documentary based on the game,“Mibsters.”
“Mibsters” follows a trio of players as they trained and competed for last year’s National Marbles Tournament, which Matchett won. The other boys featured in the film are brothers Sam 13, and Ben Eddings, 11, also of Pittsburgh.
Their father, Jeff Eddings, filmed it, and the first showing was held on Monday, during the start of the 89th National Marbles Tournament held at Ringer Stadium on Wildwood Avenue and the Beach in Wildwood.
Over the next three days, 43 marbles players from several states, ages 7-14, will be competing for the titles of this year’s king and queen of marbles. The tournament includes more than 1,200 games of marbles with a boy and girl champion crowned Thursday.
Last year’s king and queen, Matchett and Bailey Narr, 11, also of Pittsburgh, will also pass off their crowns Thursday and be inducted into the National Marbles Hall of Fame.
Jeff Eddings said he was inspired to create the documentary two years ago when he first came to Wildwood with his sons for the National Marbles Tournament. Aside from following the boys’ journeys to nationals, the documentary also includes several interviews with former players, anecdotes and an explanation of how to play the game, he said.
The first National Marbles Tournament took place in 1922 and has been held every year since, but not many people know about the game.
“Nobody knows what a mibster is,” Eddings said. “I want to share the story.”
The official premier is yet to be determined and will be announced via its facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/Mibsters. But based on the crowd reaction on Monday, the documentary will be well received, he said.
President of the National Marbles Committee Beri Fox said the documentary left her completely speechless.
“It totally grasps the evolution and spirit of the tournament,” Fox said. “I get chills just thinking about it.”
IF YOU GO
The 89th annual National Marbles Tournament is being held each morning starting today at 8 a.m. until Thursday at Ringer Stadium, Wildwood Avenue and the beach. The finals will be held Thursday.