November 22, 2017
School & Youth
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  • Grace Myers and Bradley Harper met The Daily Scoop owner Michael Linder and enjoyed an ice cream treat provided by marbles coach Doug Watson after they placed in the top eight at the National Marble Championship held in Wildwood, New Jersey, during the third week of June.
    Grace Myers and Bradley Harper met The Daily Scoop owner Michael Linder and enjoyed an ice cream treat provided by marbles coach Doug Watson after they placed in the top eight at the National Marble Championship held in Wildwood, New Jersey, during the third week of June.

Anne Arundel Marble Players Shoot To Win At National Contest

Diane Lewis
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July 12, 2017

Eight-year-old Grace Myers and 9-year-old Bradley Harper sported large trophies and medals while eating their celebratory ice cream cones at The Daily Scoop on Mountain Road during a July afternoon. The ice cream was a reward; after all, they had both finished in the top eight for their respective groups in the National Marble Championship held in Wildwood, New Jersey during the third week of June.

The games spanned four days; the first three days were a round-robin contest between each player. Afterward, the top eight kids got to play on the fourth and final day.

Grace and Bradley’s coach, Doug Watson, a dedicated marble player and enthusiastic teacher for the Anne Arundel Marble Players, had won the championship in 1999. The contest first began in 1922.

Watson had promised Myers and Harper an ice cream cone if they scored victories from the tough competition. Prior to the contest, ice cream was a regular incentive for their hard work and intense practices. They first began meeting weekly for practice last fall, and as the championship neared, it turned into every day for one to two hours for two weeks prior.

This was the first time the kids had competed in the national championship. Their wins were even more impressive since they were up against contestants as old as 14, some of whom had already won the national championship.

“It was very challenging playing against 14-year-olds,” Myers admitted, a sentiment shared by Harper.

“They both had great attitudes and were not extra competitive,” said Watson. He also added that Myers, “a quiet, shy little girl, was on her tiptoes the entire time and was very carefree about meeting the other kids.” The more talkative Harper “had a stone-cold face when competing,” according to Watson.

The coach raised $500 through the site GoFundMe to send the children to New Jersey. As of July 3, $655 was donated. Some money came from marble collectors as far away as New Mexico and Washington.

Watson has a passion for marbles and has played since the age of 10. He has taught the game for several years and loves teaching kids. He thinks it is a wholesome activity that teaches patience and good motor skills. He primarily goes to Girl Scout and Cub Scout meetings to introduce marbles to the various groups.

“It is common for people to not know how to play marbles,” Watson said. There are 13 agate marbles in all, racked up in an X shape within a circle of 10 feet in diameter. The first shot of the game is done outside of the circle with the “shooter” marble that is typically made of stone. Whoever successfully shoots seven marbles first wins the game.

Weekly practice used to be held at The Y in Pasadena, but since cost became a deterrent, the Riviera Beach Volunteer Fire Company has provided a place for the kids to meet.

The community of Riviera Beach as a whole has been accommodating. On July 18, Watson will discuss with the community board the possibility of putting in a full-sized ring at the local park. Myers’ father, Brandon, who has a working relationship with Sheckells & Sons, asked the construction company to donate the concrete to set up the proposed pitch, and the company agreed. Watson hopes to have the pitch completed by Labor Day. He would love to have it dedicated to the military since he is a veteran and would like to pay homage to others.

To learn more about the Anne Arundel Marble Players, email aamarbleplayer@gmail.com or go to “Anne Arundel Marble Players” on Facebook.


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