Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rock, Paper, Scissors!

RPS 2006: The Saga Begins

As a reporter for Intern Edition, I plan to attend the Rock Paper Scissors World Championships in Toronto and win three important things: 1) $7000 CAD, 2) a reputation as the greatest RPS player on the face of the earth, and 3) respect as a broadcast journalist. From where I’m sitting now (i.e. my desk), it seems I have two major obstacles in my path: 1) mental toughness, and 2) statistics.

Last summer I made my debut on the RPS Circuit at the DC Nationals, where I bowed out in the first round alongside Cheddar Ted, the JoJo to my KC. To give you a glimpse of my experience, here is an excerpt from my post-tournament diary:

After winning the first best of three set then going up 1-0 in the second, I managed to give it all away to this dude with some sort of Viet Cong combat helmet on his dome. Apparently, this bro ruined a pep rally at my friend’s high school by hiding in an overturned trash can and walking into the step show, where he had to be tackled in the trash can by a gang of faculty. He also cheated by delaying his throws and looking at my hands instead of into my eyes like a true gamer. I attempted to alert our completely oblivious, chain-smoking judge to this underhandedness, but I’m pretty sure she had no idea that she was at a Rock Paper Scissors tournament. Perhaps she believed she was working at an outpost of Staples that was being ransacked by Neanderthals.

After a few depressing moments at the bar, the night was salvaged in some street RPS games upstairs where Cheddar beat the #16-ranked Awesomer Thanyou in a cash game. Awesomer, whose real name is James, also lost in the first round of the tournament and by my calculations squandered about $150 in side games. He seemed poised to play a best of three match for his house. In summation, he seemed like a man with nothing to lose. My brief conversation with him went like this:

Me: Yo Awesomer, how long have you been in the game?

Awesomer: Only a couple of years. I went to the World Championships in Toronto last year. It was awesome.

Me: Was it “Awesomer” than this?

Awesomer (seriously): Hey, man, don’t make fun of my name.

After this experience, I know that RPS is no joke, and if I am going to emerge victorious in Toronto I know I have a lot of training ahead of me in the next month. So far I have mostly been playing games against my mom for use of the television (this is a lie) and using this online RPS simulator (http://www.shotgunrules.com/rock_paper_scissors.shtml), which is like the modern-day equivalent of putting chess moves in bottles and throwing them into the ocean. In other words, very unfulfilling and mostly useless.

This is just the beginning…


-Christopher Schonberger, Weekend Edition Saturday

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