Friday, July 13, 2007

Three symbols, a world of possibilities. Let the games begin.

Define Sport , here I could insert a quotation from dictionarycom , but in a quiet moment of channel surfing in the office I came across a new sport.

It has coverage on ESPN … following are the quotes from the telecast commentators.

“Thousands of pumps down “
“He has been unflinching all night”
“Oh no he has stumbled getting into the ring”
“Fatigue could be an issue”
“Slices paper for the point”
“Must throw flawlessly”
“Players must stay in sync”
“He is exhausted”
“These players are tired”
“On the verge of making sports history”
“He has done the unthinkable”
“One day we will see that fist in the Hall of Fame”
“This is the greatest moment in RPS history”
“He is my champion today”

Ok what is this sport?. Which somehow managed to elicit every sporting cliché from the commentators, there are some clues and even the acronym that it goes by.

I like watching sport and have even been known to comment on sports from curling to my personal favorite “solo synchronized swimming”. Yes they have solo synchronized swimming what the sync against is still a mystery perhaps they put a nose plug on the side of the pool and use that .

Anyway today I have to say that the second annual championship held in Las Vegas complete with $50,000 prize money was won by the “The Brain” in a tight match that included the referee having to stop the match for being out of sync.

Yes folks “ROCK PAPER SCISSORS” is now a serious sport

Check out the web site and if you are truly patriotic American please admit to cringing.

This article was on the site to promote the telecast that was my inspiration today …

After logrolling, spelling bees and hot-dog eating, you might think ESPN has run out of sports.
That would not be the case. Tonight, ESPN2 presents its first rock paper scissors competition.
The 2007 Bud Light USA Rock Paper Scissors League National Championship doesn't have the cachet quite yet of the Super Bowl, but it's growing, according to Matti Leshem, co-commissioner of the USA Rock Paper Scissors League.
Although the competition, held in Las Vegas, has been televised before - last year on the A&E Network - this is the first time it will be covered by ESPN, which still likes to call itself "the worldwide leader in sports."
"It's a real validation for the sport," Leshem says by phone from Los Angeles.
The competition was held in May at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino, with enough underwriting from Bud Light that 300 finalists from nationwide barroom competitions were flown in with a guest for the finals, which carries a top prize of $50,000.
The league has only been around since 2005, Leshem says, "but this is a game played since the beginning of recorded history."
Really? Before the invention of scissors? Or paper?
"Back to the caveman days," Leshem says, though he adds, "it was known as rock rock rock in those days."
The discovery of new materials led to a change in the approach. "For a time, it was known as rock papyrus spear, which you may have heard of before," he says.
Clearly, the development of paper in China, along with the invention of scissors, made great strides in the hand game where, of course, rock smashes scissors, scissors cut paper and paper covers rock.
There is a historic angle to the other name by which the game is known, Rochambeau, after the French general who aided George Washington in the Revolutionary War, and whose march through Connecticut (through Farmington, not too far from eventual ESPN headquarters in Bristol) marked its 225th anniversary last year.
The French general, according to Leshem, "adjudicated several disputes with rock paper scissors."
That may be just as much a myth as Rochambeau supposedly plotting the Yorktown battle with Washington in Wethersfield. But it explains why school children pumping their fists three times in anticipating shooting their desired signal will often shout "Reaux! Sham! Beau!" instead of "One! Two! Three!"
Clearly, there are different styles of the game, which is obviously not treated in complete seriousness by the league. But what exactly makes a great rock paper scissors champion?
"Skill, athleticism, the ability to read an opponent - to know what your opponent is going to throw before they throw it," Leshem says.
Statistics play a role - women often open with scissors, while men often choose rock first; paper is the least often used first signal, studies have shown.
But athleticism?
"There are different styles of play," Leshem says. "It gets quite energetic. A lot of power goes into it. The mental drain of it has a toll on the body."
Besides that, he adds, "there are injuries, people dislocate shoulders or sprain wrists."
Because reading the opponent's intent is so important, a poker champion, Phil Gordon, has agreed to officiate.
Also, like poker, "it takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master," Leshem says. "It's like chess, right? You have to practice, and you really start to feel the Zen of throwing."
Eventually, a world view develops, he says. "You look at life as a tripartite thing, that life is not black and white, it's not a binary on-off switch - there's the possibility of third choice."
As for those who don't think it's a sport, Leshem says, well, it takes all kinds. "There are people who think golf is a sport."
Ilan Ben-Hanan, the network's director of programming and acquisitions, says, "For us, I think ESPN is all about competition - traditional stick and ball sports, for the most part. But there's room for something a little bit different."
And the childhood game of rock paper scissors is nothing if not that.
"Everyone knows how to play the game, so that helps," Ben-Hanan says.
Whether it returns next year depends, in part, how it does tonight.
"We'll wait to see what the response is," he says.
Leshem says the initial ESPN telecast coming on 7-7-07 isn't completely lucky for them.
"It's kind of a hard night, there's also that Live Earth thing on," he says. "But we're honored to be on the ESPN networks."
The 2007 Bud Light USA Rock Paper Scissors League National Championship runs tonight at 9 on ESPN2.

Now to add a bit more cringe factor I add one last paragraph from the official site …

“American players embody the ideals of the sport - aggression, cunning and intensity. Finally, they have the stage to showcase their mad skills. Annual nationwide tournaments will honorably determine the best RPS player in the USA, and bring on a new breed of elite athletes to make all Americans proud and unify our polarized nation. The red, white and blue will be properly represented in international competition and inspire a new form of patriotism. The USARPS League is destined to bring on new strategies, training techniques and of course, great American heroes.”


Anonymous said...


Of course, this is a natural evolution of the sport from it's ancient roots in the traditional Afghani sport of "Toss the Rock."



chy said...

hmmmm, do you think they'll want a challenge coin?


turdpolisher said...

A sad commentary on the state of athletics in America.

Anonymous said...

I like ring toss myself....and red rover red rover let old Mal come over.