Master Rosh's Analysis of the Final Match
Once again, the stars lined up with auspicious aspects, the subtle energy currents of the earth lent their support, and the spiritual energy of 300 strong RPS competitors combined to create a synergistic affect. It was time for the 2008 USARPS League Championship.
And what a weekend it was. All the players were there, from "Freaky" Enrique to Brooke the Bee Girl. The venerable Team Smoot was well represented at the tourney, and even questionable characters like Dan "Slow Roll" Sprague showed up to fleece the unwary.
The tournament itself was a marvel of efficiency, running an hour and a half AHEAD of schedule. This is simply unheard-of in the professional RPS world; I've seen 50 player tournaments run an hour behind. The remarkable smoothness of the operation is mostly due to the same support team being in place for the previous two years, and also to Commissioner Leshem delegating many of his duties to the capable hands of Lt. Commissioners Kmiotek and Messinger.
Once again, the referee corps was outstanding, a model of fairness and integrity. There was one disputed call, but when we checked instant replay, the ref was right all along. Good call, ref! The Final 16 was presided over by none other than our Head Ref and World Series of Poker competitor, Phil Gordon. Phil's about the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet, and in my opinion one of the top referees the sport has to offer. He catches an off-tempo pump quicker than any referee I have ever seen, and it was a pleasure to work with him.
I am also pleased to announce that the heaving bosom of RPS has ingested another Master-level player. My congratulations, then, go out to Master "Smooth Santa" Ray Scott. This is Ray's second year of qualifying for the USARPS Championship, which means that not only did he win his local bar night two years running, but also his Regional Qualifier. This is not impossible, but statistically improbable. It's like having your number come up three times in roulette in the span of half an hour. Master Smooth is the first USARPS player to be inducted into the Circle of Masters (which includes the public Outer Masters (like myself,) the secretive Inner Masters and the extradimensional "Hidden Masters" of the sport.) Master Smooth Santa is not only a skilled player, he's a hell of a guy, and it was an honor to be present at his induction. Hopefully, this means I'll finally get a Wii this Christmas.
The meat of the tournament, of course, was the final match. This battle took place between two fantastic up-and-coming players, Julie Crossley and Sean Sears. Crossley came out the heavy crowd favorite, while Sears seemed to be hyperventilating a bit. I'm a stat hound for RPS, and the final match was very telling. Throughout the final 16, Sears had thrown Paper a stunning 50% of the time. (a 17% deviation from standard.) In his match against Crossley, Sears upped his Paper percentage to a startling 70%. Crossley was obviously aware of this, and threw Scissors for 60% of her throws in the final match.
70% Paper vs 60% Scissors? The result of the match seemed like a fait accompli, at least on paper. However, Sears did the unthinkable, unleashing a fierce Paper/Rock barrage that enticed on one hand and crushed with the other.
Only half of Crossley's Scissors found their mark. 2/3 of the others were crushed by Sears' indignant rock. Crossley did the right thing, but at the wrong time. This, then, was for me the great lesson of the tournament.