Man, the 2007 season was a tough one. It's never easy on The Road, is it?
I saw things I never thought I'd see this year. There have been some tough times, and the toughest are yet to come, but we're Living the Dream here. Other folks just dream the life.
Yes, there were two major tournaments over the course of Hell Week (plus quite a few high-stakes matches in both Toronto and Northern California, as well as LA.) There were a couple of winners and a bunch of losers. But by way of "Superlatives," I mean to mention a few of the high-water marks of the trip, for me personally. Hopefully, others will be inspired to do the same.
Before any Superlatives, thanks and appreciation should be given the Steering Committee of the WRPSS, and their minions, Doug and Graham Walker (I follow the "Doug and Graham" order based on information I received this year that the order on the Strategy Guide was determined by, of course, a round of RPS.) Thanks go to all of you and Rose for creating an awesome community.Best Rookie Season: Tie
Scissorsista and R Cohrs
Scissorsista. Don't talk to me about win/loss records over the course of a single lousy season. The record books are replete with one-hit wonders (Andrew Bergen, anyone?) who never did anything after their one shot at glory. Likewise, does anyone question the achievements of a C. Urbanus over those of Lee Rammage? No, Sista didn't win any of the tournaments she entered, nor did she make the final 16. However, she held her own against the biggest names in the Sport. She defeated the Midnight Rider at Roshambo, and took out Ruxpin in Toronto (righting some of the karmic imbalance between Urbanus and Ruxpin, though not all of it.)
R. Cohrs. What can I say. He came out, rolled with the punches, held his own in street matches, and showed a willingness to "go with the flow" that can only portend a bright future in the sport for this newcomer. Cohrs maintained a solid sense of self amidst the chaos of Hell Week; a feeling known to all the top players in the sport. I still don't know about the fishnets, but the ladies sure seemed to dig them.Best Karmic Adjustment:
Not all of you know this, but it is part of the Oral Tradition of the Sport. C. Urbanus is a name known to all, and his arch-nemesis is Ruxpin. This is primarily because Ruxpin defeated Urbanus at the first Internationals, kicking off years of depression and defeat. Two years ago, Urbanus' apprentice, then known as Beautiful Johnny, defected to join Ruxpin's Team Something Awful. Lured to the dark side by the promise of free alcohol and beautiful punk-rock computer geek girls, Johnny was re-christened "Darth Beautiful." This was the year that Urbanus finally made the Final 16. As he reaches the stage, he gets a call from Johnny. Johnny was outside the venue, abandoned by Ruxpin and SA, and violently ill from the free alcohol. Needless to say, Urbanus was taken out of his game, and lost immediately, having to leave the afterparty to care for an errant Darth Beautiful. The Karmic Adjustment comes with...Most F'ed up Person I saw this Year:
Chris, Ruxpin's right hand man, had just won a lottery ticket, and decided to transfer same into drink tickets. Outside the venue, he upheld the worst standards of the sport, to the point where Ruxpin had to tend to him for the rest of the evening. Bonus points for Ruxpin driving the dude's van back home for him and leaving his buddy inside; the next morning Chris locked himself outside of his own van.Best New ProTour Catchphrases:
"It's Never Easy on the Road" (plus variants)
"I Reckon"Biggest No-Show: Tie
RPS Radio and Team Hustler
RPS Radio: Where were these guys? There were rumors that they had been drafted into the ref corps, but I didn't see either of them; neither Grant Desmond's porkpie hat and bulge from a concealed .38 nor Alex Apter's trademark handlebar and whiskey flask.
Team Hustler: Oh, the Hustlers. This predatory beast once roamed from the Northern US to Eastern Canada. Now look at them. The Reverend under house arrest. Dr Rock not taking his game to the next level. The Taxman gets a pass, as he has a new child. But seriously, Rev. Two weeks before, I'm told that the Hustlers are rolling twelve deep. Only one shows up, and none of us even run across him or her? I'm not trying to take anything away from the Hustlers; on the contrary, "Hustler Style" (first to ten) has all but supplanted "Tournament Style" (two of three sets of two of three throws) as the standard of play when top players meet. The Minneapolis Hustlers created the style, but the East Coast Hustlers have Mastered it. I put my name on the line to promote this team, but with a dismal 2007 performance, I can no longer claim them the "Best Team in Professional RPS." In my mind, at least, Team Norway now holds this honor. Which brings me to...Biggest Retirement Announcement:Team Smoot
This may be the largest such announcement not only for this year, but since I announced my own retirement in 2004. Team Smoot made a strong appearance even in the first year of the Internationals, but by the second year, came in force. They distributed A-Team stickers by way of initiating new members, and they hugged up on everyone else's women. The next year, they brought women of their own. Hot women, strong RPS players. How many members of Team Smoot attended the Internationals at one point? 30? 40? They hit their peak in 2004, as Chris "West Coast" Berggren came in third at the Internationals, losing to the eventual "winner," Lee Rammage (incidentally, Chris Berggren defeated the Midnight Rider in the first round of the Internationals this year. His victory involved a controversial call when Team Smoot objected to what the Rider was doing with his non-priming hand, thus nullifying a clear-cut paper over rock win for the Rider, and winning the match for Smoot.) In any case, Smoot came to represent the best of the sport; their extended family was certainly the largest ever team in professional RPS. They announced this year that they would no longer compete in the Internationals. A few members may still come up to compete, but as a group, Team Smoot accomplished everything it wanted to. To all of Team Smoot, my congratulations and my thanks. Your presence will be sorely missed. All I have left of Smoot is memories, plus commemorative 2007 panties emblazoned with the Team Smoot logo. I can't tell you how I got them. But I will tell you that C. Urbanus gave them to me. And I can't tell you how he got them.