Wolves Staffers Get Iced
"I told everyone there was an Ice Storm coming," said Bryant "Ice" Pfeiffer. "Apparently, they must have thought I was talking weather conditions."
There was so much drama emanating from the Wolves conference room on Wednesday afternoon amongst 16 staffers, it's a shock that Barbara Walters (or at least the cast of "Real World Denver") wasn't on hand to make someone cry.
The scene was overflowing with intensity, heart, love, anger and passion...all for some rock, paper, scissors.
"The main thing about our RPS staff tourney was that it was crazy," said interactive services manager Scott "Spear" Spiridigliozzi, who was destroyed in the first round. "I mean, people were throwing paper when they had no business throwing anything but scissors. I still don't know what happened."
The staff tourney served as a pregame warmup to the nation's biggest RPS tournament in history (even larger than the notorious 1970s Woodstock RPS freedom festival). The officially sanctioned, no-holds-barred RPS fest kicks off at 4:00 p.m. at the Target Center on Friday. For $19, you can still get: a $24 game ticket to see the Wolves play Utah; an official tournament t-shirt; a chance at a $500 Grand Prize; and, most importantly, a chance to be an RPS Champ.
Kind of like Ice.
The Iceman emerged with hands held high and fists pumping from the conference room, shooting down fellow staffers as if he were an F14-Tomcat going against a flock of seagulls. The tournament's No. 1 seed and Wolves senior director of ticket sales, Ice sauntered his way unscathed through the first three rounds before defeating upstart Aneisha "A.J." Johnson to take the cake.
"The writer of this article was making the bracket for the staff tourney, and I saw him give out the No. 1 seed to Ice," explained Spiridigliozzi. "Mike said, 'Dude, Ice is a really, really, really, ridiculously good RPS strategist.' I thought he was just sucking up, trying to get some tickets for his friends to the Utah game. I could not have been more wrong. Ice is sick."
"I'm honored and thrilled at the opportunity to be even mentioned in the same sentence as an individual such as Ice, the ultimate RPS champion," said Johnson, a group sales representative who needed some recovery time to deliver a quote after Ice coyly wrapped her rock with paper on consecutive throws.
|Ice faces off with A.J. in the Wolves staff RPS finals|
"Just think what might have happened if I pulled out my rock or scissors," deadpanned the cool and collected Iceman.
"I've used that strategy myself," said Master Roshamballah (the greatest RPS player in history) via satellite teleconference. "It's called exclusive play. You'll see players go on three or four sets in a row, but rare is it a player who will go an entire match. I would guess Ice is either a highly-skilled player, or an imbecile."
To be fair, it's not like Ice didn't offend some people along the way. In a display of Donald Trump-like hubris, Ice entered the conference room wearing a t-shirt that read: "Rock, Paper, Scissors Champion." Ice had this to say about his attire before his first-round matchup with #16 seed Kristina Netzler: "This won't be the last time you see me wearing (the shirt)."
"That's B.S.," said Spiridigliozzi.
"I had never questioned the class of Bryant Pfeiffer until that moment," said Tony "Vapor" Wolverton, also murdered in the opening round. "To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I guess his kids at home still love him, but..."
The Sweet 16
Perhaps Spear and Vapor were simply upset about losing ignominiously in the first round. Vapor was vanquished by season ticket sales representative Dana "Q" Quinn, while Spear lost the round's longest match -- eight full throws, according to official scorekeeper Matt "Cougs" Slieter -- to Rachel "Ms. Smith" Smith, representing the corporate office.
Originally slated to play Britt "The Rock" Carlson, marketing rep Andy Rhode was forced into a play-in game against Jason "JW" Windell due to his unexcused tardiness. Rhode crushed Windell's scissors to win, but was then completely humiliated by The Rock, who contrary to popular belief came out with a paper throw.
"What the heck?" wondered a thoroughly embarrassed Rhode. "Her name is The Rock! This sucks."
Also getting smoked in the first round was Mary Bohmbach, who was standing in for Wolves President Chris Wright, due to the lack of RPS popularity in England. Bohmbach was outmaneuvered by future finalist A.J., who wasn't willing to share the secret to her success: "I've been a RPS champ since grade school," she bragged. "It's all strategy, and I'm not willing to give up my secret."
In other action, community relations assistant Matt Makovec (the only participant who has been to an official RPS tourney in Vegas) faced off with Dwayne Toatley. "D-Train," a former D1 college basketball player, had no answer for Makovec's impressive delayed scissors pull. Jeff Munneke, Mr. Timberwolf himself, got the No. 2 overall seed, and was thought by fans worldwide to have the best chance at knocking off Ice.
"I broke down tape, I stretched out this morning, and I've never been more nervous in my life," said "Munn" before his match. "But I'm good to go."
Apparently not. 15th seeded Adam "A-Train" Rose smoked Munn like Bob Marley practiced his religion in a world record 1.78 seconds. "I'm stunned," said a teary-eyed Munn. "I have to work on direction of the team messaging. I'm stunned."
To close out the Sweet 16, this reporter and tournament host went down in flames against assistant trainer Anthony "A^2" Aldridge. This much to the crowd's displeasure, especially after Aldridge chose to trash talk his former buddy.
"I took you out in the first round," said Aldridge. "What now? I own you."
"Go tape an ankle," someone said. Boil it down to the heat of competition.
|"I am the best. Respect me. Now.|
Here's the nutshell: Ice destroyed the Rock, obviously using nothing but paper. A.J. pulled another big upset, coming from 0-1 down to trounce Makovec, and Q dispatched Ms. Smith. The most captivating of Elite 8 games now lives in infamy as the "Battle for the A-Train." Rose entered the match claiming the nickname, only to hear Aldridge say the nickname was his first. "We'll see what happens," said Rose. "This is for the name." After Rose lost 1-2, someone called him "Rose Petal" instead. Ouch.
The Final 4 and Championship
Aldridge's luck ran out when Ice wrapped his rock for a second time in the semi-finals, and A.J. defeated her cube-mate Q, claiming that she knew well in advance what he was going to throw. That set the stage for a much-anticipated final. But everyone knew who was going to win, as Ice was simply flawless throughout the tournament. Had Aneisha won, Kevin Garnett may have lost to Crunch in a game of 1-on-1 later that day. Or something crazy like that.
"I took a look at past numbers and percentages, and they are really playing true to form," said Ice before the final. "I did a lot of homework. There are some signals that A.J. has a future...but I have a good idea of what she's going to throw."
A.J. declined to comment, saying that she wanted her play to speak for itself.
And, of course, it didn't. Ice now has to test his skills against Master Rosh, a player so good that few can remember his last loss.
"Tell him I plan on throwing nothing but rock," said the Master.
Thanks for playing, everybody. Ice will be signing autographs before the Jazz game.