In a hot and sweaty west-side bar, an excited crowd screams with encouragement as The Hebrew Hammer fights it out with Kitten in a nail-biting, tense round of rock, paper, scissors.
The Kitsilano bar Corduroy started holding a rock, paper, scissors (RPS) competition as a way to get people into the bar on a normally quiet Monday night. Now in its 93rd week, the bar packs out every Monday as 20 to 30-somethings drink $4 pints and watch contestants battle to become the RPS champion. A $5 entry fee allows the chance to take home a crisp $50 note and the privilege of chugging a beer out of the RPS trophy cup.
A contestant known only as “The Hebrew Hammer” has taken part in over 80 RPS competitions but has never won. Making it into the final only twice, he’s hopeful to win the centurion match which is seven weeks away.
“I’ve tried blindfolding it. I’ve tried doing it backwards. I’ve tried doing it between my legs. I’ve tried staring them dead in the eye. I’ve tried staring not at my hand, not at their hand, staring at the ref. I’ve done everything, everything. But I always lose.”
But The Hammer isn’t worried that this is a metaphor for his life.
“This is where I come to lose, because in the rest of my life I’m winning.”
After knocking out over 20 other contestants with names varying from “The Destroyer” to “Fur Coat, No Knickers”, Katie Paterson, aka “Kitten”, battled it out with Andrew Holmes, aka “The Comeback Kid”, in the final.
Who will win the final of rock, paper, scissors?
In a close round Kitten took the first game, her paper covering his rock. She also took the second round, meaning one more win and the game would be hers. But The Comeback Kid lived true to his name winning the following two, making it even. The tension built, the crowd got rowdier and then Ed Witzke, the referee, shouted the final call, “Rock, Paper, Corduroy”. The contestants pulled their moves and The Comeback Kid’s scissors cut Kitten’s paper for a tremendous victory.
Holmes put his win down to strategic thinking, “I like to take a peek down at their hand, if they’re clenching real tight maybe they might throw a rock.”
But he admits strategic thinking alone doesn’t always do it and that the best thing to do before a game is just drink beer.
Reported by Ben Bulmer
Watch: Reporter Ben Bulmer on his experience entering the tournament