MILLEDGEVILLE — Tim Bosch’s arms and legs were shaking.
Taylor Howard, though, stood granite-solid as she and Bosch faced off Wednesday, the last players left in a 751-person rock-paper-scissors showdown beneath the pecan trees on the front lawn at Georgia College & State University.
It was a flint-gray, breezy afternoon more suited for, say, rock-paper-shivers.
But Bosch and Howard braved seven rounds of palm-popping, single-elimination competition to reach the height of hand-to-hand combat.
Their battle was the climax of what had been billed as a Guinness World Record-breaking shot at the largest rock-paper-scissors tournament. In the end, the event came up 43 players short of eclipsing the 793-entrant mark set last year at Brigham Young University.
Even so, the contest was every bit the college-kid spectacle, one with all the energy of a TV game show.
Bosch, 20, a junior from Marietta who is double majoring in sociology and economics — “everything I know about statistics tells me I shouldn’t be here at this point” — later said, “It was a lot more nerve-wracking and exciting than I thought it was going to be.”
Howard, who made it a point to pretend to snip opponents’ fingers when her “scissors” beat their “paper,” pounded her way to the finals relying on “rock.”
The 19-year-old special-education major from Covington said, “I figured domination would be the best way.”
Oddly enough, however, she turned to “paper” in the finale. In her best two-out-of-three throwdown with Bosch, she fell behind 1-0 when Bosch’s “scissors” sliced her “paper.”
Next, Howard drew even, switching to “scissors” and cutting Bosch’s “paper.”
Then, with both of them on the verge of rock-paper-scissors glory, Bosch went with “rock” and Howard countered with “paper,” covering him to win a $100 gift card from the campus bookstore.
Asked if her triumph would be the highlight of her college career, Howard joked, “Quite possibly, I’m not gonna lie. I need to go call my parents.”
Which, moments later, she did.
After hanging up, Howard, repeating a line that more than a few collegians have no doubt spoken before, yelled to some friends nearby: “My mother doesn’t believe me!”
To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.