Mascots: Oxygen Tanks v Holistics
Mount Everest came in as a heavy favorite to win it all, thanks to its peerless size and legendary might. But the scrappy Holistics had some tricks up their tie-dyed sleeves, and pulled off the upset of the tournament, although there have been some questions about what substances, precisely, were in their pre-game smoothies. The Oxygen Tanks showed fortitude but also a whole lot of cockiness, as though their wealth and snazzy outfits alone gave them bragging rights.
[In light of this shocking defeat, here’s a guest commentary about Mount Everest’s planned changes to improve its core Tourist Trap strengths and reputation.]
Igauzu Falls (Argentina/Brazil) v Niagara Falls (Canada/USA)
Mascots: Naipís v Honeymooners
Two very evenly-matched teams, formed of the same stuff, both known for their thrilling flow and thundering dunks. While the Honeymooners draw the crowds, the funhouse atmosphere can be more of distraction than anything else. The Naipís keep powering along with that famous South American style. This match-up goes way, way back, and that famous call of announcer Eleanor Roosevelt still holds true: “Poor Niagara!” [Actual fact! - Ed.]
Great Barrier Reef (Australia) v Table Mountain (South Africa)
Mascots: Bombastic Coral v Cable Cars
In a game packed with highs and lows, the Bombastic Coral simply outnumbered the Cable Cars time after time. The South Africans had the smooth style, to be sure, with swing plays galore, but in the end, it was the Aussies and their surgeonfish precision that won the day.
Fjords (Norway) v Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
Mascots: Haddock v Thundering Smoke
Employing a variation of the Amoeba Defense that they call the Haddock Hold-‘em, the Fjords claimed the victory thanks to their absurdly long reach and careful maneuvering that was simultaneously weaving and steady. Most of all, it was a strategy of containment—the exact opposite of the Thundering Smoke, a porous defense if ever there were one, with everything slipping right past.
Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) v Copacabana (Rio de Janeiro)
Mascots: Snowballs v Tan Lines
In a different era, the Snowballs were justly famous, a sight to behold. Today, they’re fading fast, a widely-lamented sign of a changing climate. Against the ascendant Tan Lines and their hotter-than-hot samba style, Mount Kilimanjaro stood, well, a snowball’s chance, its three-point efforts continually cratering.
Maasai Mara (Kenya) v Equator Park (Quito, Ecuador)
Mascots: Big Cats v Latitudes
No question that the Latitudes’ attitudes are winningly optimistic, but the South Americans couldn’t quite hit the mark, while the Big Cats prowled and pounced at every opportunity. It wasn’t so much a motion offense as a swarming feeding frenzy, with many a fast break as the crowds went wild and flashbulbs popped.
Petra (Jordan) v Dunn’s River Falls (Jamaica)
Mascots: Obodas v Dr Nos
The Dr. Nos like to play the villains, with their slippery ways and devious misdirections and cryptic trash-talking. And with the Obodas’ charms initially hiding from view, this was a tight one. But by the end, the outcome seemed predetermined, the Obodas’ emerging magnificence well worth the wait, and the Dr. Nos tumbled hard down that rocky slope of defeat,
Grand Canyon (Arizona) v Torres del Paine National Park (Chile)
Mascots: John Wesley Powells v Gallopin’ Guanacos
This stunner of a match-up offered a whole raft of jaw-dropping delights, with the John Wesley Powells carving out a victory in the end, thanks to a series of fast breaks. Torres del Paine is one to watch in the future, to be sure—step by steppe, it’s sure to be a contender soon.
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