GLORY DAYS: Spintz celebrates the first of his four World RPS Titles in Guam in 1986.
GLORY DAYS: Spintz celebrates the first of his four World RPS Titles in Guam in 1986.

Crazy fingers offers insight

WARREN ‘Crazy Fingers’ Spintz is passionate about his rock, paper and scissors.

After more than 30 years competing on Europe’s cut and thrust professional circuit, the Lithuanian native and now Ulmarra resident is hoping to help the next generation of stars in the sport.

Ahead of next Saturday’s Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS) Australian Championships at the Yamba Bowling Club, Spintz will provide The Daily Examiner with tactics and insight into the sport, as well as share anecdotes from his time on the professional tour with his unique brand of Lithuanian humour.

Life in the Clarence, where he enjoys relative anonymity, is a world away from his homeland.

“When I started it was a big deal in Lithuania. I couldn’t walk down the street without being mobbed,” said the star of RPS, also known as ‘the sport of hands’.

“People would want to see the hand that crushed Boris Visco in the 1986 World Championships. I had to keep it in a case most of the time so it didn’t get damaged.

“People would pose with the hand, but never did I let them touch it.”

Spintz, who bears a striking similarity to Daily Examiner sports editor Rhys O’Neill, shot to stardom in 1979 when as a raw 17-year-old he reached the third round of the Paris RPS Meet in London.

He was the youngest person to qualify for this stage of a tournament on the senior tour.

His cavalier style and happy-go-lucky approach to RPS made him a cult figure and ultimately netted more than $27 million in career earnings.

His bad boy image also catapulted Spintz into a short-lived movie career, with credited appearances in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Tootsie (1982).

A bout of depression following his two-year suspension from the sport for failing a steroid test in 1984 was the low point for Spintz.

But he famously returned to clinch his first world crown against Visco before netting three more (1987, 1988, 1993).

His days in the RPS looked over when he ventured on a rebel tour of South Africa in 1994 with breakaway movement the Scissors, Paper, Rock (SPR) organisation.

This was formed after Rupert Murdoch’s failed $1 billion RPS television bid with his FOX Network.

But within less than six months Spintz was back in the RPS ranks.

Hand-by-hand he rebuilt his image and last year was the 108th inductee into the Rock, Paper, Scissors International Federation of Hand and Feet Sports Association’s (RPSIFHFS) Hall of Fame.

A stubbed finger cut short his professional days in 1999, a year before his move to the Clarence.

“I think statistically speaking I am the most successful RPS professional ever,” Spintz said.

“I was just lucky to be born with hands that allow me to be successful at RPS and with the mental strength to propel me into sporting superstardom.”

Spintz trained under the watchful eye of the late Zen master Seung Whan and hopes to share the advice he received with entrants into the RPS Australian Championships.

Pick up tomorrow’s Examiner for Spintz’s training methods.

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