Professional athletes spend an insane amount of their lives learning how to hit things hard, or move fast, or put spherical objects into very tight spaces. Their every move is being watched by an army of cameramen, reporters, TV stations and, oh yeah, the entire Internet. So when things go awry, they get upset. It’s pretty understandable.
Temperatures will run especially high for the athletes on Altered Course, a new reality competition series on Golf Channel that places some of the world’s fittest golfers on two-person teams competing across competing across 700-plus yard holes complete with brutal terrain and extreme obstacles. On top of that, each hole is timed. In other words, let the freakouts ensue. But is that always such a terrible thing? Faced with extreme pressure, there are situations when a full-on sports meltdown seems not only understandable, but totally permissible. See any obvious omissions from the list below? If so, jump into the comments and nominate your own.
When you’re being asked dumb questions by the press
Dealing with the press must be tough. Imagine if you had to explain every little thing you did each day? Even the best of us would crack, which is why athletes and coaches deserve a free pass when dealing with the perpetual gauntlet of dumb media questions. Who among us, if faced with such never-ending scrutiny, would be able to resist dropping 77 F-bombs in under six minutes?
When mascots attack
Being the visiting team must feel like being a gladiator in Ancient Roman times. You’re plopped in the middle of a huge stadium surrounded by thousands of fans screaming for your head on a pike. (And not always figuratively.) The last thing you need is some jerk in a polyester costume giving you a hard time. That’s why it’s hard to blame an athlete for declaring war on pretty much every mascot in the league. Those masked bozos need to know their role and recognize who’s really selling the tickets.
When you commit 1,000% to the meltdown
If you’re going to sacrifice your dignity and have a public meltdown, you can’t half-ass it. It’s going to be discussed on SportsCenter, criticized by parents, and Vine’d for the rest of eternity. You need to pour your heart and soul into this implosion. Here, I present you with one of the greatest meltdown artists of our time. This meltdown is genius — on the level of Picasso or Einstein. It follows a classic three-act structure. It has character development. It’s honestly the entire history of human suffering performed in three glorious minutes. He’s not just arguing balls and strikes. He’s arguing for mankind’s right to laugh, to cry, to live, and to love. Bravo, good sir.
Without passion, sports is basically like doing yard work while wearing a uniform. So let’s celebrate the absolutely berserk sportspeople who teach and inspire us. Share your favorite sports meltdowns in the comments below, and then find out whether the contestants on Altered Course will be able to face down pressure with similar, uh, “panache.” All new episodes are Mondays at 9PM EST.
Adam Moerder is a writer and musician based in Brooklyn. He’s written for Pitchfork, Grantland, BuzzFeed, MySpace, and more.