The angry golfer may start out in a perfectly equable mood. If all goes well for the first three or four holes, you may think they’re one of the nicest, most stable people you’ve ever played with. But, as the game progresses, and if you’re perceptive, you will begin to notice a gradual mounting of tension. If never reaches the shaking palsy symptoms of the anxious type-it might never reveal itself in more than a change in the timbre of voice or the pace of their walk-but the mounting tension is there and recognizable in the “vibes” the disc golfer gives off.
Here is a player who is waiting. Waiting for that fatal error s/he knows must sooner or later strike cruelly and quickly. The blow can come in the form of “grip-lock” on an easy approach shot. Instead of landing under the basket, the disc hooks severely off its intended course into a tree four feet away. Immediately before your eyes Dr. Jekyll will turn into Mr. Hyde. The first thing you’ll notice is an expression of rage transforming his/her face.
It goes without saying that there is no way to console a player at this point. For one thing, s/he couldn’t hear you. Their internal rage is so consuming that it deafens an ear to any sound. It’s almost as if suddenly all living things were alien to their tortured mind. People become inanimate objects. The person’s compelling desire is to destroy something.
This is a form of unbridled aggression. The Id (in Freud’s terms) is running wild. The disc golfer has become an enraged child who has lost the object of their love. Their only consolation is to destroy. In this instance, the target of this destructive force is the disc that found its way into the tree. The player yanks the mini from their pocket and throws it hard towards the disc a few feet away. The player gets more angry as the footing behind the tree is terrible. Gone from their mind are all the niceties of technique. The Superego has withered to the size of a mustard seed. Their mind is interested in one thing and one thing only: destroying the disc that has their rapidly regressing mind thinking the disc is the villain of the story.
This person throws without any sense of touch or in the correct stance for the throw. The only disc golf related thought in the world is “don’t grip-lock.” So the player throws without thinking about the shot and hits another tree right away.
Now, tormented almost beyond bearing, all the person wants to do is tear the disc in half and throw the pieces deep into the woods. But, suddenly s/he senses that several people are carefully- perhaps critically- watching their every move. So s/he throws again, but this time a bit more carefully. The player’s awareness of that silent audience has helped contain some the explosiveness of the rage, and the resulting semi-controlled shot lands near the basket. Still, the roots of destruction have dug too deeply into the earth of his/her mind to continue to play disc with any logic. Until the end of the round, the challenge will no longer be disc golf, but self-containment. (In more of Freud’s lovely terminology) The Ego and Superego fighting for their lives against the Id.
The angry golfer’s game is now characterized by the spirit of defeatism. The other members of the group know that they are playing a lost soul. The spirit of defeat prevails, hanging like a dark cloud over their companion and often permeating their attitude, and therefore the play, of the entire group. Only the end of the game brings relief to this symphony of rage. The possessed one heads quickly for the alcohol and tries to drown as quickly as possible to smoldering coals of their anger.