Why are so many cranky sports pundits obsessed with the concept of “old school”? Sports are faster, smarter and just plain better than ever, yet we still have to hear whiney choruses of how the game is supposed to be played. They miss the slow plod of the smash mouth run game, or the lost art of the bankshot, or the painfully long tennis volleys of the past. If they had it their way, baseball’s scariest sluggers would calmly square up at the plate and lay down a sad, dribbling textbook bunt, every time.
Fortunately, for those of us with a pulse, someone out there appreciates the more entertaining “new school” in sports. Altered Course, a new reality competition series on Golf Channel, takes the hallowed game of golf, puts it in a blender with protein powder and creatine, and cranks it up to 11. The show features two-person teams competing on sprawling 700-yard holes in scenic Montego Bay, Jamaica. However, this is no Sunday stroll. Each hole is timed, and players have to lug their clubs across brutal obstacles and extreme terrain. It’s a perfectly engineered mixture of golf, speed, fitness, teamwork, and pure adrenaline. Needless to say, pace of play won’t be an issue during these 18 holes.
So how would you alter your favorite sport? Expand basketball courts to the size of a military hangar? Put hockey players on skateboards? Perhaps you’d turn individual sports into team sports, like having fencing matches turn into a five-on-five melee? Maybe your changes wouldn’t affect actual gameplay, but add entertainment value. For example, what if tennis took a page out of WWE’s book and had players engage in lengthy pre-match smack talk sessions? Or if you could reverse the NFL’s ban on touchdown celebrations and mandate that all touchdowns are followed by an intricately choreographed dance routine? What if every baseball team had to play a dog in the field?!
Share your most exciting, interesting, and flat-out insane alterations to your favorite sport in the comments below, and remember to tune in June 15 to Altered Course at 9/8C on Golf Channel.
Adam Moerder is a writer and musician based in Brooklyn. He’s written for Pitchfork, Grantland, BuzzFeed, MySpace, and more.