35 Most Intense Struggle Faces in Sports
In few other areas of life are human emotions more transparent than in sports. With the ups and downs comes a great palette of countenances: the beaming smiles of victory, the contorted grimaces of pain, the wide eyes of hope, the slack jaws of disbelief...
But schadenfreude dictates that it is the faces of struggle we love best.
A victory for the home team just isn't 100 percent satisfying until the cameras switch over from the jubilant winners to the forlorn losers. Their misery, our pleasure.
Click on to see 35 of the most penetrating struggle faces that sports have churned out in recent times.
35. Matthew Stafford
34. Alexander Ovechkin
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
May 12, 2012 - Capitals vs. Rangers - Game 7
Here is Ovie frozen in carbonite, soon to be hung as a trophy on the walls of MSG.
33. Alabama Fan
A widely tweeted pic of His Airness watching his beloved Bobcats choke.
31. Bryce Harper
Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post
The Washington Nationals slugger was having a hard time of it in the 2012 postseason.
The heavy application of eye black... was it reflective of his dark and tormented soul?
30. Matt Schaub
December 10, 2012 - Patriots vs. Texans
The world of NFL fandom wanted to know how the mighty Texans would match up against the Patriots.
If you tuned in late, no worries; when the score wasn't displayed on screen, it was there on Schaub's mug.
29. Jordyn Wieber
Source: Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder
28. Jack Nicholson
The Lakers' greatest fan is fiendin' for a title. All fizzle and no ring makes Jack a very dull boy.
27. Cam Newton
Source: NFL Network
September 20, 2012 - Panthers vs. Giants
This struggle face reaches beyond the walloping that was in progress. It was at this moment that Cam must have realized it'd be a long, painful season.
26. Tiger Woods
Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images
25. Andre Berto
November 24, 2012 - Guerrero vs. Berto, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Robert Guerrero (picture left) may be on the receiving end of a wicked blow in this pic, but the real struggler here is that zombie-like creature on the right.
Minutes before, the aforementioned creature had been two-time former world champ Andre Berto. But two rounds of punishment from Guerrero transformed him into this manifestation of the living dead.
24. Jets Fan on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day, 2012 - Jets vs. Patriots
When the Patriots carved up the Jets on Thanksgiving Day, the mood was oh-so glum in MetLife Stadium.
23. Another Jets Fan on Thanksgiving
Poor Fireman Ed. So much fervor, so little to be fervent about. After the Thanksgiving Day rout, he decided to step down as the team's No. 1 cheerleader.
22. Robert Ayers
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
21. Wales Rugby Fan
October 15, 2011 - Wales vs. France - Rugby World Cup Semifinal - Auckland, New Zealand
This pretty Welsh lass is caught in that twilight between struggle and despair.
20. Lions Fan
November 22, 2012 - Lions vs. Texans
Some struggle faces are just too hideous for the world to see.
19. Roger Federer
June 30, 2010 - With the press after Wimbledon Quarterfinals
As mentioned, some struggle faces are just too hideous for the world to see.
But hey, take a peek if you dare (scroll down):
18. Spike Lee
Source: Ron Antonelli/News
April 24, 2011 - Knicks vs. Celtics - Game 4 - First Round Eastern Conference Playoffs
The struggle face of an epic fan; poor Spike watches his beloved Knicks get swept out of the playoffs after a seven-year-drought.
17. Danica Patrick
June 26, 2010 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Here rookie NASCAR racer Danica uses her Jedi training to peel her wrecked Chevy off the wall.
16. Mike Brown
Mike Brown, perhaps the only man with more struggle faces than Eli Manning.
After leading the Lakers to a 1-4 start this season, his next struggle is likely to be finding gainful employment.
15. BJ Penn
AP Photo/Eric Jamison
14. The Phoenix Suns
Capturing four struggle faces in one frame is like winning a superfecta. Like netting a quartet of yellow fin tunas with one cast of the net. Like witnessing four planets perfectly aligned.
Marvel and enjoy.
13. Eli Manning
Eli is a true maestro of the struggle face. One might even go so far as to call him a genius of that look.
Al Bello/Getty Images
The 2012 postseason wasn't kind to Rodriguez.
Here he is warming up to become the most expensive bench warmer in baseball history.
11. Daniel Sturridge
August 4, 2012 - Britain vs. South Korea - Olympic Soccer
Sturridge tries to keep his brains from erupting out the top of his head after his game-deciding penalty kick is saved by the South Korean goaltender Lee Bum-young.
10. Michael Phelps
July 27, 2012 - Day 1 of the London Olympic Games - 400m Individual Medley
Phelps tries to hack up a mouthful of Ryan Lochte's wake.
9. Venus Williams
Adam Hunger / Reuters
August 30, 2012 - US Open - Day 4 - Williams vs. Kerber
Poor Venus. This is the type of frustration that quickly decays into insane maniacal laughter.
8. Eric Staal
Here, Staal puts the ug! in struggle amidst an ugly slump in 2011 in which his plus/minus rating tanked.
7. Bryce Brown
December 2, 2012 - Cowboys vs. Eagles
Eagles rookie Bryce Brown had a lot to celebrate at the time this struggle face was captured on camera. With 169 rushing yards and two TDs, it had been quite a game for him. What's more, a week earlier, he had set a team rookie record with 178 yards.
So why the sour puss?
Despite Bryce's stellar performance on this day, the Eagles added an eighth notch to a closing streak (snapped the following week).
6. Marshall Newhouse
Source: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Struggles faces should be avoided. Though they seem harmless, they are, in fact, gateway faces that can lead to seriously hardcore faces.
Like the face of utter terror.
Diego's coaching days have been far, far less stellar than his playing days.
In July 2012, he was axed as the manager of United Arab Emirates' Al Wasl after just 14 months at the helm.
4. Mike D'Antoni
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
December 11, 2012 - Lakers vs. Cavaliers
Here, D'Antoni visits his happy place (the bunny slopes of Aspen) while his Lakers lose to the lowly Cavaliers.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
Has Ronaldo just been shot in the back of the neck? Isn't that the bullet about to exit at his throat?
So dramatic is this struggle face, those were my thoughts on first glimpse.
2. Lance Armstrong
Mario Tama/Getty Images
July 9, 2012 - Federal District Court, Austin, Texas
Here is Armstrong learning that his motion, which sought a court order to halt the U.S. Anti Doping Agency's doping case against him, would be dismissed.
It's a downhill course from here, Lance.
1. King James
Photo Credit: David J. Phillip (AP)
June 12, 2011 - Mavericks vs. Heat - Game 6 of the NBA Championship
After James ingested his upper lip, he went for his cheeks. Luckily, teammates intervened.