The Underdog

What is it about the concept of “the underdog” that is so appealing?

I am always rooting for the underdog. I have always had a soft spot for those unfavored competitors, whether it be in movies, sports, or life. My father aided in the development of this tenderness for those unfavored competitors, but there must be more to the root of this affinity for the underdog, for I know many that share my same disposition.

The Yankees win too much, I root for and always fall in love anyone who they are playing; same goes for the New England Patriots. The movie 300, the die hard uber warrior Greeks are extremely undermanned and outmatched and I feel so invested and dedicated in their success! Luke learns the ways of the force to defeat the dark side! These are classic examples of large underdog themes within popular culture that we identify with.

I think it might be a little bit of American culture and history that is to be attributed with this love for the underdog. We, as a country, began as an underdog against the all-powerful British Empire, on which the sun never set! A bunch of farmers who wouldn’t lie down and stood up for their beliefs against a seemingly oppressive ruling power. We beat them!

There is something attractive about the unlikely happening; the underrated, under-talented, undermanned, and underestimated overcoming the overwhelming odds, winning regardless of the adversity they face.

One of my favorite underdog stories of all time is the “Miracle On Ice” in the 1980 Olympics. The United States hockey team, comprised of a bunch of college youngsters who had never played together before and, in fact, most of whom quite despised the others being that they came from other rivalry university hockey teams, played the Russian Olympic team, which was comprised of a group of “men” when compared to the Americans. These Russians had been playing together for years upon years. This was in the heated height of the Cold War. In seven months these college boys became a team. We, the underdog USA, beat the highly favored Russians in an amazing and extremely unlikely victory. The Russians were gold medalists in something like the last four Olympic games. A group of young men prevailed over harden men, and, of course, they make the Russians sound worse than they were, I am sure. But, nonetheless, it was still an astounding victory and one that gave wind to the sails of quite a many Americans. Thus, capitalism beat communism, or so they spoke.

Its stories like these that people need in times like the present. People need to see some light at the end of the tunnel, some up-side.

What is your favorite underdog story?

One Response to “The Underdog”
  1. This is an awesome post. Underdog stories are the best and most inspirational. Our culture likes to see the sufferers win every once in a while, and we have an easier time relating to a winner who has overcome some sort of adversity.

    Chris Gardner, author of THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (and inspiration for the Will Smith movie) is probably one of the greatest underdogs I’ve ever heard of. He was homeless in San Francisco for a long time, but eventually struck it rich after being a successful unpaid intern as a stock broker. He lived in poverty for more than a year, but his hard work paid off when he eventually got hired and made millions. This is the sort of fate I’d like to see for all underdogs.

    I think underdog stories help people the most. We want the underprivileged to do well in spite of all the obstacles they face.

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