Everybody Loves An Underdog

During my nightly phone call to Mother yesterday she informed me that our home town of Omagh is awash with red and white flags. The reason? My county, Tyrone, have reached the All Ireland Gaelic Football Championship Final. To provide some context, it’s the equivalent of your team reaching the F.A. Cup Final or SuperBowl. Gaelic Football is massive in Ireland and your side making the final is a very big deal.

Tyrone are a very good side, certainly one of the best in Ireland. They are an incredibly fit, skilful and determined group of young men. Their work ethic and team spirit is second to none, which is all the more admirable as Gaelic Football is an amateur sport. No million dollar salaries or supermodel girlfriends for these guys. They all have ordinary 9-5 jobs and play for the love of the sport.

The downside is that they face the mighty Dublin in the final who have won the All-Ireland for the last three years. Experts regard them as one of the best teams of all time. The game is also being played at their home stadium of Croke Park where 80,000 fans will congregate on Sunday to watch these two great sides do battle for the famous Sam Maguire Trophy. Excitement is at fever pitch.

I won’t be at the match but I’ll certainly be glued to the TV screen cheering on the underdogs. For, while an extremely good side, most people expect Tyrone to lose. Dublin are just too powerful, too fast, too clinical. At best, most people are hoping that Tyrone will put up a good fight and not lose too heavily. They have done really well reaching the final and can hold their heads high, whatever the outcome.

I’m not so sure. I’m the eternal pessimist but when it comes to my teams I always retain a glimmer of hope, no matter the opposition. I think Tyrone have a definite chance and in a one off final anything can happen. Tyrone could have the game of their lives whereas Dublin might have a bad day at the office. I always favour the underdog because not always, but occasionally, they overcome the odds.

Where there is hope, there is a way and I see a way for the underdogs to win this game. Their fans will undoubtedly travel down to Dublin in their droves with the same hope. Otherwise, why bother going. These are true supporters, people who invest their time and money into supporting their team. They take the rough with the smooth. They don’t jump ship when they encounter stormy waters. They hang in there through the good times and the bad.

You might feel like an underdog today. You might face seemingly insurmountable challenges and see no way of overcoming them. My message is to not give up hope for where there is hope there is a chance. In order to seize that chance, however, you need to work hard. You need to shed the blood, sweat and tears required to give what you truly desire an opportunity of becoming reality. You need to believe in yourself.

You also need to show up. Day after day, week after week, and on the big occasion itself. There is no hope unless you are at the starting line and as prepared as you possibly can be when the tape goes up. I know this as I’ve faced many life events as a massive underdog, yet still somehow come up trumps. Everybody loves an underdog and underdogs can and do win. But first you have to learn to love yourself.

What have been your experiences with underdogs?

Do you consider yourself as one?

22 thoughts on “Everybody Loves An Underdog

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  1. I kind of started out as an underdog. My parents divorced in 1972 when I was five. My mom was told my sister and I were ruined and would amount to nothing. Spent most of my life proving those pinheads they were wrong over and over again. I turned out pretty awesome. I seem to enjoy a good challenge! Peace. Rachrl

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  2. There are so many great examples of underdogs in the Bible: Joseph (Sold by his brothers into slavery, he became the prime minister of the most powerful country on earth and saved the world from starvation.) David (Youngest, overlooked son, came at a giant with a sling and a rock – and won, later becoming the greatest king Israel has ever had.) and of course, Jesus (Born in a stable, itinerant preacher with nowhere to lay His head, condemned to death by the state and the religious leaders of His time, He defeated death and reigns over the universe forever.)
    I guess if you’re an underdog, you’re in good company.

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  3. I don’t like football, but I do love the underdog … except if they’re playing a match against Nedal (love his OCD quirks) or Federer (love his beautiful Swiss manners and behaviour). My favourite two must win and if they are playing against each other, I want to hide behind the sofa as I simply can’t bear the stress of it …

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  4. I don’t know if I consider myself an underdog, so much as someone who is seen as one. There’s a vast difference there. I’m working my way through that nonsense, and learning not to buy into other people’s views as to who/what I am.

    Personally, I tend to root for the underdog. There’s that moment of “WOW!” when they prove – even on a single level – that they have been underestimated. I love that feeling!

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