Sunday, February 1, 2009


This is Superbowl Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Odds makers favour the Steelers to win. That makes the Cardinals the underdogs and that makes them my pick. There is no rationale, no comparative measurements, just a gut desire to see the Cards beat the odds on favourites.

That’s the way it is with me. Has been this way since I was a child. I cheer for underdogs. It’s a chemistry. I have an identification with underdog qualities that is intrinsically personal. There is a lot that goes into the making of a man. So the feelings of inferiority or lack of privilege, or bullying classmates, or failures and disappointments become fuel to the underdog’s jets when they finally power up. Even into adulthood, this drive has characterized me. Failed first year college and returned to become an honour student at Master’s and Doctoral levels.

An underdog by definition is someone, some team, some group, some anything that has a disadvantage and therefore is expected to lose a struggle or issue or contest. If the underdog wins, it is considered an upset. In 1976 underdog actor/writer Sylvester Stallone pulled off a coup at the Oscars. He wrote and starred as Rocky Balboa, a boxing bum with little chance of winning fights trains until he becomes world champ. The film won ten nominations and three Oscars including Best Picture, beating out formidable, competition: All the President's Men, Bound For Glory, Network, and Taxi Driver.

It’s a popular theme. There are many people like me with this attraction to underdog victory. The term is used to refer to a social or ethnic group that is suffering from discrimination, persecution and/or economic disability and which subsequently gains the sympathy of national or worldwide public opinion, either. In the struggles of national liberation, civil rights and social justice movements, such sympathy has often proved of crucial importance.

"The Impossible Dream" from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972) with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion gave us lyrics such as: “To dream the impossible dream, To fight the unbeatable foe, To bear with unbearable sorrow, To run where the brave dare not go …”
The song finishes with the line, “To reach the unreachable star.”

Underdog an American animated television series presented this hero to children between 1964 and 1973 with a Shoeshine Boy’s heroic alter-ego who appeared whenever love interest Sweet Polly Purebred was being victimized by such villains as Simon Bar Sinister or Riff Raff. Underdog always speaks in rhymes, such as "There’s no need to fear; Underdog is here!".

Cards by 10.

An Underdog cartoon clip
The lyrics and pleasant rendition of 'The Impossible Dream."
Elvis singing The Impossible Dream

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