The story of the underdog is one that has unfolded throughout history and serves as a reminder of accomplishments that can come out of adversity, but what is it exactly about the dark horse that captures devotion?
Take, for example, the Carolina Panthers. Despite their loss to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, no one expected that team to have such a successful season, and they grew a large fan base because of it.
John Scott, forward for the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps, is another underdog that emerged victorious.
Fan-nominated to be in the NHL All Star game in what began as a cruel joke, the 8 year veteran who has 11 career points, scored two goals as captain for his team and was voted MVP.
Also, in a time of racial tension, Texas Western University basketball coach, Don Haskins, formed the first all-African American starting line to win the 1966 NCAA national championship.
Yet this tendency to support those that are against the odds does not exist exclusively in sports. Author J.K. Rowling went from being a single mother living with government aid, to a successful writer with a net worth of $1 billion, according to Sunday Times’ UK Rich List.
Think of Susan B. Anthony fighting for women’s suffrage or Mahatama Gandi’s nonviolent movement for India’s independence. Recall Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership and tireless devotion in the Civil Rights Movement.
Consider the history of our own country. We dared to rebel against Great Britain in the American Revolution after growing tired of their unfair laws. Regardless of the looming consequences and chance of defeat, men stood up for what they believed in and our nation was born.
Perhaps these events and individuals give us hope. Most of us go through life feeling some sort of oppression, whether it be from the pressures of daily life to that challenge that we just cannot see making it through to the other side. To see another human who is otherwise weak in nature defeat the looming Goliath makes us optimistic of our own struggles or short comings. Simply put, how can we not root for the underdog?