(#22 of 25 – 2017)
Everybody loves a good underdog story.
When I see a film or watch a TV show that features an underdog, I am silently rooting for the underdog. While I’m not much of a sports fan, I nearly always root for the underdog in the competitions I happen to watch. An underdog is loosely defined as the person or team who is predicted and expected to lose. The Jamaican bobsled team is an example of this, as they were from a tropical country, and had no experience or funding to compete at the Olympic level. The movie Cool Runnings portrays this adventure in a bit of a romanticized way, but ultimately the Jamaican bobsledders did achieve at least some success in future Olympic contests.
We have a soft spot for the underdog, and often, we relish the opportunity to see the underdog defeat the dominant team in a sport. We feel as though the dominant team secretly deserved the loss, and it gives us hope that we can one day beat those who hold dominion over us in the same way. We glory in the knowledge that sometimes the best equipment, coaches, and players that money can buy can be defeated by a team with heart and just a little luck.
Underdog stories are popular during war time as well. We read of Audie Murphy who held off a German advance single-handedly for hours. We celebrate Alvin York who single-handedly captured more than 100 opposition soldiers. We remember hundreds of men and women who fought with great heart against all odds to win the day for their comrades in arms.
So what does that mean when your country has the strongest military force in the world?
When the underdog loses, it is no surprise, they were predicted and expected to lose, and the glory of the victor is somehow less than the underdog would have received had they won. Yeah, the victors still win, but the glory of the victory is lost in the inevitability of the win. Of course they were going to win, they spent nearly 10x as much on player contracts this year as the underdog.
So what does it mean, when your country can assault nearly anyone, anywhere without even putting it’s own soldiers at risk?
What does it mean when your country literally spends more on its defense than the 8 other leading countries combined?
What does it mean, when your country can take on any other country in the world and win, immediately, according to the numbers?
I love the freedoms that I have been granted here in the United States, and I understand that freedom is not free, but purchased through struggle and sacrifice. I also understand that war was never intended to be fair, and never will be, but can we take some time for self reflection here?
How can we claim to be a nation of peace, when we are clearly preparing for war?
When will the underdog come for us? After all, every dog has his day.