Love an underdog story? It might not come from where you expect

Posted: March 25, 2010 in sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

In the spirit of tonight’s games, I felt it necessary to get this post out before they start. The media has been flooded lately with plenty of garbage sob stories about the nature of this year’s NCAA tournament but there is a special brand out there that is beginning to make me sick. I have read article after article about how all of the upsets so far are a sort of rallying cry for the average Joe and how rooting for a team like Cornell over Kentucky is so inherently “American” because of their underdog status. It is nearly impossible to go through the sports section without reading some ridiculous story about this year’s Cinderella team and how it is so easy to get in the corner and root for the “little guy”. Listen to me for a second and stop your bleeding heart from pouring all over your ‘Big Red’ foam finger.

Call me crazy, but instead of saying things just to say them I like to think it out a bit first (even though my wife would vehemently disagree). Think about that statement or idea – that cheering for the underdog Cornell to defeat Kentucky is inherently American… Shut up, don’t say anything yet – just think. Ready? – The players at Cornell are almost assured a posh lifestyle when they graduate and for all intents and purposes probably had a silver spoon upbringing. Now I am not, in any way, diminishing the hard work of their parents to provide that lifestyle or the studious nature of the kids who play there currently. I only do this to point out the vast difference between these 2 teams, and the fact that the American underdog story doesn’t start at Starbucks, or the mean streets of Ithaca, NY. We are likely more able to identify with a group of Kentucky athletes who were recruited from blue-collar neighborhoods and had average lifestyles, not with those who had their birthdays celebrated at country clubs and got a Mercedes for their sweet 16. There is absolutely no reason why Kentucky shouldn’t absolutely pistol whip (take it however you want) Cornell, but that being said, I DO want Cornell to win. It’s not because I want to watch a bunch over privileged kids celebrate another victory over the middle class, but because I would love to see the look on the faces of Kentucky fans when a group of dopey, awkward white guys dance around while crying and soiling themselves at mid court. If you like upsets – then say that. There is nothing wrong with wanting a team to win simply because you want to see them win. Please don’t hide behind some stupid desire to see a group of already well-off kids ‘rise up’ or ‘overcome all odds’. If you want a real American tale – follow the kids from Kentucky who don’t make it to the NBA – because it is there that you’ll get what you’re looking for – struggle and mediocrity.

Agree? Disagree? Who cares – pass it on!
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