Underdogs

By Ian Afseth

Underdogs vs Overdogs

Most people know the definition of underdog, but not as many know the definition of an overdog. It is relatively important in today's society to know the distinguishing things between the two words, in both media such as movies and tv shows, and the real world. In the media, the underdogs are almost always portrayed as the protagonists, the misfits, the losers, the people nobody expects to win such as the Mighty Ducks. The overdogs, on the other hand are usually portrayed to be jocks, the bullies. The majority are showed as the big, towering , egotistic, arrogant, superiority complexed, antagonist. In the real world this isn’t so black and white, the overdogs could be just as nice as anyone and just happen to be good at what they do. The underdogs could also be have the personality of the media overdogs, and that's why they're underdogs in the first place. The definition of underdog is a person, team, etc., that is expected to lose a contest or battle, while the definition of an overdog is one that is dominant or victories. This doesn’t necessarily mean either is good or bad, a sports team could be a underdog because their playing against teams way to good for their league, but they could also be an underdog because they're too lazy to practise, and as a result not expected to win, the defintion of an underdog. For example, the mighty ducks were underdogs at the start of the movie, and as a result the majority of the team, including the coach decided to resort to cheating. The same applies for overdogs, a team could either be an overdog because they practised hard, or because their playing against teams too weak for them. Neither of these terms are distinguishers of good and bad, it's the situation that these overdogs and underdogs are in that show this.


Los Angeles Kings Practice Video
This Video shows Gordon teaching his team to cheat as a result of being the underdog.
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Steps to stop being an underdog

Being an underdog itself isn’t something to be proud of, rather being an underdog and still trying your hardest to not be an underdog, or being an underdog and still triumphing despite adversity.

Step 1, Have confidence, but reasonable confidence. Confidence is great at raising moral for you, or your group, but confidence won’t do you much when you haven’t practiced and are playing against the best team in your league. Confidence is best when it's at least somewhat justified, but you also need to practice to actually be good at what you're trying to do.

Step 2, Try to improve your skill, so you're not the underdog in that skill, confidence needs to be balanced with actual skill. If you don’t have skill, you’ll lose and stay an underdog either way, but if you don’t have confidence, it’ll negatively affect both your moral, and your performance. Practise is the main thing that will move you from your underdog status, it being supplemented by the other qualities.

Step 3, Have a well thought out plan for what you want to accomplish. You can practice all you want, but being the strongest, quickest, etc. won't help you if you go charging in without a plan. Most of the world's great achievements were possible because they had a plan on how to get things done. The Egyptian pyramids were not built by getting the strongest people and having them throw building material until a pyramid was built. They could have had the strongest people in the world, but without technologies like ramps, wheels, their knowledge of the constellations, etc. they could never have built the pyramids.

Step 4, Know your weaknesses and those of the overdog, knowing the overdogs weaknesses will allow you to take advantage of them, and knowing yours will allow you to avoid situations where they'll show. A classic example of this is the story of David and Goliath. David was obviously the underdog and knew his weaknesses, by knowing this he chose a weapon to defeat Goliath that would negate his weaknesses and take advantage of goliath's. This weapon was the sling, the sling was a ranged weapon, so he could attack Goliath from afar, without been exposed to Goliath's attacks. Goliaths weakness was his inability to attack opponents from a distance over a couple of feet, while David's was his small stature. David strategized an attack that would expose his enemy's weaknesses, while making his irrelevant. This is a classic example of an underdog overcoming adversity by knowing his weaknesses.




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Things that cause people to be underdogs

There are many things that can cause people to be underdogs, as said before, this might or might not be at the fault of the underdogs themselves. For example, someone could be an underdog because their under equipped compared to the overdog, or even the people in the middle. This results in it being difficult for them to rise above underdog status even though they're trying their hardest, possibly even harder then the overdogs. It is usually not the fault of the underdog, and as a result underdogs in media are often portrayed as having this as one of their problems. Another reason someone would be considered an underdog is that they are competing against people or organizations far too tough to be competing against, this most often the case in sports. This could be because the underdog was organized poorly in a sports league or simply chose to compete against them. This results in the competition being completely one sided, and the person being demoted to underdog status until they defeat at least one of these teams. Similarly to the one before, this is usually not at the fault of the underdog and as a result, the scenario is often portrayed in media. The third scenario is for the most part, entirely on the fault of the underdog. this scenario is that the underdogs are simply too lazy to practice and improve themselves, or are too arrogant to think they need too, despite the constant losses. These are three things that may cause an underdog to falter and stay an underdog.




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My underdog story

Knowing I was exhausted, I waited until one of my teammates sent the puck to the other team's zone and made mad dash for the bench. The assistant coach opened the door, and I jumped up the step into the boards, retaining my momentum and nearly slammed into the benches. It was the Naperville Bantam level 2015 hockey season and my team had a record of 5 losses, one of them 11-0, and 0 wins. I'm ashamed that before the game, I zoned out my coach's words of encouragement and strategies, mentally prepared myself for another curb stomp loss. Despite this I decided to still try and play to the best of my ability, and retain my dignity. To my surprise, the team we were playing was very much near the same skill level as us. I had learned that, unlike last season, there had been no tiering, as a result, my team had been playing traveling teams far beyond those we reasonably should have, until now. The rest of the forwards on my team took the opportunity to come back to the bench for a line change, and the 2 defense men had miraculously been able to shoot the puck back into the other team's zone after their breakout. The new forward line quickly followed as the other teams left defenseman took the puck and intended to pass it to their centerman. Right before he's about to pass the puck, my teams left wingman slams him into the boards with a textbook check. Now having possession of the puck, he passes it to the right wingman, who was waiting in front of the other teams net. He aims a wrist shot right at the goalies blind spot, but the goalie sees this, falling to his knees to protect the net, the goalie then attempts to shoot the puck into the far left corner, but my teams defenseman takes the puck from him before he can and backhands it into the net. Barely half a second later, my team explodes into an uproar of yelling, and the center sitting next to me, named Charlie, yells out HECK YEAH! The score was now 1-0 and the Blackhawks theme starts playing as we all hi-five the scoring line. This gave everyone on the team the moral booster we needed to win the game, the score at the end of the game was 6 to 4 with us winning. That 1 winning game was more meaningful than my 2 early hockey season where we only lost once all season. Thats because we were the underdogs, the ones who were under no circumstance expected to win. This wasn't just another expected win, this was a monumental achievement for the whole team and that just made our 1 victory in the entire season much more glamorous.


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How the Mighty Ducks stopped being underdogs

The movie ‘The Mighty Ducks’ provides a great example of people overcoming their underdog status, facing adversity, and winning in the end through hard work. In the movie, a man named Gordon Bombay is charged with drunken driving and is in danger of being sentenced to jail. Surprisingly, he isn’t taken to prison, but sentenced to coach a local underdog hockey team, obviously this would never happen today, but that’s beside the point. Throughout the story he and his team face several problems, and are forced to adapt and come up with solutions to them. The first adversity Gordon faces are his team getting pummeled by another overdog team and his own team challenging his leadership. His ‘solution’ is teaching his players to take a dive with the motto ‘Take the fall, act hurt, get indignant’. Despite this ‘solution’ somewhat overcoming the first problem, by doing this, he creates another problem as one of the players isn’t willing to cheat, costing them the game. Gordon overcomes this by getting the team to play fairly and actually practice, rather than resorting to cheating. This is another great lesson on how to not be an underdog, playing fairly is a relatively necessary part of not being an underdog. If Gordon’s team got caught taking a dive, the penalty's the wanted so much would be against them, negatively affecting them as a result of their cheating. Despite they're practicing, Gordon's team isn’t skilled enough to take on the local Overdogs in the annual hockey tournament. He solves this problem by developing strategies to confuse the opposing team. One of these is the ‘Flying V’ were all players run to the opposing goalie in a V pattern. By doing this, Gordon showed another way of how to overcome an overdog, his strategy allows him to take advantage of his opponents weaknesses, and minimize their own. All these are just some of the ways the Mighty Ducks overcame both adversity, and their underdog status by eventually winning the tournament.


About me

My name is Ian Afseth, I am a 13 year old 7th grader from Naperville Illinois who goes to Scullen middle school. My Birthday is Feb, 23,2002 and I enjoy playing video games and watching 'lets play' YouTube videos of people playing videogames. Some of my hobbies include hockey and boy scouts, which I am as of now a life scout.

Citations

"Top 10 World’s Greatest Underdogs." SundanceTV. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2015.


"Los Angeles Kings Practice Video." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 May 2015.