The coming of fall brings a whole new season for sports fans: football season. Whether you are cheering on a young family member at your local high school, rooting for your college alma mater or planning your weekends around your favorite NFL team, football season can be exciting.
Admittedly, outside of a few select circumstances, I’m mainly into football for the snacks that come along with the spectator gatherings of these events, and if you fall into that category as well, then you can still relate to my point here.
The game has strategy, teamwork, individual athleticism and discipline – all wrapped up into four quarters of battle. So many things can go wrong or be miscommunicated every time the ball is snapped, but that won’t stop us from being optimistic that every single play could be the one that comes together for our team. While the dedication of a strong team that has practiced hard and deserves to win is something to be admired, I have to admit I am a sucker for an underdog story.
Each time a small school arrives at a fancier facility and bands together to pull out a win against the home team is a memory being made for that team and their entourage. It wasn’t just another win for them; it’s the validation that their hard work was worth it too, and the encouragement to endure the hard days makes the unexpected victories so much more exciting.
An underdog is defined as the competitor who is thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest. Most underdogs aren’t established through factual shortcomings of the team, but rather public perception of how the matchup will go – but the difference between an underdog and a top dog is the ability to believe in themselves.
While your field may not have painted white lines and fancy end zones, while your team may be your family, and while your big game may be harvest time, the ability to believe in the underdog in whatever battle you may be facing could control your fate.
The reality is, times are tough in this industry, and while we hope they won’t be hard forever, we aren’t sure how much longer we can view ourselves as the underdog in the fight to keep our livelihood profitable among rising land costs, inflation and every other economic challenge each one of us may be facing.
This weekend, take some time to cheer for the underdogs. Pay attention to the expressions on their faces when they win, and know how much that victory means to them, so, in turn, you are ready to feel it too when the day comes.
In the meantime, the next time you are in the field, look carefully for the people cheering you on from the fenceline, even without a painted face and obnoxiously large poster with your name on it. I promise they are still cheering for you.