In sport, it might be impossible to talk about the overdogs without paying some attention to the underdogs. Underdogs are those at a disadvantage and as a result, are expected to lose. It is common for the neutrals – those who have no loyalty to any of the competing sides in a match – to take sides with the underdogs and this is easily understood from the standpoint that:
- The neutrals don’t want their own teams to share bragging rights with another big or rival team.
- The average sports fan prefers to be excited with surprises. Excitement is the essence of sports matches. It will be almost needless to sit down and watch a game with a team that has a 95% chance of winning.
- The sympathies of fans are always with the underdogs, or any team who is able to pull the chestnut out of the fire, because they are thought to have limited resources and personnel to execute the match. The underdogs also always enjoy the good sentiments of some referees.
When the underdogs win, even in their home, it is seen as an upset and such underdog teams are praised as giant killers. This is quite annoying for me because the overdogs are always put under immense pressure to always win and it’s a shame that they are never regarded as achieving anything when they win because the high expectations are only just met.
In the English Football Premier League for instance, the expectations are very high on the big four teams such that their fan base expect perpetual winning of matches and ultimate winning of silverware from them, so much so that a loss is unforgivable and could result in bad blood between the club management and the fans’ association.
Another characteristic of an underdog team is their sheer resentment of the overdogs, causing them to bring on a rather ceremonial A-game to play with all their form and agility. This might be the driving force that causes them to win the big boys. This would have been the case except that form without class is like a machete without cutting edge, hence the big boys usually have a way of taming the giant killers – because a team’s class is that character they have of springing surprises even on days when it seems the chips are down.
Class is permanent! It cannot be lost because it was not taught. It goes old, but it’s like red wine. I define a team’s class as the contribution of each team member’s natural, raw talent and ingenuity to the whole team. Finally, if the form with which midget teams beat or attempt to beat the giants was replicated in all other matches, then they would be top guns too. It’s a pity the bane of match underdogs is that they usually do not have enough depth in terms of personnel on and off pitch to sustain form.