Underdogs are now a thing of the past

I haven’t met too many people to this day that don’t love a good underdog story. Tales of the little guy fighting against the giant resonate across the entire world.

Watching a true underdog triumph against all odds gives the everyday man the hope and inspiration to follow suit and pursue what appears to be impossible.

No other facet of life pulls off a true underdog story quite like on the sporting field. Over the years we have been witness to some truly incredible underdog sporting moments, but it feels as if over the past year or two, they have become more and more prominent.

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The Bulldogs’ 6 point win over GWS was their third consecutive finals win making them the first team in AFL history to make the Grand Final from 7th on the ladder

The Western Bulldogs last played in a Grand Final in 1961. Their one and only premiership came 7 years prior in an historic win over Melbourne.

Most of their supporters probably weren’t even alive then.

The Doggies will go into Saturday’s encounter at the MCG with the whole of Australia (minus Sydney supporters) cheering them on hoping for the perfect finish to what has been an incredible underdog story.

A win will not only see the Bulldogs end one of the longest premiership droughts in VFL/AFL history, but they will also go into the record books as the first team to win a flag from outside the top 4 since the current finals system was implemented.

As an Adelaide supporter, I will be with most of the nation, hoping to witness the epic finale to what has been a dream finals run. A win for the Bulldogs will give me great hope that even my beloved Crows, who have a habit for making up the numbers in the finals, can emulate this in years to come.

The example of Leicester City will remain one of the finest examples of triumph against the odds. Having tussled it out in the second and third divisions of English football for the good part of the millennium, the Foxes were 1001 – 1 to win the Premier League and tipped to be relegated by season’s end. The fairytale season enthralled fans and the regular onlooker week in week out, most tipping them to drop off as the season got towards the pointy end.

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Leicester City mastermind Claudio Ranieri lifts the 2015/16 Premier League trophy in front of the home fans at the King Power Stadium

Along with everyone else, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. These are the kind of dreams you could only play out on video games. Most are hailing the success of Leicester as the greatest sporting story of modern times.

Leicester City happen to be my best friend’s team, and as happy as I was for him, I was also really jealous.

I support Wolverhampton Wanderers.

We are almost always the underdogs. My friends laughed at me the first time I told them that I support Wolves. I think that’s probably part of the reason why I started supporting them. And much like Leicester, Wolves have been flip flopping in and out of the Premier League since the millennium. Why can’t Wolves do what Leicester did and win the whole damn thing?

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One of the few highlights from Wolves’ Premier League stint lasting from 2009-2012

Well, you can’t win anything if you don’t believe you can. I remember former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy who was in charge during the 3 year Premier League stint a few years back would regular say something along the lines of:

“As long as we don’t get relegated at season’s end, I’ll be happy.”

Really Mick?

No wonder we didn’t survive. We were too worried about not getting relegated that we did not know how to chase success, or even win games of football for that matter.

A year ago I would have laughed if someone told me that Leicester could win the Premiership. I guess that’s the thing – we don’t know what is around the corner, we don’t know when or how or in what capacity, but unexpected and miraculous underdog stories are unfolding before our eyes.

They should inspire us, and give us hope that we too have the ability to achieve greatness.

With the new Premier League season having commenced just over a month ago, teams once thought to be walkovers for the rich and successful clubs are now playing with a newfound confidence and swagger.

The 2015/16 season has clearly set a precedence, with smaller clubs eyeing success in the top flight rather than just making up the numbers.

As for Saturday, I really do hope the Bulldogs win. Not just because they are serious underdogs, but because their triumph will give me reason to keep faith in my team, and also myself, no matter what the odds.

 

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