Categorized | Opinion

Here’s to the underdogs

By Mike T. Smith

Open Mike for webIt happened.
The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team was defeated. They made it all the way to April before they lost a game.
A very impressive season but cut one game shorter than they, and their fans, would have liked. No one will deny that Kentucky is loaded with talent, but so is every other team in the tournament. I watched the game and what I observed is that Wisconsin was not intimidated by Kentucky at all. The Wisconsin Badgers didn’t care that the Kentucky Wildcats had won 38 consecutive games this season with no losses.
They were going to make them beat them on the court, not in their heads. A lot of teams that Kentucky had played this season were already mentally beat before they even laced up their basketball shoes. If you lose the game in your head, you’ve lost the game. Period.
The Wisconsin Badgers wanted Kentucky to make it so they could play them. They felt like they could beat them, and it showed in the way they played them. Despite being the underdog, they never laid down and handed the game to the Wildcats.
If they were going to win they were going to have to earn it. That’s the way it should be. This goes way beyond basketball. We’re talking about real life. Do you ever feel like the underdog in life? That there are some goals that aren’t attainable? That those types of accomplishments are reserved for a tiny elite.
Maybe you don’t even feel like you’re in the same league and you’re not good enough to try. What if you gave yourself a fair chance of actually winning before mentally and emotionally conceding to the ‘favorite?’ How much different would your life be? If you still can’t see yourself as anything more than the underdog, that’s fine. Just remember one thing. People love to cheer for the underdog.
Think of all the movies like Rocky and Rudy. You wanted those guys to do well because they were the underdog. You could relate to them. You could relate to their pain and struggle, and for ninety minutes you were their biggest fan.
The Wildcats beat 38 teams, but history will remember the one team that beat them. If it takes multiple times to achieve a goal or dream, so be it.
If it takes 38 attempts, maybe more, and it just makes that victory that much sweeter. It’s time to stop playing small ball. You’re the underdog, you have people cheering for you. Don’t let them down.
Mike T. Smith is a youth motivational speaker and a Memphis Tigers fan. For more information on Mike visit http://miketsmith.net and follow him on Twitter @MikeTSmith.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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