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Now I understand why underdogs win–and why people root for them.

Now I understand why underdogs win–and why people root for them.

I dare you to call them underdogs.

We were supposed to lose. Well, not just lose. But get crushed. Annihilated. Walloped.

I tried to alleviate some of the heaviness of what they were about to do. “Just take it lightly, not too seriously. Let’s pretend it’s just a training game. We’ll learn some new plays and get some good practice in.”

We had 5 guys. The other had 11. They had beaten us last time by, I don’t know, maybe 30 points? Killed us. Today we had 4 guys missing and 1 guy injured. We didn’t even have a ball to practice with.

“Do you guys know the Bad News Bears?” I asked before the game? They hadn’t heard of it. I am in The Netherlands after all.

Officially, we’re not even allowed to play with just 5 guys. We need at least one sub. We could have forfeited. We could have asked the other team to borrow a few of their players and make the game something of a training session (after we officially forfeit). But our guys were there to play. The other coach agreed to let us play with just 5.

The other team scored the first bucket with ease. Like high schoolers playing against the kindergartners. But that was the easiest basket they’d have all night.

Our guys:

  • Didn’t care that the other team had twice the number of players,
  • Laughed that we had no subs,
  • Didn’t realize they were supposed to get murdered,
  • Didn’t play like a team who was supposed to lose,
  • Weren’t going to take things too seriously,
  • Had fans from the other team’s bleachers rooting for them,
  • Had fun,
  • Made jokes,
  • Were out of breath, out of steam and out of gas,
  • Didn’t give up.

Is this how underdogs are made?

If you try so hard, do you sometimes sabotage your success? What if just let it ride and play your game and have some fun? Take it lightly and pretend it’s for fun? What’s the worst that could happen?

Now I understand why underdogs win--and why people root for them. [Culemborg, The Netherlands]

Now I understand why underdogs win–and why people root for them. [Culemborg, The Netherlands]


  1. Mom

    I’ve got tears in my eyes. What a wonderful story. Wish I could have been there. The kids must feel wonderful.

    • Bradley

      They were a lot happier than the boys who didn’t show up!


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