The Underdoggies

Everybody loves an underdog.

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Well, apart from people who are terrified of dogs.

But there is something about the very spirit of the thing – when everyone says they don’t have a chance, they don’t have a hope, they are destined to lose etc and they pull off the miracle, that one in a million chance – well that warms the cockles of everybody’s hearts.

And that is why we all support the underdogs and celebrate when they pull off the impossible (except when its against our teams or players of course).

That’s why we all love Rocky. Another brilliant movie about the underdogs is Cool Runnings – about the Jamaican bobsled team during a Winter Olympics. When Saturday Comes is a favorite of many football fans because in it little Sheffield United beats Manchester United.

Our own cricket team started it all in 1983 by beating the overwhelming favorites in the final. Sri Lanka repeated the feat in 1996.

The recent past has been exceptionally well for the underdogs.

In badminton, one girl took on the might of China – Saina vs China – and kept at it till she reached the pinnacle (giving hope to all non Chinese players everywhere) including our very own Kashyap and Sindhu.

In football Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, was humiliated by Leicester and Mk Dons (and quite a few others). Arsenal the fifth richest club on the planet was humiliated by little Monaco.

In the World Cup, little Costa Rica humiliated England and Italy while the Dutch massacred the Spaniards. In 1990 we all celebrated Cameroon beating the world champions Argentina, in 1994, people celebrated Bulgaria beating the world champions Germany and in 2002  we celebrated Senegal beating the world champions France.

My very own Mohun Bagan – rank outsiders and a complete disaster of a team for about 10 years now – are currently leading our national league, followed by Royal Wahingdoh, another supreme underdog. The mega rich mega corrupt East Bengal is on the verge of relegation.

Athletico Madrid somehow did the impossible and won the Spanish league against the two behemoths of Real Madrid and Cheatcelona.

A few years ago,

In last year’s US open tennis, two rank outsiders and underdogs competed in the finals – Cilic and Nishikori.

Ireland and Bangladesh have pulled off incredible upsets against much better/fancier oppositions.


But perhaps the 2nd greatest upset in recent memory was pulled off by the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team. Bear in mind that this is a team without a proper stadium ever since their stadium got destroyed b ya flood. Each and every member of the team suffered in the floods, and yet just a few months later, they went to Mumbai and defeated Mumbai.

For those you who don’t know Mumbai is the undisputed king of Indian domestic cricket. They are like Brazil of world football or the Los Angeles Lakers of NBA or New York Yankees of baseball. They have literally everything going for them and yet a bunch of semiprofessionals from the villages of J&K beat them at their own home. A hell of an achievement by Parvej Rasool and his boys.

Nothing unites people more than sports. If us Indians truly wants the Kashmiris to accept us, we need to build the infrastructure in J&K that will not only allow the people to earn a good comfortable living but to also excel in sports.

However, the greatest piece of underdog success happened all the way back in the late 1990s.

On a sunny day at the Ravindra Sarovar Stadium on the annual sports of Nava Nalanda High School a fat lad won two medals – one in 3 legged race and another in 4*100 metres relay race.

As far as unbelievable underdog stories go, you cannot beat that.


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