Not only the title of a Hoosiers song (just sharing a guilty pleasure moment there) but also my favourite sort of hero. From lovestruck Cyrano to sociopath Sherlock to ‘scrawny, specky git’ Harry Potter (I wish I could claim that but blame it on the Weasley twins) everyone loves an underdog (which also begins with U).
Why do we look to the least likely heroes to save the day? What is it about them? Maybe they remind us of ourselves. It takes a hobbit to save Middle Earth when there are warriors and elves all around. Maybe hobbits are like us – real people. And maybe it’s healthy to root for the hobbit. Maybe it reminds us that we don’t have to sit idly back when injustice is around us, that everyone can make a stand, no matter how insignificant they may seem. The difference is, in real life there are often things beyond our control to change, even with the most determined will. In fiction, we can achieve our aims through our protagonist. And the more like us they are, the more we take the journey with them.
In any story, you can bet that I’ll be rooting for the overlooked geek, the quiet, unsung hero toiling away in the background, the socially awkward non-entity… the unlikely hero of the tale. Maybe because they’re just like me.
I think it’s human nature to cheer on the underdog. There is something so life affirming to see someone battle all the odds and come out the other end winning.