Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are There Benefits to Being the Underdog?

For decades, the New Orleans Saints were a perennial underdog in the National Football League. Opposing teams would automatically count the "W" when the Saints appeared on their schedule. Loyal fans continued to attend the games at the Louisiana Superdome, but would wear bags over their heads as an outward sign of their embarrassment over the poor performance of their team.

Things started to change for the Saints several years ago when Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees took over at the helm of the organization. And now, the team that was once a laughing stock holds claim to the title of current World Champions.

When the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season, they earned millions of new fans across the country who were thrilled to see some opportunity for celebration and happiness to a city that had known so much recent pain. But, the Saints also changed their definition as a team. If you want to cheer for the underdog, you now need to look somewhere other than the New Orleans Saints.

In my new release, Opur's Blade, Opur is a young man with many reasons to be the underdog in his life. Raised by a single mom who struggled financially and who shied away from others due to a speech impediment, Opur had the odds stacked against him. But, it just took one person to believe in him and take an interest and Opur's fate suddenly shifted. Like the Saints, Opur may discover that his underdog days are over.

What happens to individuals or members of a team when they go from being the underdogs to being the champions? How does this affect their attitudes? Their relationships with others? Is there something to be said for maintaining that underdog status?

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