I’ve always been a sucker for an underdog for as long as I can remember. Show me someone or something that is behind the eight ball, or battling against the odds, and I am all over it. This contrariness meant that I always identified with the unpopular or uncool character in books and movies, or took the side in a fight that went against popular opinion.
My favourite character in the Narnia Chronicles was the traitorous Edmund—until I met the snivelling Eustace Scrubb. In Harry Potter, I thought the real hero was Ron, not Harry, just like Samwise Gamgee was always the centre of the Lord of the Rings saga for me, and Frodo his sidekick not the other way around.
Life imitating Art
This filtered through into my life as well, whether it was in music—I always liked Paul more than John—or in politics. But, no more was this true than in sports. Growing up, Australia were the dominant, almost invincible cricket team in the world, but instead of enjoying these Golden Years, I gave my heart to England (and India at times). This, of course, meant decades of heartbreak and crushed hopes, until that magical series in 2005....though it’s been all downhill ever since.
And, of course, I am a lifelong Demons fan, which was a rollercoaster of emotions I have written about here many times. Years and years of getting my hopes up, while other family members and friends supported teams with massive dynasties of success, from the Hawks to Geelong. All that changed, though, last year when Melbourne not only one the flag, but did so in a way to catapulted them from chokers to champions in twenty minutes of brutal dominance.
The Strangest Timeline
But, as amazing as that moment was, it presents me with a bit of a dilemma. With my nature inclining me to the underdog, it feels a little strange to be reading articles labelling Melbourne the team to beat, rather than the team that beats itself. They are unbeaten this season, for goodness’ sake, and it’s getting to the point where they go into every match the favourite with people expecting they will win! It’s madness, I tell you!
But, for now, I am going to try and enjoy it as best I can. It was never winning so much that turned me off, it was the arrogance and bad sportsmanship of winning teams that bothered me the most, and so far the Melbourne players seem to be aware of what their success means to fans and that the game is not about them but about the sport. So, I guess for now, I can embrace the overdog and enjoy being one of the fans who can believe his team is more than likely going to win.
The fact remains, I’ve waited my whole life for this moment...and it could change as quickly as it happened. This is the Dees roller-coaster, after all!
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html