Monday, February 18, 2008

slow down there, overdog!

I am walking into this post treading ever so lightly, for I am about to superficially chew over the human psyche. I have been thinking a little lately about the cuddly appeal of the underdog. Like so many others before me, I too have always been drawn to the one less likely to succeed. Case in point, way back before the Atlanta Braves (AMERICA'S team!) became great, and then really great, and then not so great, one could possibly view the fellas as, largely, a ragtag bunch. Sure, there were some greats on the 1987 team - Dale Murphy, Glenn Hubbard, even Ken Griffey, to name a few. But, who was my eight-almost-nine -year-old self obsessed with? His name is Ozzie Virgil. To be fair, Ozzie Virgil was a pretty darn good player. I think. I explored the Great Virgilino on Wikipedia a couple of minutes ago, and I relearned that he was an All Star in '85 and '87. He achieved a respectable .243 career batting average - emphasis, of course, on the word "average." Notice, if you will, that in the accompanying photo, Ozzie Virgil is wearing a Phillies uniform. I was unable to find a picture of Mr. Virgil in his Braves gear. Ahem.

I am digressing. What I really want to understand, though, is why so many of us are drawn to the underdog. The Scottie Pippen. The Puffs brand tissues in a world dominated by Kleenex. Is it really empathy we are feeling for Puffs and Scottie and the Jamaican bobsled team, or might it just possibly be that rather than experiencing this touching love we feel for the underdog, we are really just having a psychosomatic aversion to the overdog?
Think about it. In my former life as a high school teacher, I witnessed each day that once a formerly-endearing ironic trend hit the mainstream (I'm talking to YOU checkered Vans and rockin' leg warmers!), those now-cool trends would send a chill down the spines of the true, "original" hipsters. You've seen it a hundred times! Oh, you just got around to seeing Juno? Yes, it's clever, and certainly witty, but, gosh - it is sooo last year. I sure am glad your suburban AMC is still showing it, though; that's really cute. Getting my point? Is it fair? Probably not. But, think about it: how cool was it to jump on the Patriots bandwagon this past month (Bill Belichick's short-sleeved sweatshirt notwithstanding)? Not that cool. (Really quick sidenote: as 7 pound wee dachshunds can get cold in winter, I sometimes make Timmy wear a cute little grey sweatshirt. On those days, my husband refers to the poor doggie as "Timmy Belichick." Hee hee hee.) And, throughout the hype, didn't you just want to scream, "Wait a second! Those Patriots may be winning lots of these football competetions in a row and all, but they haven't yet won every contest! There is another team playing them, too!"
Maybe these underdog sports analogies have lasted a few sentences too long. The main reason I have even been even thinking about this subject is, well, I have been paying a little bit of attention to, well, politics lately. Without divulging any personal faves that I may or may not have selected, I will reveal that I have selected a fave. My husband went so far to say I was becoming a little "loud and proud" about said candidate. So you know, I selected that fave a while ago. And, you know, this candidate of mine hasn't tried on a short-sleeved sweatshirt or anything yet, but, let's just say, at some point in the past year or so (not to give anything away), my candidate has experienced a wave of momentum. And, I find now that, wait, this momentum is kind of causing me to lose maybe a teeny tiny bit of interest. My candidate is in danger of becoming - gasp - the overdog. I imagine those former checkered Vans wearers turning away from the former underdog in droves, put off by Candidate's newfound overdogdom. We'll see. I'm just saying, wow. Slow down. Hmmm. I wonder if Ozzie Virgil has ever considered running for office....


Oprah W. said...

For the life of me I can't figure out who this candidate is you speak of. I guess it could be Ron Paul but then again I have seen him in a short sleeve sweatshirt. So it can't be him. Hilary? McCain? I guess I'll never know.

Robert H. said...

Mentioning the '87 Braves without mentioning Bob Horner ?!? BLASHPEMOUS! Or maybe hitting 4 home runs in a game is really no big deal to you... loser

what's a donzer said...

Geez, Robert H. Why don't you buy a dictionary and learn how to spell "blasphemous"? Who's the loser now, loser?

what's a donzer said...

Dear Oprah W.,
It is my sincere hope that you have not spent too much time hoping to figure out the identity of my candidate. I hope that you have not lost any sleep over the mystery. There was a time during my dad's days at Hope College
( that his friend Hope developed a hopeless case of insomnia. Hopefully, this will not happen with you.
I hope you take time to enjoy your life. Perhaps you'll be inspired by some words of the wise Bob Hope: "People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy."

Here's hoping you never throw kisses, Oprah,

What's a donzer.