This weekend, there’s a little annual event called the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Now, many of you probably have no idea what that is, so I’ll tell you. The Rocky Mountain Showdown is one of the fiercest, meanest, most nail-biting college sports events of the year in Colorado, when the CSU Rams (woo, woo!) take on the CU Buffs (boo, hiss!).
Yes, I will be cheering for the Colorado State Rams this weekend. For three reasons:
- I went to CSU.
- I’ve despised CU since the 7th grade when a CU fan spit on me and “accidentally” spilled his beer in my hair for wearing the wrong jersey.
- I always cheer for the underdog. And CSU is definitely the underdog in this matchup. Since 1893, our team has only won 21 times. Did you hear that? 21! CU fans never waste a second to point out that lopsided stat whenever the smack talking begins. But you know what my response to them is?
“Never rule out the power of the underdog.”
Underdogs are the slyest, wiliest and most audacious characters around. They seize the day and sneak in the back door to steal the show. Nobody expects them to win. Nobody. That’s why I love them–both on the football field and in books. When the underdog triumphs, the victory feels like the Fourth of July and a midnight Harry Potter book release party rolled into one. It’s the first day of summer and the last day of a job you hated. It’s melting ice cream cones and purple sunsets. Fluffy beds and See’s Chocolates. When the underdog wins, it’s spectacular!
So, in celebration of this weekend and the hope that the CSU Underdogs–I mean, Rams–will defeat the CU Jerks–I mean, Buffs–I’ve come up with a list of my Top 5 Favorite Underdogs. The ones that came from behind, proved their enemies wrong, and made me go, “Woo, woo!”.
1. Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter
“I’ll join you when hell freezes over! Dumbledore’s Army!” Through seven books, we agonizingly watched Harry’s fellow Gryffindor get mocked, ridiculed and called a Squib. We winced, we laughed and, best of all, we incredulously witnessed Neville Longbottom transform from a clumsy, stuttering child…
into a rebellious, dauntless young man that defies Lord Voldemort and proves Harry isn’t the only badass in town.
2. Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings
“Let us be rid of it–once and for all. Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you…But I can carry you.” Oh, little Hobbits. So cute. So small. So insignificant…NOT! Especially Samwise Gamgee.
He may have started out as Frodo’s food-lovin’, plain speakin’ gardener, but Sam quickly proved that the little guy can win. Without him, the One Ring would’ve slipped back on Sauron’s finger and all of Middle-Earth would’ve gone up in smoke.
3. Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” Society–Schmiety. Elizabeth Bennet may not be the prettiest or wealthiest girl in town, but that doesn’t stop her from keeping her chin up and fighting for what she believes in: true love.
She stands up to her own mother, evades Mr. Collins and his precious Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and even admits she, herself, can be wrong.
4. Peeta Melark, The Hunger Games
“Yes, frosting. The final defense of the dying.” The boy with the bread. The boy with the sweet heart. The boy that nobody, not even his own mother, believed could make it through the Games.
But he did. Against all odds–which were never in his favor–Peeta Mellark of District 12 survives the arenas, the Capitol’s tortures, and the rebellion.
And, let’s just say it, he survives Katniss Everdeen, too.
5. Minny Jackson, The Help
“I say ‘ That good vanilla from Mexico’ and then I go head. I tell her what else I put in that pie for her.” Minny’s “terrible awful” thing is the strongest piece of evidence that an underdog should never be mocked, discounted or disrespected.
Not unless you wanna a dash of poo in your chocolate pie.
That’s right. Chow down, Hilly Holbrook!
Underdogs. So many times they are the heartbeat of a story. They are the ones that get you to whoop and cheer inside a quiet coffee shop. The ones you run and tell your friends about. The ones you look up to. The ones you always remember.
Now, this list obviously didn’t cover all the awesome underdogs out there. In fact, my original list had 12 (and that wasn’t even thinking about it too hard). A few of those included Jack from The Pillars of the Earth, Aria from Under the Never Sky, and Beatrice “Tris” Prior from Divergent.
Okay, game time! Don’t forget to root on the underdog in the Rocky Mountain Showdown this weekend, the CSU Rams! If they win, the scene could very well look like this.