Rooting for the underdogs…
If you are like Carrie and me, you love cheering for the underdogs in life. We love those stories that seem impossible to believe when against all the odds and all of the “expert” opinions teams win, champions are born, and statistics become irrelevant. It is those moments in life that give us hope and a belief that we too are capable of some big wins in our lives. It is the stuff that they make movies about and the things that give us inspiration to get back up again and keep moving forward.
Back in the 1990-91 hockey season I came in as a rookie to the United States Junior Hockey League playing for the Thunder Bay Flyers. We were predicted by all of the “experts” to finish in the bottom of the league with no hope of any playoff chances. What the experts can’t see is the chemistry that builds a championship team. We had a great regular season and then in the regional playoffs knocked off teams that were predicted to destroy us. We arrived at the Canadian Junior Championships as an unknown and everyone ignored us or looked at us like we were insignificant.
The number one team in the country that year was the Winkler Flyers. They were predicted to sweep the tournament, and they were a force until they met us. With the media still ignoring us, we met this powerhouse in the qualifying round and they highly underestimated our team. We destroyed them. It was only fitting we met them again in the final. Everyone was saying that we were just lucky that first game and there was no way that could happen again. They thought they had the championship in the bag. It was not to go their way. We stuck to our game while they unraveled, and the underdogs destroyed them and shocked the hockey world.
Back in the 1993-94 hockey season I came in as a rookie to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playing for the Lake Superior State Lakers. We were rated low and expected to have a mediocre season with very little chance to make the playoffs let alone win a National Championship. As history repeats itself, the “sports experts” used their expertise and statistics to make those predictions but the underdogs defied the odds. There was a moment in the second half of the season when we came together and became unstoppable.
We finished near the top of the league that year and then went on to place in the NCAA Tournament. It was there that the impossible started to take place. We won 3 overtime games against Northeastern, Michigan, and Harvard. We then met the number one team in the country in the final: Boston University. We were predicted not to have a chance, but against all odds we destroyed their team of superstars, 9-1. It truly was remarkable and an inspiring story that I was blessed to be a part of: another underdog that achieved the “impossible”.
In life, we look to the underdogs for inspiration and encouragement in any endeavor. This world is filled with critics and “experts” who really have no clue what they are talking about. To me, critics are cowards… they criticize others as a way of avoiding what they need to do with their own lives. Critics generally achieve nothing of significance. The underdogs in life, regardless of where they perform, make the statistics and critics irrelevant. That is why we love cheering for them, and we will continue to cheer them on for as long as we live. Stories of underdogs are where courage, hope and inspiration reside.
Always remember wherever you are, whatever you do, whatever the odds: Nothing is impossible with God. Get back up and get back at whatever you know God has called you to do. Use the criticism for fuel and know that God and Carrie and I are cheering you on! Your time for a big win is now!
All the best,
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