America loves an underdog

Ever since David slew the mighty Goliath, the world has loved stories about underdogs.

We’re addicted to tales of those who overcome long odds.

Who don’t listen to what others are saying.

Who believe in themselves even though they may be in a minority of one.

That’s especially true of Americans, for we live in a country that once was the ultimate underdog.

A country whose settlers dared leave their native England for a New World, where they knew not what they would find.

Once there, they dared to challenge their former homeland, even though it had the most-feared military on the face of the Earth.

The Patriots were outmanned, outgunned and underfunded.

They stood about as much chance of defeating the British as David and his slingshot had of felling Goliath.

But they perservered. They won more battles than they lost and eventually won the war that began the fomation of a country founded on the principle that all men are created equal.

Today, they are our inspiration. They remind us that all things are possible. That no matter how long the odds or how great the battle, it can be won.

While no sporting event in the world ever has or ever will have the impact of such weighty world matters as revolutions, one of the reasons we are so passionate about sports is the heart-warming stories it creates.

Although it has been 33 years, I still tear up and get goosebumps whenever I see the closing seconds of the United States’ hockey team’s improbable victory over the Russians at the 1980 Olympics.

It was amateurs against professionals. Joes against Pros.

Instead of approaching the game like sheep waiting to be slaughtered, the Americans charged at their opponent like raging bulls. They became the aggressors.

The longer they hung around, the more confident they became. Finally, we all joined Al Michaels in screaming Yes to his question, “Do you believe in miracles?”

When the NCAA basketball tournament began last week, former Parkersburg South standout Chase Fieler and his Florida Gulf Coast tammates were listed at odds of 1,000 to 1.

Not to win the national title, mind you, but just to win the South Region. Now, it is two games away from doing just that. Two games where the odds are even greater than the previous pair.

The Eagles will meet Florida on Friday in the Sweet 16, a game in which they are 14-point underdogs. A win there and they will play either Kansas or Michigan to see who goes to the Final Four.

If this were a multiple choice question about which of those four does not belong, the answer would be obvious. But Florida Gulf Coast indeed belongs. It has earned its spot in the Sweet 16. It has been an incredible ride, and one that isn’t over yet.