Everyone loves an underdog. What makes it so inspirational is that they beat the odds despite their inadequacies. The underdog never quite matches up. On paper they don’t even compare. Think George Mason in 2006, Matt Saracen, Susan Boyle, Lone Survivor, Jesse Ventura, the Utah Jazz, Justin Bieber, Ricky Martin, Kanye, Channing Tatum, David and Goliath, and of course Rudy. We all can relate. I’m not telling you anything new, but one thing that has become a revelation to me as of late, was realization that I was the underdog.
Statistically, I am average. Numbers don’t lie, but somehow, I’ve been tricking myself into believing that I was somewhat of the exception. I should have realized this when I was in High School. My basketball coach pulled me aside and told me to not shoot in games. Ever. Only lay-ups. (Coach Williams, I blame this post on you, and every failure I have ever had! You shot a young mans confidence down like the Hindenburg.) Or maybe I should have know when I tried out for a JC football team and got cut.
My day of reckoning came in the form of saved legged, sleeveless shirt, pretty boy. It was just a simple three and three game the other afternoon, but it soon turned into a school for the under privileged, that being me. It didn’t matter what I did, this kid carved me up like a thanksgiving turkey. What made it worse is that he had his girlfriend watching… and cheering. Here I was, on an island, with some random dude humiliating me in front of my buddies, The People and Mowgli, and his smoking hot girlfriend clapping. It was a tortuous hell. To some degree, I now know what water boarding feels like*. After we lost the third game 15 – 5**, he walked off, hand in hand with his girl, and didn’t even look back. My head was still reeling when I had an epiphany. I am just average. Simply put, I am sub par. I was so bothered, that I debated whether or not to burn every piece of basketball gear when I got home. That bitter taste didn’t ebb away until the sun rose, my wounds were healing, and I realized that there is obviously much more to life than sports. I went from one paradigm shift to another in a matter of hours.
For every success there are a thousand failures. I am sure glad that my future doesn’t rely on playing basketball. That being said, I sure hope it isn’t indicative of what is to come – being washed-up. So, in a way, I’ve accepted that I suck and will no longer try hard at things that I am not an expert at***.
** I didn’t win a single game that afternoon. 0-4.