Being An Underdog Is A Hard Pill To Swallow, But It's The Best Victory You'll Earn

Being An Underdog Is A Hard Pill To Swallow, But It's The Best Victory You'll Earn

Be prepared to be underestimated and to turn heads.

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In the past few years, I have noticed l have been labeled as an underdog, even if the direct term wasn't always used to describe me. Whether it was running for officer positions or in life in general, I have been an underdog.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an Underdog is:

a loser or predicted loser in a struggle or contest.

When I first came to this realization, that people considered me an underdog in things, I felt embarrassed and hurt. People underestimated me; my strengths weren't on the surface. It definitely was a self-confidence killer, but as time has passed and I've thought about it before, I am proud to be an underdog.

I remember my senior year of high school when people were surprised I was selected to compete on an academic team and that I had the second highest grade in my Advanced Chemistry class.

People assumed I wasn't smart enough, and I had people chasing me down the hallway questioning what my GPA was or what my ACT score was.

Being upset, a few people made comments that I heard, and it definitely deflated my attitude about competing. It seemed that hardly anyone believed I was capable of being smart because I wasn't in the top 10% of my class or maybe because I wasn't vocal about how challenging my classes were. I worked hard, always trying to better myself, and hoping to achieve my goals, no matter if it was academic or personal. Even if some of my classmates didn't see the potential in me, my chemistry teacher did and the took a chance on me. Sometimes being quiet and focusing on the work you have been given, takes you off people's radar of achieving success.

Underdogs are all over pop culture and in history.

Whether it was Average Joe's from the movie "Dodgeball," David against Goliath in the Bible, or during March Madness when that one team no one expected to do well and then they wreck everyone's brackets.

My personal favorite underdog is Alex Karev from "Grey's Anatomy."

He came from a not stable or safe home when he was young, had to work, fight, and sometimes lie to become the doctor he is now. When he first came to work at the hospital, he was not on people's radars of success and not a favorite character in the TV Show, but slowly you became to love Karev and hope he keeps reaching for the stars. Being an underdog might mean you face uphill battles, doubts, and shocked faces, but those moments will motivate you to do more and be more. They are the people or teams, once they start being successful, you cheer for in hopes that the underdog will win. The concept that "everyone loves an underdog" comes this, but in the end, success, whether you are an underdog or not, can bring people hating you on the flip side.

Realizing you are an underdog can be a hard pill to swallow, but I realized this is one of my strengths. I have learned to fight for what I believe in, work harder than ever before, and to brush myself off and keep moving if I fail. Being an underdog, I have experienced the rollercoaster of emotions you have while competing. I have experienced the crushing feeling of being underappreciated and the extreme high of achieving your dreams. If you are labeled as an underdog, feel proud of yourself. Not everyone may see your strengths, but the people who matter will. As long as you believe in yourself and remember who you are, you will continuously succeed, no matter the outcome, and surprise the world.

Cover Image Credit:

Corrine Harding

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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I'm Definitely On A Road, But I'm Not Sure Which Direction I'm Going

You just spent the last four years of your life getting a piece of paper.

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High school graduation is one thing, but college…...

You have waited for this moment for what seems like an eternity, with hundreds of people watching you. Somewhere in the mass are the people who have supported you throughout the mental breakdowns, midnight study sessions, and countless espresso shots, waiting for the second your name is announced to cheer.

Down on the football field or floor of the auditorium your surrounded by familiar faces. Peers who have fought the same battles, strangers who have become friends, people you've grown with.

Some already have jobs lined up, working for companies seldom heard of, but they are excited. Others are getting married directly if not soon after to start their new beginnings all at once. Then there are the few who like yourself, have no earthly idea what to do after graduation.

You've gone through the steps, applied for jobs, participated in the interviews, but nothing turned out how you thought it would. A thousand no's before the yes, just hasn't come yet and that's all right. You reflect on the last four years of the memories made, tears that have fallen, and things marked off your bucket list; realizing that it is time for a new place to explore, new faces to meet, and more coffee to drink.

As the ceremony begins you imagine the town or city that you'll pull up to. Reading the welcome sign, looking at the population number and adding one more to it.

You drive down through the main part of town looking at the stores that catch your eye. You notice a coffee shop, not like the one at home but similar enough, pretending you're already a regular and your computer automatically connects to the Wi-Fi. You see people walking their dogs to the dog park, eager to meet the fellow pooch parents.

As the announcer reads off the name of a friend a few seats up, you're rearranging the furniture in the quaint and cozy house you are renting. Envisioning where the mix and match chairs acquired over the years will go, under the family portrait or by the front door, either way it will pop. You imagine family and friends coming to visit for the weekend, sharing your favorite parts of the town.

Then you hear it, your entire name, and it isn't your mother's voice yelling at you. It is the booming voice of the announcer, awaiting to shake your hand and give you the degree. The degree that is paid for with sweat, tears, and student loans.

You gave it your all, and the moment is now. As you stand up and head towards the stage you hear the celebrations of family and friends. You beam with glee as their encouragements fill the air.

Time to turn your tassels, and head off to a new destination.

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