I am a sucker for the underdog. The kid or the adult who has it all stacked against him or her, who doesn’t seem to have a chance to win or succeed, no matter however you define it. Except for, perhaps, his or her own belief in him or herself. Sometimes that belief is all that is needed.
It seems like when I . . . we . . . come across such a story, we cheer at the end when it turns out “just the way it should.” And I think you all know what I mean by that.
When I was working on Stolen Lives, the first book in my trilogy, I had thought about killing off one of my favorite characters. He was a hero. He saved his friends and took a bullet doing so. Conventional wisdom is to “kill off your darlings” as they say, and this character would become most everyone’s favorite according to many of the reviews after it had been published. As I wrote that chapter however, I had bounced the idea off my daughter, Emily, and she emphatically told me not to. I reminded her that life doesn’t always have a Disney version of “and everyone lived happily ever after.” She leaned forward, pointed a finger at me and said, “Well, it ought to.”
Well, okay then . . .
We know of the Biblical story of David and Goliath. The big brute was chosen to represent his tribe and when no one stepped forward to fight him, a skinny, scrawny kid with a slingshot stepped forward to do so. We know how that ended.
One recent Saturday, I had the TV tuned to the NFL network and there was a profile of Doug Flutie on at the time. Originally, I had it on as background noise while I worked on something around the house. But then, I started to pay attention.
Flutie was a college quarterback who stood five foot nine inches. For a quarterback, that’s tiny. For a quarterback at a major college or near major college, that’s Smurf-like, to quote Jim McMahon. A college football game took place between the Boston College Eagles and the University of Miami Hurricanes on November 23, 1984 that later became known as the Hail Flutie Game.
This was a big game between the #10 Boston College Eagles and the #12 Miami Hurricanes who were coached by Jimmy Johnson. Boston College was looked down upon because it didn’t have the notoriety of Miami. There were several milestones that occurred in this game. The Hurricanes' Bernie Kosar passed for a school-record 447 yards. Miami running back Melvin Bratton ran for four touchdowns. And tiny Doug Flutie passed for 472 yards and four touchdowns and became the first collegiate quarterback ever to surpass 10,000 yards passing in a college career.
But the fireworks took place towards the end of the game.
In the final seconds, Dough Flutie threw a Hail Mary to wide receiver Gerard Phelan to give Boston College the win. At the time, Miami was the defending national champion and the game was played at the Miami Orange Bowl.
A real David and Goliath moment.
The world of sports has many such stories and we celebrate them. Everyday life also gives us stories as well.
Mother Teresa. Helen Keller. Eleanor Roosevelt. Gandhi. Rosa Parks.
And we know of students who have succeeded despite the odds. Two of my former students, Khalid Maxie and Gabino Baez come to mind. I’ve written about them in the past. Both overcame considerable odds of poverty, gangs, and broken families to not only graduate high school, but go on to post-secondary education and beyond. But there are many others.
Sometimes all the underdog needs is a word of encouragement. Sometimes, just an opportunity. Sometimes, the words, “You can do this!” or sometimes, an arm around the shoulder and the message, “I’ve got your back.” It doesn’t take much effort on our part, not in comparison to the underdog. It doesn’t extend us much. But the effects of a word of encouragement, a kind word, our presence lasts longer than we might. Think of it as one more ripple in a pond forever extending outwards. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am busy having fun with my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness, and I’m more than 66,000 words and 264 pages into it.
Please feel free to connect with me at:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:
Available on Amazon for .99 the Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis
Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis
Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis