I like to root for the overdogs. Give me your Golden State Warriors, your New York Yankees, and your German national teams. And if you put on a kids movie, I definitely root for the bullies from across town with the nice uniforms who haven’t lost a state championship in 30 years.
I don’t like Cinderella stories, I think the Prince should marry his cousin and keep his land in the family.
Okay, that last one is weird, but let’s stick to sports. The whole idea of underdogs is that it’s more fun when the team that is less good at the thing they’re competing in wins, and that is super stupid. The best part of sports is seeing people who worked hard do well at the thing they practiced, not a group of misfits miraculously pulling it together for one day and ruining the lives of actual athletes.
Every kids sports movie, there’s this team called the Juggernauts, and they’re great at football. Play it all the time. Never lose, in fact, because they’re like really good at football. And somehow they end up in an important game against The Ragtag Losers, a team who only just found out football is a sport.
The Losers have this computer nerd, right, and he comes up with a trick play in the 4th quarter because the players reminded him of binary coding. Then there’s this dancer who seems too skinny to be out there, but he accidentally catches a punt and is a genius at avoiding tackles. Don’t forget the kid who works at his dad’s bakery and sometimes catches baguettes. Boom, there’s your wide receiver. And the farmer kid is good at blocking because he’s the one who stands there when the baby cow is born so he’s been kicked in the chest a million times and it doesn’t faze him. The stars align perfectly for just one game, and these weirdos might eke out a victory over those mean ol’ athletes.
We root for losers because they have heart. They seem happy when they win. But kids who work hard, obviously they can’t have heart. Don’t be ridiculous! They study game film until 10pm every night and then have to be up at 5:00 to hit the weight room. Those are soulless monsters! WHY DIDN’T YOU TRY TO BE BORN ON A FARM, YOU SOCIOPATH!
It’s easy to feel like society has written off those other kids, but that’s not true. We wrote them off as football players. That’s it. Trick Play Kid is gonna make 90 grand right out of college sexually harassing his coworkers with impunity at Uber. The baguette receiver is going to get a Michelin star. And the farmer will… birth more cows? I don’t know. The world needs that too. Not everybody has to be an athlete.
But if we hate the football players for being good at football, then when the baker’s son grows up and wins his James Beard Awards, we should hate him too. He was born with that silver yeast in his mouth. I can’t root for a baker to win baking awards! I want a diesel mechanic who suddenly discovered that bread is just like a carburetor or some shit, so he left his successful shop to make bread.
And why was his shop successful anyway? Just because he was — jesus christ say it isn’t so — good at fixing cars? Gross! I only take my car to a midwife who just discovered the gas tank is just like a womb! And babies are a boring way of continuing the human race anyway, I always root for fish to start walking.