Flattland - "Here's To The Underdogs!"

The Seahawks projected to possibly go to (and win) the Super Bowl? At times, Trav Flatt says "Yersh!" at the deification of his former underdog Hawks in his latest missive.

Yersh! I normally try to get a little bit into a column before I start making up words (Makes it less likely the editor will read that far) (Editor’s Note: You mean I’m supposed to READ your columns, too?), but this week’s chaos has left me at a loss for better phrasing to convey my state of mind. So, “Yersh!”

I won’t get into details due to the highly relevant fact that you don’t give a damn, though I will point out that the writer’s general mood is more conducive to running amok with the writer’s letter opener than it is to meeting the writer’s humor column deadlines. One real downside to being a humor columnist is that there is so little actual “work” involved that it takes more time and effort to shirk the duty than to perform it. Oh, the humanity. In light of that:

It’s been a great time to be an underdog here lately, hasn’t it? I can, without actually having to get up and do any research, cite numerous examples (Hey, “2” is a number).

Firstly: While horse racing is something I’m not normally inclined to care about, I grew to care quite deeply over the weeks that sports radio hosts and sports writers absolutely refused to shut up about “Smarty Jones”. Now, I know quite a few sports-interested individuals, but our collective interest in horse racing could come nowhere NEAR justifying the media hype surrounding one horse. I’ve done some asking, and we all generally agree that Wienerdog Racing holds far more entertainment value than anything involving horses. We’re obviously not the demographic targeted by our own sports media outlets, and we’re probably just a bunch of uncultured drunken stupid-heads.

In any event, Smarty Jones lost. Har! In the time honored tradition of over-hyped losing athletes worldwide, Smarty’s jockey took full responsibility and fired his (the jockey’s) agent.

Second: In another sport that usually fails to generate any passion in me whatsoever, I found myself completely elated to hear how utterly the Pistons crushed the Lakers. I think Laker fans are still in denial after having ranted, at length, and in great detail, about how their beloved Los Angelinos were going to humiliate the boys from Detroit. Take THAT, baby!

Perhaps it’s just the by-product of some psychological disorder, but I have always been a big fan of the underdog. It’s pretty much been the trend for as far back as I can remember.

I can still recall back in the mid-eighties, when a friend and I had a sort of competition as to who could become a fan of the crappier baseball team. He became a diehard Cubs zealot, and I latched onto the (sorry) Mariners. We’d rant, rave, and rage about our hapless little ball clubs whilst secretly proud of our pseudo-masochistic badges of Fan Honor.

Truth be told; I think I really started losing interest in the M’s about the time that they started winning. Maybe I’m just not comfortable with the throng that comes with bandwagon hype. That’s “throng”, not “thong”, though the discomfort holds true for both.

To let ya’ll in on a little secret, I’m somewhat torn vis-à-vis my long and painfully adored Seahawks. I do want them to live up to the expectations and be Super Bowl contenders (Actually, -every- team is currently a ‘Super Bowl Contender’, but you know what I mean). At the same time, I balk at the ‘recognition’ and rainy-day fans that are the inevitable result of success.

There’s a part of me that would MISS that identification with the plucky little no-account nobody that, against all odds, rises up to just outright b**ch-slap the behemoth “favorite”. There’s a sort of precious satisfaction in witnessing the transparent shock of someone who came into the house thinking they were better than you only to be proven dead wrong.

Maybe I just hate losing the element of surprise. The rewards of success are obviously greater than those of failure, right? Also, it’s likely a bit odd to consider the loss of Underdog status to be anything of a loss at all. Neh, what the hell. I’m odd. I still love to see the “Little Guy” stick it to ‘em.

I can’t help but wonder what the actual players make of the transition from underdogs to favorites. How many of these guys have that defiant spitfire attitude that tends to be strongly motivated by the desire to ‘Prove them wrong’? If it’s a significant shift of perspective from underdog to favorite for your average fan, how then is the shift from a player’s point of view? I wouldn’t know, having consistently played for teams who sucked… That was my agent’s fault, so I fired him.

Still got my poor Lobos!

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and complaints about the lack of the use of the word ‘ferret’ to trav@spinn.net

Trav Flatt


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