Written by Eric Plaut

“An underdog is in a position to take a healthy bite”
—Ted Seabrooke, Phillips Exeter Academy wrestling coach
The late Ted Seabrooke seemed to have an answer for everything.  As a former coach at this prestigious New Hampshire academy, his wrestlers tended to discuss everything under the sun with him. Whether good or bad, Ted would manage to say something positive to the boys including his above quote on underdogs. One of his protégés was John Irving, the future author of The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules. (Irving’s stepfather Colin taught history at Exeter. John writes about his two passions—wrestling and writing—in his autobiography The Imaginary Girlfriend; Ted’s quote on underdogs is in this book.)
An underdog tends to face difficulty at times. Only he or she knows they can see what they're capable of—win or lose. Though it’s not their intention to buck the system, one tries to swim against the tide to see what they’re made of. Sometimes it’s the only way. The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines an underdog as either a "loser or predicted loser in a struggle or contest" as well as a "victim of injustice or persecution". Its origin dates back to 1887 (page 1363).
So let's dissect the word UNDERDOG. Breaking the word in two, let's start with the word UNDER. Under tends to be below something. Like what for instance?  In this case, it’s possibly below—or under—one’s expectations of somebody else. Under can also be part of mis-UNDER-stood when one is a then-unknown at the time. Also, one may not be willing to give them a chance.
And now for the word that's synonymous with "man's best friend": DOG. A dog is a very loving and noble animal. Our canine colleagues tend to be unbiased yet they possess many human emotions. Since being domesticated around the Fertile Crescent in Neolithic times, dogs and people have relied on one another for centuries. Its most obvious reason is companionship. Dogs of all breeds—from German shepherds and Siberian huskies to pugs and beagles—have dominated paintings, books, television and film. Where would we be without those framed poker-playing pooches or dogs written within classic literature? We tend to tune in to dogs like Rin-Tin-Tin, Snoopy, Lassie, Toto and Ribsy to make our books and life more interesting!!!
Underdogs tend to make life a lot more interesting for us, too. Believe me—this is NOT a Hollywood concept. Long before film became an art medium, adversity and struggle have been two things we face on a regular basis. Sometimes life can throw us a nasty curveball. But the higher you go, the more difficult life gets. Many underdogs refuse to run from their troubles. They know that they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Underdogs just keep swinging at those curveballs, knowing that one of them might get hit over the backyard fence.
Now back to Hollywood. There is a long list of films that tend to be about underdogs. This concept most notably applies to sports from Rudy and Hoosiers to The Rookie, Rocky and Miracle. My friend Mitch can attest to that! But there are forums other than the football field or the baseball diamond or the hockey rink where people tend to have the odds stacked against them. Other so-called “arenas” have included a job-search, the courtroom or even one’s health!
In some instances though, the underdog doesn't win. But he or she usually gains the respect and admiration of others due to their effort. Just ask anybody who’s watched the Division I Men's Basketball tournament over the last decade. Spectators tend to look for underdogs like the Memphis Tigers and the Butler Bulldogs to be the spoiler and win it all—both teams each earned second place twice in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Finals. Some may want to start watching Men’s D-I hockey instead. Within the last five years, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, Yale Bulldogs, Union Dutchmen and Providence Friars each won their first championship! (Boston College won its fifth title in 2012.)
The job market can be a feat itself—not just for an underdog. There is usually one opening yet many applicants.  I wish that I had the secret formula to land the right job or even get a foot in the door. I don’t. People get stoked when someone in their intended field will take the time to talk to them. Another option would be to talk with a career counselor, one who can understand what you’re going through and where your interests and studies are. Even better—make certain to have a strong support group of family and friends to get you through this trying time.
Every little bit helps. Also, during this instance, take time for yourself. There are volunteer programs around your area. Service organizations, churches and schools always tend to look for a few good volunteers. I myself have been thinking about volunteering at the Humane Society and walking dogs. So for all you underdogs out there, keep trying to look for that dream job and volunteer and continue to help others out there—and for all of your efforts, go and take that bow.
Hang in there, people!  A job tends to wait all of us out there. Take time for yourself, yet go and talk to a career counselor when you need to. Also, volunteering makes a big difference whether through a service club, church or your kid’s school.  It beats sitting in front of a computer or television. So shut off the electronic devices—especially after nine P.M.—and make certain to ask a career counselor for help on the job search.
Best of luck on the job search.  Just remember to root for a few underdogs though only help out when you’re asked to. Also, neither Consciousness Magazine nor I will take any responsibility with another person’s job search. Please talk with a licensed professional on your career search and/or when you have any questions. Thank you.


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