I’m kind of a passive basketball fan. I watch college basketball off and on throughout the season but it’s rarely appointment television for me. That all changes during the first two rounds of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament.
During the first two rounds of the tournament, when the field gets trimmed from 64 to 16 teams, I tend to devote some time to viewing the games even when I don’t have a rooting interest.
I believe what makes the first two rounds of the tournament so compelling are the upsets. The David and Goliath mentality comes into play and a team from a school you may have never heard of upsets a name program. I’m going to guess that unless you have a rooting interest you are also hoping to see an upset.
The reason we root for the underdog is because the underdog is viewed as disadvantaged and they arouse our sense of fairness and justice — important principles to most people.
I also think we tend to believe that underdogs put forth more effort than top-dogs. In some cases this may be true, the underdog may have a little extra inspiration but in a lot of cases the ball just bounces their way.
There’s actually research to prove that Americans in particular love an underdog. Most Americans believe that we live in an unequal society and when you’re living in an unequal society, the long shot offers something precious—the belief that anyone can overcome his misfortune. The average American roots for the underdog in sports because he’s believes he’s an underdog in life.
Does the same mindset apply to health care professionals? Are we drawn to what we do because we have an innate desire to help the less fortunate? I don’t know, but what I do know is we have the honor and privilege of helping the underdog achieve miracles every day.