Rocky, Rudy, Frodo Baggins, Lennie Small, Lisbeth Salander, Harry Potter, Oliver Twist, and many more…they are the underdogs. We always root for the underdog. The chips are stacked against them and the world mocks them, but we the reader know their struggle. Plot lines in underdog stories usually involve an understanding of the underdog’s shortcomings, initial defeat, growth and gain, followed by a second defeat, contemplation of surrender, and eventual victory. We associate our own shortcomings with that of the hero or heroine and reaffirm our conviction to never give up.
One of the old book’s underdogs was David. David was born a runt, but Samuel anoints him as the next in line as king. Israel is at war with Philistine and the Philistine champion is a giant named Goliath. Goliath taunts and challenges the opposing army, who do not have a champion.
“Choose yourself a man and let him come down to me! If he can fight me and kill me, we will be slaves to you; if I defeat him and kill him, you will be slaves to us and serve us.” (1 Samuel 17:8-9)
David, who is insulted by the challenges, goes to face Goliath with only his staff, slingshot, stones, and faith. As Goliath continues to hurl insults, David responds:
“You come towards me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I come to you with the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the battalions of Israel whom you have insulted. This day God shall deliver you into my hand … and this entire gathering shall know that it is not by a sword or with a spear that God saves…” (1 Samuel 17:47)
David defeats the giant with just his slingshot and goes on to lead the nation as king. We often take from the story that no matter how big the challenge, if we are brave and don’t give up, with faith we will prevail. Who are your favorite underdogs and why? When do you feel like the runt? What stories give you the motivation to prevail? Looking forward to hearing from you!