Cheering for the Underdog

I had better start this newsletter by telling you that I have not lost my senses. I have been and always will be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and in reality, I don't look very good in brown. However, I realize you may be the kind of person who just loves a feel-good underdog tale. Perhaps there's the chance you may be looking for a new cause, a bold new quest and a "Man of La Mancha" tilting at windmills story. Look no further than the Cleveland Browns.

A little trivia to get the football rolling. The Cleveland Browns do not have a team logo. They have no official animal (yes, I know there's the Dawg Pound) to their name like a Jaguar, Bengal or a Cardinal. There are no industries in their past like my beloved Steelers or the Green Bay Packers. They are the Browns, with colors of (wait for it, wait for it) brown, a bit of orange and white.

This past year the Browns went 0-16. They didn't fall from too lofty a height. In 2016, they were 1-15 and, in 2015, they were 3-13. The last time the Browns had a decent record was in 2007, and before that, 1994. Like an underdog? The Cleveland Browns are your team. Really like an underdog? I already know some things about you.

Why Cheer for the Underdog?
  • People who cheer for the underdog want the world to be a better place. You are the kind of person who strives for justice -- and there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Some psychologists might tell us that we get a certain thrill out of experiencing the misfortune of others. My take is a little different: you are a person who may have known hard times and who understands what life can feel like when you're 0-16.
  • We're told that those who root for underdogs get more joy than most out of unexpected pleasures. In this day and age that's not such a bad thing. We should always appreciate small victories, small pleasures and show gratitude.
  • Well, why shouldn't you? As the New England Patriots head into another Super Bowl, people are just plain bored. Oh, them again, you might say. Why not the Cleveland Browns? It just shows you like variety and like to give everyone a chance.
  • Psychologists tell us when we keep plugging away for the underdog the bragging rights feel so darn good when they're successful.
  • When we pull for a team that's an overwhelming, sure as heck, potential flop, we know they will probably try harder to succeed. The Cleveland Browns won just four games in the past three years, but they were "in" every game they played. Their fans loved them for that.
  • Well, research has shown that the underdog often "gets the girl." Deeper down, it shows us that when we try, really try, that magic can happen. A pretty face, over the long haul, is no match for a beautiful heart.
The Underdog Effect
Life has the ability to throw unexpected curves at us. You don't need me to tell you that. Today's New England Patriots may be tomorrow's Cleveland Browns. An athlete in great health may experience a career-ending injury, a company's "can't miss" business plan may receive an unexpected reversal, a spark may cause a tragic fire, and a rainfall may lead to a devastating flood.

When hard times come, the people who handle them best are those who understand there are no guarantees, no promises and no automatic passes granted to anyone.

I believe in people who have been given a tough diagnosis and a harsh decree. I love people who society has counted down and counted out. I embrace people who start over and who dream big dreams and who never take "no" for an answer -- and so should you.

Look around, my friends. While you probably don't qualify for any coaching positions in the NFL, you can find an important purpose this year. The truth of the matter is that all of us, no matter our age, income, education and physical abilities, can find a way to cheer on an underdog.

You can teach, mentor, volunteer, assist or support those who have lost hope, are "up against it" or are feeling as though no one cares. There is greatness in seeing the underdog overcome the odds, but just as great is the person who says to the underdog, "I believe in you, I will help you, I care."

So good luck in 2018, Cleveland Browns, and good luck to all of you who choose to be in the fight and to lift up others. Whether you are the underdog or cheering for one, remember: achievement is a thousand times sweeter when you're the underdog.




Steve's February 2018 Schedule


Nayarit, MEXICO
Sioux City, IA
Charlotte, NC
New Orleans, LA
Indiana, PA
New York, NY
Tallahassee, FL
Greensboro, NC
Portland, OR