“The underdog often starts the fight, and occasionally the upper dog deserves to win.”~ E.W. Howe
I was pondering last night that there are a lot of situations in life that there is an underdog.
In my first year of college, the group of friends that I made there was no exception.
There was one who was kind of an underdog. I’ll refer to him as “Brian”.
Brian was actually the stereotypical shy guy. But he was also one of the nicest people on the planet.
During the times when we were not in class we would hang out a lot. We’d play cards, eat in the cafeteria together and so on. Eventually getting to know him was quite interesting.
He was the kind of person that would give you, not only the shirt off his back, but his pants as well. He and I took several road trips and logged in lots of miles on his own vehicle. And he never once expected or asked for gas money. Even though at times, I would give him some.
Like many young men starting their college career, it would be kind of a culture shock. We all were away from home, in a world where we made our own rules, and had nobody there to tell us what to do. His life up to that point was kind of structured in that manner. But now that he was in college, all bets and rules were off.
Brian and I eventually developed in our friendship to the point where we were there for each other. When one of us would either be homesick or have some kind of problems, we would listen to one another. Especially him. He was always willing to stop whatever it was he was doing to listen.
The group of friends would eventually come up with our own code, our own language. It was our way of being able to talk about certain things and certain people without anyone knowing about it. It got to the point where Brian would always talk about how much he had a crush on a girl who was in a lot of his classes.
But because of his shyness, he just didn’t have it within him to tell her that he liked her. He wanted to ask her out on a date but was too shy and too scared.
The code and language that we developed actually sounded like a foreign language. We probably would have made really good spies. Brian would eventually talk in that way all of the time.
The girl that he had a crush on was tiny redhead with deep dark blue eyes and very pale white skin. And because of those physical characteristics (red hair, white skin, blue eyes), we would begin to refer to her as The Patriot.
But even those characteristics of her would have certain code words. Her eyes were deep blue, so they were called “sapphires”. Green eyes were “emeralds”, and so on.
Brian eventually began to talk to the girl more and more. He would be that friendly smile and that openness would allow them to begin a wonderful friendship. But he just couldn’t bring himself to tell her just how much he liked her.
The Patriot would eventually come up for Homecoming Queen. I don’t remember anymore for sure, but I do not think that she won the title. And Brian was heartbroken that she didn’t win.
He stood by her side in all things, even in her shadow. This secret devotion that he had would only come out when he would speak in the code.
Towards the end of the school year, we all got together and we started to talk about what each of us was going to do in the next year. Some were going to transfer to other colleges, others were going to return for a second year.
Brian was coming back for a second year to earn his Associate’s Degree. But The Patriot was about to transfer to a state school to continue on in her education to enter a program that was going to take her six or seven years to earn her degree. I didn’t know it yet, but I would not return for a second year.
The end of the school year was coming near and Brian was actually running out of time if he had any chance at talking to The Patriot about how he was feeling.
Brian would end up having a conversation outside of her dormitory and he said to her, “I appreciate all of the times that you have smiled and made my life worth living. You are a terrific person. And pretty too. I could swim forever within your sapphires.”
The Patriot was totally confused. Brian would tell us that she smiled when he said that to her, but he just didn’t have enough within him to come out with the truth of his feelings. And it was something that he said to at least throw the hook into the water to see if she would bite.
Brian and The Patriot were such good friends by that time, that they traded phone numbers and addresses and became penpals over the summer.
The Patriot did go off to the state school and Brian returned. But they kept in touch. Brian never once used her phone number but never called. Instead, he wrote her.
As the next school year was in full swing, I would go back to the college to visit for a couple of days. Brian and the rest of the group of friends were so elated to see me again.
He still was talking about her as he always had. His crush never faded away even though she was gone. His one and only hope and connection was to write her while she was away at another college.
It just so happened that Brian admitted to me that he wrote her a very long letter and explained his feelings for her in a way that he knew that she would understand. And took that opportunity to ask her out on a date if she were to ever to be near.
That second day of me hanging out with the guys at the college dorm, he would receive a letter from The Patriot.
Nobody was really paying attention because it was common for her to write. But soon everyone was paying attention was Brian exclaimed “Damn! Damn!”.
Brian was a deeply religious person. He didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, or even use profanity. We knew that from the obscenities coming from him that was something was horribly wrong.
Brian would eventually lock himself in the bathroom for twenty minutes. It was there that everyone heard him weeping.
When he emerged, he explained that The Patriot had turned him down. She had given him the “just friends” bit.
Women today are still notorious for that kind of crap. But for Brian, having never gone through a crush and then rejection before, his world was destroyed. He said that it would have gone over so much better if she had simply told him that she wasn’t interested or just a no.
Brian and I would fade in and out of communication. But I always knew that I could call his parents to see where he was at. The bonding friendship even had grown so much that I was seemingly “adopted” by his own mother as she would kiss me on my head when she saw me.
Several years later I would still contact his mother to find out where he was at. He now is probably the happiest in life that he has ever been. He is now married to an incredibly gorgeous woman and has a son. Nobody really thought that Brian would come out to be the winner because he was so much of the underdog based on his shyness. And then it turned out that he would have the most beautiful spouse out of any of us guys who were in the group of friends.
Cheering for the underdog is not a bad thing. We all know that often times the underdog will win. And in this case, the underdog won BIG!!
My point here is never assume that you should count out the underdog. They do rise to the top from time to time. For Brian being the underdog, he went through hell and back. And then he won in the end and still is riding high.