Monday, June 21, 2010

Being the Underdog

If you're even vaguely interested in sport, and maybe even if you're not, it probably won't have escaped your notice that the Football World Cup is currently in full swing in South Africa.

If you live in New Zealand, well you would have to live under the cliched metaphorical rock to have missed it. Every newspaper, TV screen and website is plastered with the exploits of our glorious All Whites.

Why? Because last night our plucky team of amateurs, part timers and all round good guys took on Italy, the team of the smooth, well seasoned and ludicrously paid and drew 1-1.

For those of you in the US I think the comparison would be if a team from Down Under, publicly derided by the media as everything from the "filler inners" to the "no hopers" took on the Red Sox and came out the victors.

It's completely unfathomable.

I've been struggling with my writing lately. To be honest that's probably an understatement. I haven't opened my manuscript in weeks. I've been suffering from my own personal case of "underdogitis" - the one that has slowly been convincing me that, in the midst of a crazy life, continuing to slog away at this writing "thing" tens of thousands of kilometres away from the people who "matter" in publishing makes me a couple of fries short of a Happy Meal.

And then the All Whites show up. The part timers and amateurs. The guys who have slogged it out for five years when no one was watching and very few people even knew they existed, let alone cared. The guys who got up at 5am, when they could have been in bed, and trained anyway.

And, after all that, when they qualified for the World Cup, when you thought they would have finally gotten some respect, they are paraded across the world stage as the team that made up the numbers, the filler inners and the no hopers. In the overpaid star powered world of professional football, there were underdogs, and then there were the All Whites.

And so, on Friday night, during some crazy hour of the morning, this previous non-football fan, along with hundreds of thousands of other NZers, will be hauling herself out of bed to cheer on the team who are showing the world what it means to earn the dream. And who give you hope that maybe yours isn't so impossible either.


  1. Lovely post, Kara. I always cheer for the underdog, so I'll cheer for your writing (and my own). What a lovely lesson to take from NZ's tie with Italy. Our minister is a FIFA fan and used your tie (win)in both the children's story and the sermon yesterday. Congratulations to the All Whites : )

  2. Super blog Kara, may your writing dream come true soon.

    Well done, New Zealand!

    I'm posting photos on this blog on 30th June of South Africa as world cup started. I had such fun taking them as everyone wanted to have their photo taken.

  3. Yeah for the underdogs! Well done All Whites.
    Bafana Bafana, the South African team are also underdogs. We drew our first match 1-1, but lost our second one with a horrible 3-0.
    Tomorrow we'll all be yelling at the TV. We need something crazy like a 6-0 win to qualify for the next round.
    Like Ruth, I intend posting photos on my next blog too. There are so many lessons for us in this World Cup!
    Thank you for sharing yours, Kara.

  4. Please don't shun me for being the only one around who couldn't care less for a ball game, no matter how wide and glorious the international playing field.

    What I do care about, is the 'underdog' - any 'underdog', because I'm a 'puppy underdog' myself. When I grow up I plan to be a fully fledged underdog :)

    So go the All Whites, and Go the Aussies! And go Kara! Make some noise girl, because we're all cheering for you :)

  5. Sorry. I should have clarified "There are so many WRITING lessons for us in this World Cup!" Don't avoid my post when it comes up because you anticipate a sports commentary. I'm not normally a sports fan at all. But this has taught me much about life and much about writing.

  6. 'Underdogitis' must be in the air as my upcoming blog post 'The Bigger Picture' is an attempt to make sense of my seemingly pointless existence...

    As far as the World Cup is concerned, the soap opera off the field is proving vastly more entertaining than many of the matches, with France playing a star role in the drama with one of the team being sent home and the rest of them consequently going on strike in sympathy and refusing to train.

    The latest development is a ludicrous suggestion by the French National Front (aka French Neo-Nazis) that the team's disharmony is because of 'cultural incompatibilities' amongst the team players. (Read between the lines and you get: French football team players should be'Pur Sang' - to quote from Harry Potter - i.e. 'white').

    It's a long time since football was about a bunch of men kicking a ball about a field for a bit of fun.


  7. Loved your post, Kara, and the comments here too!!
    Ann, I have been watching some of the World Cup as able but of course I do have to sleep when the Aussies play. It is sad that so often the sheer "fun" of sport is spoilt by the antics of those involved. Tiger Woods drama - or should that be melodrama? - is another example. Then of course, besides sport, there are the politicans' "fun." Been watching the drama unfolding of our prime minister being challenged by his Labour Party and Australia now having our first ever woman Prime Minister!