National Underdog Day – December 16, 2022

National Underdog Day, which has been celebrated every third Friday in December since 1976, is all about loving and cheering the underdog. This year, it takes place on December 16. An underdog is a person in a competition or an event who is usually expected to lose or fail. On the day of the event, the usual approach of supporting and cheering the winning team is completely abandoned, and the unacknowledged heroes are celebrated. This is important because we let them know we support them and that we have their backs. Let’s do more to cheer the unsung heroes — we might just rouse the spirit of winning.

History of National Underdog Day

Many stories, including core Judio-Christian ones like ‘David and Goliath,’ illustrate how an underdog could actually win a fight with someone they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to beat. This shows that the story of and love for underdogs dates back thousands of years in Western culture. The love for underdogs has so long been ingrained in fables and myths that people always love it when an underdog wins. This tradition was later built on in British legends such as King Authur and Robin Hood.

‘Underdog’ as a word was first used in the 19th century. It was used in the context of building wooden ships. The wooden planks used in making the ships were known as dogs. These wooden dogs were placed over a pit to support wooden planks while they were sawed. One person had to stand and saw on top of the plank while another person had to stand beneath it. The person who stood beneath was termed the underdog and he stood through the heaps of sawdust from the sawing.

This term was then used to refer to unsung heroes, in a broader sense, people who also did the work but were not seen or recognized. The term can be used in various fields, for scientists, runners-up, authors, and generally, people who do not reach top-level success in their various fields. The holiday was invented in the year 1976 by Peter Moeller to celebrate the unsung heroes in sports, movies, and even in real life.

National Underdog Day timeline

1887
19th Century

The first recorded use of the term occurs in the second half of this century.

1972
Sir Richard Branson rises from underdog status

Despite having been diagnosed with dyslexia at age 11 and obtaining low grades, Branson launches Virgin Records and becomes one of the most recognized businessmen in the world

1976
Sylvester Stallone rises to the task

Stallone, from writing the “Rocky” script in days and having to sell his dog for $15 to make ends meet, wins three Oscar nominations and buys back his dog for $15,000.

1997
“Harry Potter” is Published

One of modern times’ most beloved authors, J.K. Rowling, goes from underdog to success when she publishes her first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

National Underdog Day FAQs

Is an underdog a sportsperson?

Not necessarily. Although we have underdogs in sports, the word is also used for unsung heroes in other areas like movies and books.

When is Underdog Day celebrated?

It is celebrated every third Friday in December.

Are underdogs real?

Yes, there are real-life stories of underdogs, but we also have underdogs from movies and books.

National Underdog Day Activities

  1. Encourage an underdog to keep them motivated

    Do you know an underdog? Encourage them to keep pushing. Also, if you feel you’re an underdog, work harder and surpass everyone’s expectations.

  2. Dressing up for the celebration

    Dress up as a famous underdog, like Batman’s Robin. Do something to make yourself feel brave or emulate your hero by dressing like them. Feel like a hero!

  3. Tell your underdog story

    Tell your underdog story and use the hashtag #nationalunderdogday when you post on social media.

5 Facts About Underdogs That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. The initial meaning

    The initial meaning of underdog was “the beaten dog in a fight.”

  2. How Americans refer to underdogs

    The underdog myth is also known as the “Cinderella” story by Americans.

  3. We can describe some athletes as underdogs

    We tend to think more of athletes as underdogs because, in sports, the winner is often clearer, but surprises happen.

  4. Variations of underdogs

    Underdogs can come in different forms; they can be authors, scientists, actors, and more.

  5. History has many underdogs

    Throughout history, different people and countries have been in unfavorable positions but rose up to make a difference, shocking the world in the process.

Why We Love National Underdog Day

  1. It portrays courage

    The underdogs are not afraid of fighting, even if statistics or situations are against them. Celebrating this day makes everyone realize we can be anything and anyone, no matter where we come from.

  2. It reminds us to stay determined

    Underdog Day reminds us to keep pushing in the face of problems. Celebrating this day reminds us that determination can unlock any door.

  3. It teaches us to hope

    Underdog Day reminds us of the value of hope. Life is beautiful when we hope that things can change.

National Underdog Day dates

YearDateDay
2022December 16Friday
2023December 15Friday
2024December 20Friday
2025December 19Friday
2026December 18Friday

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