Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Underdog Day – December 16, 2024

Underdog Day is celebrated every third Friday in December and this year the day will be marked on December 16.

Every time there is a tournament or competition of sorts, there can only be one winner. Most of the time, only the victors or ‘top dogs’ are praised and admired. The phrase ‘underdog’ is commonly used in contests and tournaments to describe someone or a team that is not expected to win. Why don’t we designate a day on the calendar to honor the runners-up? The Underdog Day commemorates and honors all the underdogs and second-place finishers. Let us do more to cheer on the unsung heroes — we could just inspire a winning attitude.

History of Underdog Day

Originally underdog referred to a shipbuilder who stood in a dark pit that assisted with the sawing of wood planks working with a type of supervisor sawing the boards from above. The underdog was filthy and covered in sawdust, but the overdog received all the credit for the hard work done. The meaning of the name changed in the second part of the nineteenth century to mean “the beaten dog in a battle.” An underdog bet was a wager on the dog most likely to lose. Underdog Day, founded by Peter Moeller in 1976, is a day to appreciate all of life’s unsung heroes.

From Forrest Gump to the Karate Kid, the underdog figure has grown extremely prominent in mainstream culture. The average Joes and Gabby Douglas are now recognized for flipping the status of the underdog. In fiction, prominent underdog winners include Rocky Balboa and William Wallace in “Braveheart,” despite their films’ very poor or plain improbable narratives, both have become cult classics, demonstrating the underdog character’s standing. Indeed, humanity has always supported the underdog. Perhaps there’s something fundamental to the human experience that makes us all feel like we’re gathering the sawdust of life and we fantasize about one day emerging triumphant from this dirty, splintery mess.

It appears that individuals are more likely to relate with flawed underdogs whose exploits frequently go undetected than with the heroes who are constantly lauded and ridiculed. It’s difficult to relate with immaculate, infallible individuals who always know what they’re doing and never make a mistake, for the simple reason that this isn’t how reality works. Because no one is flawless, seeing others depicted as such might make us detest them. And the fact is that without their modest sidekicks, the underdogs, many of those heroes would not be who they are or would not have achieved what they have. Imagine Sherlock Holmes without his sidekick Dr. Watson. Isn’t it a little bit different?

Underdog Day timeline

The Term Underdog is Coined

The term’s first known use was in the second part of the nineteenth century.

The Underdog Day is Celebrated

Peter Moeller picks this day to appreciate all of life’s unsung heroes.

Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games Miracle

U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey Team of college and minor league players take home the gold medal.

First U.S. Woman Gymnast Gold Medalist

Gabby Douglas’ Olympic debut wins her an individual gold medal in all-around gymnastics.

Underdog Day FAQs

What is underdog known for?

Simply put, an underdog is someone less likely to win a competition than a favorite.

Is underdog an insult?

The name underdog derives from the practice of dog fighting. It was the dog that was clearly at a disadvantage.

Is an underdog always a sportsperson?

No, not always.

Underdog Day Activities

  1. Watch some famous underdog movies

    Gather with friends and watch films featuring notable underdogs. Some good choices include “The Karate Kid,” any of the “Rocky” films, or “Sherlock Holmes.”

  2. Encourage an underdog to keep them going

    Do you know somebody who is an underdog? Encourage them to keep pursuing their goals.

  3. Dress up for a party

    You might even have a fancy dress party in which everyone dresses up as a legendary underdog. You could have one turn up as Batman’s Robin, Sherlock Holmes’s Dr. Watson, Forrest Gump, or Kung Fu Panda.

5 Facts About Underdog Day

  1. Underdogs come in many forms

    Underdogs come in various forms like performers, artists, authors, scientists, and others.

  2. Antonym of underdog

    A top dog is the opposite of an underdog. In gambling, an underdog winning is called an upset.

  3. There is an NBC series

    The “Underdog” series aired by NBC in the 1960s featured a caped superhero.

  4. Many underdogs throughout history

    Several people and countries have been undermined yet rose to make positive differences.

  5. The underdog was named each year

    Peter Moeller would get to name the individual that would be feted as the underdog of the year.

Why We Love Underdog Day

  1. It portrays an unexpected outcome

    It has been shown that humans gain greater pleasure from unexpected events than from predicted outcomes. The success of the underdog results in an unexpected outcome.

  2. It gives us hope

    The effect of seeing the protagonists’ ascension gives us a renewed feeling of optimism. And this isn’t a fad. This emotion lingers with us for several days after it has passed.

  3. It provides justice

    The vast majority of individuals have a strong sense of justice in the world. It makes people happy when the underdog wins because it offers them a feeling of fair play.

Underdog Day dates

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

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.