An underdog story


The protagonist is warming up in the back. Short of stature and of medium build. Think Little Mac with a tan. His face is pale and sweaty. He says to his coach “Do you think I can win?”

“Champ, Champ, what aspects of your opponent’s game are you worried about?” A reporter asks while the champ is getting his hands wrapped. The champ looks like the love child of Sagat and the Incredible Hulk. He just laughs as his 40-0 record pops up on the screen.

The camera cuts back to the hero slowly walking down the ramp with a generic hip hop sound laden with extra bass roars in the background that somehow seamlessly transitions into  Prince’s When Doves Cry. Cut to a montage of the hero taking classes and training. A shot pops up with his single mom in the hospital with multiple IV drips and the Doctor saying she needs surgery but it costs some exorbitant amount due to the poor insurance. The next shot is of him in the Financial aid office and him looking at a check that is only half of the amount promised.  Then we see the hero calling someone on the phone with someone but he hangs up angrily. Dejected, he goes to the coach and tells him to sign him up. The coach tells him that it’s a long shot and that his mom won’t be happy. Cue scenes of various fights where the hero is getting worked but miraculously his hand keeps getting raised.

Beat morphs back into the walkout song. The Champ walks in the ring and the hero whispers to the coach  “What if I go down?”

“Then go down swinging.”  

Growing up I always loved a good underdog story. Something about the whole David and Goliath trope, facing insurmountable odds, just amped me up. I guess because I was always the runt of the litter surrounded by athletes and toughs that I just naturally fell in line with the underdog. The one that was ignored but refused to quit.

In my world, I frequently meet underdogs. People who have been told they will never be able to do something again. They usually have multiple comorbidities and after the evaluation sometimes I just look down at my notes and think “Aw smurf this ain’t gonna be good.”

I had the opportunity last year to work with another client who had so much going on medically that the thought of just being able to walk on the beach with their spouse did not seem like an achievable goal. The thing was this patient during the evaluation said that they had goals and a marriage to keep. The client said that they knew it was going to be hard and painful but they weren’t giving up easily. 

This client was a rockstar. If I said 10 reps they did 12. There were hiccups where they had to go to the hospital for a few days due to medical issues. Each time they came back, they came back hard. Their level of enthusiasm and dogged persistence motivated me to push forward even when it looked like Fearless was going down. It took a while but eventually, they got to the point where they were able to walk on the beach and go out on outings with their spouse. They even signed up to join a gym. I asked them how they were able to push through.  It was simple: the fight in them was bigger than the fight they were up against.


The fight is furious with a drumbeat that punctuates every hit. The hero is dropped twice in quick succession.  In slow-mo, as he hits the ground another quick montage hits of those closest to the hero telling him he is crazy or how he is going to end up beside his mom in the hospital. The champ goes in for the finish and one last flashback of the mysterious phone call and we finally hear the other end of the conversation. The person on the other end says they can’t help but if the hero just keeps pressing something good will come.  The hero awakens and 

With all his might flies up and connects with a thunderous punch to the jaw of the champ. The champs’ eyes roll-up. Fade to black cue theme song.


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