It is well-documented that I love a good underdog story. I bawl my eyes out when Rudy finally takes the field. I get choked up when Jimmy Chitwood steps up at the town meeting in "Hoosiers". The Miracle on Ice. David vs. Goliath. The Spartan stand. Rocky. The Bad News Bears.
My undying loyalty for the Duke Blue Devils is my only real trek into the world of the perennial powerhouse lifestyle, but my lifelong love of the Chicago Cubs surely balances that out 10 times over.
Lately, my attention's been caught by a local underdog story... the Texas Rangers. Over the last eleven years, I have worked just across the freeway from the Ballpark. I've gone to (and thoroughly enjoyed) a few games. I've cheered when they won, and I paid little attention when they fell apart. I heard tell that this was the norm. Continually overshadowed by Mark Cuban's antics, the Stars, and the House that Jerry Built (literally overshadowed now), the Rangers are rarely ever the top story in a sports broadcast. Until now.
With a blue-collar work ethic and drive, team effort, and some additional spark in the pitching rotation, the Rangers have done the previously unthinkable -- won a division series and have now won a post-season home game. Although I am excited for the team and for our city, it is my friends I am most excited for. Every spring, I am subjected to endless conversations about trades and lineups and schedules. I am in the midst of the purest form of anticipation -- like Christmas morning -- but inevitably, by the beginning of the next school year, sadness has set in and made its home in the hearts of people I adore. I have to admit, it was nice to see them finally smile in September.
I, by no means, consider myself a true Rangers fan because if there's anything I detest, it's a Johnny-come-lately who jumps on just as the ride gets good. Yet I've found myself pulling for this hometown team not for myself but rather for my hometown friends. So it is for them that I have cheered and cussed and cried and shouted. For all those who loved something or someone, even through the darkest of days, I cheer for you.
So, come Monday, when the Rangers step up to the plate in the House the Babe Built, I will throw on my Rangers Red, stand up for the national anthem, and flip the bird at the t.v. screen.
Because if there's anyone that any true Underdog hates, it's the mother effin' Yankees.