[Kamikaze] Year of the Underdog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Kamikaze] Year of the Underdog

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Brad Franklin

I'm drawn to stories of the underdog—the little guy or gal triumphant against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Of course, I was interested (as most of us were) in the saga of Tim Tebow this past football season. You either liked him or you hated him, but either way, he sparked passions in football fans everywhere.

Even the non-conventional fan couldn't get enough of the week-to-week melodrama that was Tebow. Here's a guy who, despite conventional football wisdom, despite seemingly "bad mechanics," was able to win football games. Each week was supposed to be the week that "Tebowmania" ended, but no one sent Tim the memo.

Or maybe you're more familiar with Jeremy Lin, the Asian American basketball player from Harvard. Two NBA teams cut Lin this year, and he languished at the end of the New York Knicks bench. Word is, he was about to be cut again until two Knick starters got hurt and he was forced into action.

Four games and a scoring record in tow, Lin is poised to start for the wayward Knicks squad, and folks are again wondering when the "magic" will wear off. No Harvard-educated Asian who sleeps on his brother's couch is supposed to be any good at basketball, right?

This past Sunday, singer Adele grabbed six Grammy Awards. Thing is, she did it with just her voice and her powerful words. No dancing, no fluff, no size-4 body in a tight suit—just singing. For all intents and purposes, Adele shouldn't be so successful in this day of Auto-tune, lip syncing and cookie-cutter pop tunes.

All that kind of reminds me of Jackson. In this very city there are several Tim Tebows and Jeremy Lins languishing on the proverbial "bench" waiting for an opportunity to contribute to this city, asking for their number to be called. But the pundits overlook them. They don't have the right pedigree, belong to the right clique or have the right amount of money.

These underdogs defy conventional wisdom but can be useful, I'm sure, if our city's "coaches" and "general managers" start thinking outside of the box. Hell, Jackson is an underdog itself and, though our naysayers have counted us out, we continue to fight, we live another day, and we fight some more.

2012 is the year of the underdog, the year we can make the impossible plausible. It's the year we tell all these folks what they can do with their stats and figures.

Remember, it was some producer somewhere that took one look at Adele and said, "You can never be a star."

Sunday night, that guy was somewhere kicking himself in his own arse for making that mistake.

And that's the truth ... shonuff. 

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