Spoon – The Underdog

An underdog is a person, politician, team or group in a competition, usually in sports, politics, or creative works, who is popularly expected to lose.

The apparent ineptitude of the underdog leads to people underestimating the underdog’s true abilities, while the underdog is able to win either via luck or hidden wisdom against a more powerful, “establishment” villain.

You got no time for the messenger
Got no regard for the thing that you don’t understand
You got no fear of the underdog
That’s why you will not survive

— The Underdog by Spoon

The biblical story of David and Goliath and the ancient British legends Robin Hood and King Arthur, demonstrate the longevity of the ideal of the underdog becoming victorious. The concept parallels the American dream, where someone who is unestablished, and possibly even poor and/or appearing to be weak and useless can apply hard work and ingenuity to achieve victory or success. Underdogs don’t simply beat the odds, but overcome an injustice or uneven playing field, fighting or exerting against the odds to overcome an opponent’s privilege and power.

Uh-huh, ’cause you don’t talk to the water boy
And there’s so much you could learn but you don’t wanna know
You will not back up an inch ever
That’s why you will not survive

— The Underdog by Spoon

In the case where an underdog wins, the outcome is known as an upset.

The party, team, or individual expected to win is called the favorite or top dog. An “underdog bet” is a bet on the underdog or outsider for which the odds are higher against the underdog winning.