March Madness is here, which means it’s that special time of year when everyone who says they follow NCAA Basketball actually watches the games. This goes for dads, too.
If dads are being honest, they generally follow NCAA Football more than Basketball, at least during the regular season. But March Madness brings everyone together. And no matter where the dad in your life went to school, or who he has on his bracket, there is one team he’s always going to root for: The underdog.
Let’s examine that, shall we?
The NCAA tournament exists as one of the only sporting events where we’re constantly aware of who should win each given game. Think about it. During the Super Bowl, you’re not told that the Patriots (#1 seed) are playing the Eagles (#1 seed, underdog). But in March Madness, you have a handy bracket position right next to the team name for every game. So you’re painfully aware of who should win, according to the faceless brains who decide NCAA brackets. So objectively, you’re aware of who is the “underdog” in each game.
But just because we know who the underdog is doesn’t mean that dads will have to root for them. But they do anyway. And that answer comes from two places. First, unless your dad went to Duke, he’s going to be rooting for, in this order, (A) his alma mater, (B) whoever is playing Duke, and finally, (C) the underdog.
Chances are, his team is not going to win the championship, so statistically he’s going to just want to root for the underdog once his team is eliminated.
But behind all of this lies one basic fact. Even outside of the NCAA, dads love underdogs. Why’s that? Because every great sports movie he’s ever seen is about the underdog. Between Rocky, Rudy, and there’s probably a third movie that begins with “R” that is about an underdog (Cool…Runnings?) most of your dad’s favorite movies are pulling for the little guy. He’s hardwired to want a Cinderella story.
So ultimately, between the likelihood that dad’s team won’t win anyway, and his appreciation for underdog stories, it’s no surprise that dad is going to root for the lower seed to come out on top each time. It’s not like he was planning on winning his work bracket anyway.