The Year of the Underdog?

I hope this year’s Final Four is a sign of things to come for all my fellow warriors that are undersized, out-manned, or “too young” to make it.

Here’s a quick recap:

In their own brackets, VCU was the #11 seed (had to play an extra game to even get in), Butler was #8, Kentucky was #4, and Connecticut was #3, effectively making them tied for the #41, #33, #17, and #13 seeds overall.  Everyone is wondering where all the heavy favorites went…

Let’s talk about the underdogs!

Looking for the classic underdog story? Look no further than Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  In order to make it to the Final Four they had to play an extra game against USC and then win four games against higher rated opponents (#6, #3, #10, and #1).

On top of that, they lack an experienced “battle hardened” leader. Their coach, Shaka Smart, is the 2nd youngest coach in the NCAA tournament at 33 years old.

Butler has the 3rd youngest coach in the tournament (Brad Stevens is 34 years old) and had to beat #1, #2 and #4 in their bracket.  Talk about uphill battles!

In the business world I like being the underdog.  That’s how I know I’m pushing myself hard enough.  I like being the youngest guy in the room, competing against the biggest companies, fighting to win battles no one picks me to win.

I absolutely love it.

Sometimes I get crushed, but sometimes I get to feel like Butler right now in the championship.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what’s the secret behind this 33 year old VCU coach from Oregon, WI?  Here’s what he had to say to his team and I think we can all take away something from it:

  • [Optimism] “The teams advancing, they don’t look at the glass half empty. They don’t look at the roadblocks in the way.”
  • [Excuses] “Concerns send you home. Excuses send you home.”
  • [Positive Outlook] “Make no mistake about it, our guys believe we can win. I know we can win.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be cheering for the underdogs to win it all this year.

Let’s make 2011 the “Year of the Underdog!”

Have a great night,