As a sports fan, and long suffering Buffalo Sabres and Bills fan, I have been known for cheering for the underdog (except the Leafs). There is something about cheering for the underdog that makes you feel good. The fight for the little guy. That Cinderella story of fighting adversity to some sort of triumph. It’s the stuff of movies, or sometimes just good games on TV.
It is why I was really hoping, cheering, for the Morrisburg Junior ‘C’ Lions to make the playoffs this year, which they did. Covering the team at the start of the season, it looked like it was going to be a rough run. Penalty after penalty, when cooler heads did not prevail on the ice. Loss after loss piled up.
By Christmas, things looked bleak. Then something happened. The team started to gel. Fewer penalties; more goals; more wins. Slowly the team crept closer to eighth place, finally holding that spot for a week. Victory for the underdogs.
With wins came community support and more people in the stands. Most importantly, the players on the team knew they could win. No, things are not the same as they were when the club played at Junior ‘B’ level, but there was lots of good hockey on the ice.
The highlight for me though was after the single-game playoff between the Lions and St. Isidore. Morrisburg won and arguably played their best game of the season. The stands were full. There was energy. You could feel it in the arena. The crowd cheered and sent the winning team off the ice with a standing ovation. The underdogs made it to the playoffs.
The Lions were swept in the first round to the league dominating team from Embrun. But the Lions got those four extra games in. More importantly the underdog made it.