Being that I only marginally care about college sports, and even then, pretty much only barely follow Arkansas Razorback football, I didn’t really have a dog in the big NCAA championship fight. I thought the Butler bulldog was a pretty cute pooch, and I remember participating in some nerdy Talent Identification Program with Duke that had me take the ACT test in Jr. High, so I really could have gone either way on last night’s game.
And then I hopped on Twitter and noticed that apparently the only correct team to root for was Butler. Because “America loves the little guy,” and “everyone loves an underdog.” Seriously, Internet, it’s apparently un-American to like Duke. This morning the Twitters were filled with tweets lamenting that big bad Duke had won and made America cry. I had no idea. In fact, I had no idea that America really loves a little guy.
Take for example major league baseball. 99% of the people you meet are Red Sox or Yankees or Cubs fans. Sure, the Cubs seem to have a knack for losing sometimes, but all of those teams are huge organizations with mondo payrolls. I should know, I’m married to a Denver native who loves his Rockies and has been known to deliver a monologue or twelve on the subject of big teams who “buy their pennants.” If you ask him, and really, if you look at baseball, you have to wonder if America really does love an underdog.
I think the rooting for the little guy, the favoring of David over Goliath, is just a nice story we tell ourselves, even as we shop at big corporations who drive little guys out of business every day. It’s a nice story we tell ourselves even as we want our nation to be the sole world superpower, dominating global affairs. If America really loved the little guy, WalMart would go out of business.
“America loves the little guy” is just a nice piece of national mythology we use to make ourselves feel good, like we still believe anyone could make it, even as we turn a blind eye to systematic practices which keep little guys down each and every day.