I’ve always considered myself somewhat of an underdog. It’s a mindset that has motivated me throughout life, especially when I look back on my past and see how far I’ve come.
The ironic part about that underdog mentality is that I have no memory of some of my life’s most challenging moments, as they occurred when I was far too young at the time.
Being born at less than two pounds, being in the hospital for over a year, and facing a myriad of complications is a lot for anyone to go through, regardless of the lack of distinct memories attached to these times.
As a three-month premature triplet, many complications followed me – physically and mentally – some of which continue to this day.
I faced setbacks in eating and speech which required countless days of therapy sessions to improve. I didn’t really even eat on my own for the first four or so years of my life.
Fast forward to 2011, and a surgery that was more or less a result of many of these proceeding challenges kept me in the ICU for a full week.
I had a 10% chance to survive this, and thankfully, I ended up OK.
Long story short, I’ve been through a lot, and I say this not for sympathy, but to truly inspire others. I admire the underdog status and I hope for anyone and everyone to reach their highest potential as a person.
But after all, this is a platform devoted to the best underdog stories in sports– and sports have been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember.
Since elementary school, I’ve been a fanatic about my favorite teams. I recall writing an “essay” in 3rd grade, spanning over ten pages on the history of the NBA.
Through high school, and later throughout college, I transferred my love of sports into writing about sports. I became actively involved in several online sports publications, including serving as a writer and editor for my college’s weekly newspaper.
Seeing my name published, whether it be in print or online, was always awesome to see. To this day, it makes me smile seeing my name on a byline.
When I graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Media & Communication degree in 2019, I was fortunate enough to land a job at the New York Post in their sports department. For a sports-obsessed person like myself, this was a dream come true.
Aside from my passion for the sports media landscape, I’ve dipped my toes into an array of on-field athletics as well. From playing on my high school’s freshman basketball squad – where I scored a grand total of two points all season – to competing in college intramural basketball, I certainly never was even close to the best player on the floor.
But I always enjoyed the camaraderie with friends and teammates, and to me, that was mostly enough for relatively low-stakes competition.
I’d be remiss to leave out my underdog mentality from my time as an athlete too though. That 2011 surgery which I almost didn’t come back from? Less than a year later, I was running track for my high school’s varsity team.
Once again, I was far from the most talented on the team. Yet at the end of that spring, I was awarded the team’s annual “Hard Work = Success” award.
Even almost 10 years later, I often look up at that trophy on my desk shelf to remind me of how far I have come, and how far I still have to go. It serves as a sort of motivation on the days I feel stuck.
When I think back on my 24+ years of life, I understand that I have gone through a lot of ordeals and continue to face obstacles each day. Yet when I look ahead, I retain a great sense of hope for what is to come.
As an aspiring sports media professional, but even more so, as an aspiring positive change-maker in the world, I aim to combine these two passions of mine to make a difference for the greater good.
My underdog story has had many chapters thus far. I hope that my ongoing journey can serve as an inspiration to others, and if I can create some positive light in the world, I know that I can feel a true sense of accomplishment.
Editor’s note: I’d like to give a warm welcome to our newest contributor, Alex Horowitz, who is as passionate about underdog stories as I am. Stay tuned for more content coming your way. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter!