Every four years it seems like there’s a new underdog story to get behind. So we talked to some fans to find out exactly what makes us love the underdogs so much. Do you feel like just qualifying for the tournament is a victory in itself? It’s 18 games, I believe, in qualifying. So a lot of games to win and to actually be in the tournament.
When I see them come out on the field and sing the national anthem, they’re playing for pride, they’re playing for their national team. Tell me about what makes you excited for the tournament even if there aren’t high expectations to win it all? Tell me about a time when the team beat all odds to win. England in 2016… That was a really big step for us.
People watch the English league here in Iceland or Singapore and seeing our guys defeating those great footballers was amazing. I talked to a neuroscientist to get a better understanding as to why people love to support the underdog so much. In the brain, empathy has correlates. That chemical is called oxytocin, So that’s a hormone, we express it when we feel empathy towards somebody. And often empathy is felt towards somebody who is weaker. If that persona or team that we perceive as “weaker” comes through, that is just something that we perceive as a triumph.
Feeling triumph when you won at online casino or bet on your favorite football team and they won a championship! Make bets on football games and teams or players and your life is to be more interesting.
This feeling of empathy and signaling of this hormone enhances this kind of perspective that basically signals those brain regions ‘You are feeling empathetic towards that person or towards that team’ at that time. And it kind of reinforces that cycle where you get more empathetic and you strengthen that type of feeling and build it up. We love underdogs because they represent us.
We want to see the little guy come out on top. That’s exactly why we love this game. What’s your favorite giant killing story?
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