I will never forget this word.
Back in my elementary days, I entered a spelling bee contest at our school. This was the word given to be spelled correctly during the final round. There were only three of us left and I had an opportunity to beat the other two contestants and win the gold medal for our class assuming I get it right and they get it wrong.
As I was starting to write down the correct spelling of the word on a piece of small pen board on my desk, I stopped. I looked straight up at the crowd and I could see my classmates proud of me for making it that far. Pushed with confidence and happiness from seeing their faces, I start to write down the letters slowly:
Hold on a minute! Let's build up the suspense a little bit shall we? Before I reveal to you if I won that contest or not, let me tell you first what inspired me to enter that spelling bee contest in the first place and why I call this my underdog story.
My early days as a kid
Growing up as a kid, I had a unique fascination with words. When I'm at home, one of my hobbies was to go over and open up our old dictionary and look at different words and their meanings. I don't know why I was like that, but I swear I got a kick out of it.
In our school, we are divided into different sections based on our "intellect". Those deemed to be intellectually superior based on their grades the previous year are put into section A. While the rest are assigned in sections B, C, and so on and so forth in no specific order. We had 5 sections all in all and I belonged to section D. In our school if you belong to a section that is not A, you are considered an "average" student.
Every year our school holds a spelling bee contest and every time a winner is announced, it is always from section A. 5 students are to be selected from every section to represent their class for that contest.
My reason to join the contest
I was a rather shy kid in school back then. That kid you see at the back of the class, all silent and minding his own business? Yes, that's a good way to describe me back then. But even though I was shy, I was a competitive kid.
So when my teacher was handpicking students from our class to join the spelling bee, I volunteered myself without hesitation. While my classmates were hesitant to join knowing only the section A students will win it all, I was out on a mission. I wanted to prove something. That even though we're not from section A, anyone has a shot at winning the contest regardless of their grades or "intellect". I got selected and I prepared long and hard in the 3 weeks leading up to the event.
The day of the contest
The contest started out with 25 participants. I remember advancing to the deeper rounds while my classmates didn't survive past the second round. Eventually I and two other students from section A were left to slug it out in the final round. The final round was a do-or-die matter, meaning if you make one wrong spelling of a word, you're out of the game for good. No ifs and buts.
It was a tense and exciting atmosphere, no doubt. We got into a deadlock for about 5 times until the word "Chlorofluorocarbon" was given. I remember hesitating to write down the spelling as I was not familiar with the word. Then after a few seconds or so of thinking, I wrote down:
I spelled it wrong. I didn't know there was supposed to be a letter "U" in it and with that, I lost from the competition and only got 3rd place. My classmates and friends were very supportive of me and they stood up and gave me an applause before I went down the stage. I recall being happy with my result even though I didn't get first place. I was proud that I was able to go toe-to-toe with those students from section A and gave them a run for their money. And I was able to prove a lot of people wrong at school that day that regardless of your grades or "status" or "intellect", if you put your mind and effort into something, you can achieve success.
Seeing my family proud of me when I went home that night clutching the bronze medal in my hand was definitely icing on the cake.
How that experience relates to my time here and my message to others
This life story of mine goes out to all my fellow "minnows" or should I say "underdogs" in this community who are struggling to find their place here or are frustrated with their progress and I hope this will serve as an inspiration to you guys.
I'm a minnow myself and I'm fine with that. I love being an underdog and I don't let my follower count or post payout amount deter me from making a difference here. It doesn't matter if others are more popular or doing better than us. Keep in mind that we are all unique and we all have different strengths or passions so figure out what you can give and contribute to this community and take advantage of that.
I, for example, am not that good when it comes to making blogs but I'm good at making personal relationships with people and making connections so I engage with a lot of people in chat rooms and give comments on people's posts.
Remember that most people here was once a minnow or underdog when they started out. It's what they did along the way that resulted to where they are now. So to all the struggling and frustrated underdogs here, I say just hang in there and keep going and perhaps someday we will be able to stand tall amongst the "giants" or "whales" in this community. And if ever there are times where you're in doubt of yourself, always keep the following quote in mind:
Do you have an underdog story you would like to share with us? Are you fine with being an underdog at some point in your life?
I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
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