Aug 23, 2011

On the Winning Side

In movies and daydreams, winning changes everything. But in real life, it's not always so easy to pin down which ending is the happiest, or who deserves the glory. Dan Engber, senior editor for Slate Magazine, tells Producer Soren Wheeler about his self-defeating habit of always rooting for the underdog. Scott Allison and Nadav Goldschmied, who study this very propensity, say that there's such a deeply ingrained, strong bias for the underdog that only one in five people admit to pulling for the top dog. Malcolm Gladwell, one of the rare top-doggers, stands behind siding with the favorites.

Then, Producer Pat Walters ends the show with the ultimate sports story, an against-all-odds tale set in a small town in Alabama where a team of underdogs turned a high school basketball game into a victory that seemed to defy reality. David Smith, who watched the game from the bleachers as a teacher, sets the scene, while head coach Jay Sanders and assistant coach Vic Griggs help fill in the details. And Thomas Lake, who reported the story for Sports Illustrated, introduces us to the two players, Chad Cobb and Robert Collier, who made history. After the rest of their team fouled out, Chad and Robert pulled off an unbelievable finding a way for just two players to beat five rivals. 

The North Jackson Chiefs

Further reading:

Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers: The Story of Success

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