10 Classic Kids Underdog Stories

April 17th, 2012 by admin

People have been inspired by underdog stories for generations. We love being immersed in the classic battle between good and evil that is further emphasized by the sheer determination of overcoming insurmountable odds. It’s a good lesson to teach our children that no matter what your circumstances you can achieve great things. That life is seldom fair, but those with ingenuity, effort and heart can sometimes do better than those endowed more favorably. Here are 10 classic underdog stories that will continue to inspire kids for generations to come.

  1. The Tortoise and the Hare – One of the oldest underdog stories known today comes from Aesop’s renowned fable the Tortoise and the Hare. Just about everyone has heard the tale of this classic race where the hare is so overly confident in his ability to win that he decides to take a nap while the tortoise finishes the race as he sleeps.
  2. The Ant and the Grasshopper – Another of Aesop’s well known fables is the Ant and the Grasshopper. The big carefree grasshopper spends his summer singing and playing while the industrious little ant is doggedly preparing for winter. When the weather turns cold and bitter, the tiny ant is prepared to endure the long winter season while the grasshopper is left cold and hungry.
  3. David and Goliath – Even older than Aesop’s fables is the story from the Bible of David and Goliath. David is a young lad armed only with a slingshot who takes on the giant Goliath. Although the giant is armed to the teeth and clad in body armor, the stone from David’s slingshot finds the one unguarded weakness of Goliath and hits him in the temple killing him instantly.
  4. The Little Engine that Could – What child hasn’t heard the story of the Little Engine that Could? While all the other engines gave excuses as to why they couldn’t pull the train over the hill, the littlest engine just kept saying “I think I can, I think I can” until he achieved his goal.
  5. Rocky – More recently movie makers have found new ways to expound on the underdog theme. The Rocky series of films are a classic example of this. The unknown boxer Rocky Balboa takes on the heavyweight champion Apollo Creed and although he loses in the first movie, he does beat him in Rocky II. The rest of the series pits the Italian Stallion against various opponents he must struggle to defeat.
  6. The Karate Kid – Inspired by the success of Rocky, the Karate Kid is another movie series that is based on fighting, though this focuses on a martial arts theme instead of boxing. These movies are motivating to kids because they show that fighting dirty is not only wrong, but may not be successful either.
  7. Star Wars – What kid wasn’t enthralled with the classic underdog story set in outer space? Star Wars pits the mere human Luke Skywalker against the evil Darth Vader and the Death Star. With the help of his alien friends, Luke gains the ingenuity and skill to overcome insurmountable odds.
  8. Forrest Gump – Although he might not be the brightest crayon in the box, Forrest Gump is an inspiration to kids of every age. We all have our personal deficiencies, but can rely on our redeeming qualities to see us through.
  9. Rudy – This is the story of a kid whose ultimate goal is to play football for Notre Dame. Rudy has to overcome the daunting obstacles of his dyslexia and physical size, but manages to win the hearts of those around him to achieve his dreams.
  10. Braveheart – The historical movie about the 13th century Scottish warrior William Wallace doesn’t end well for him, but his bravery and determination live on after his death. Robert the Bruce motivates his army by invoking Wallace’s memory and goes on to win freedom for Scotland.

It’s so important for children to learn that even though life is not always fair, everyone has something to contribute and can achieve greatness with determination and effort. A world where everyone has a guaranteed outcome would be boring and uninspiring. That’s why these underdog stories are so enduringly popular. We all love the idea that anyone can achieve the impossible dream, or at least surpass others expectations.

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