NATIONAL UNDERDOG DAY – Third Friday in December

National Underdog Day | Third Friday in December
(Last Updated On: January 5, 2023)


National Underdog Day recognizes that America loves its underdogs. Each year on the third Friday in December, we cheer on the teams and individuals who are statistically expected to lose in competition.


In sporting events, people tend to rally around the person or team that is not favored to win.  An underdog is a person or team in competition most likely expected to lose. This expectation can be based on statistical data, opinion or overall standings. When the underdog wins, we call it an upset.  

The first recorded uses of the term occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century; its initial meaning was “the beaten dog in a fight.”

Also known as a Cinderella story, the underdog has long piqued Americans’ interest.  Whether in a sporting event, business, education or arts, when success is a long shot and a struggle as well, Americans root and cheer for the underdog. 

We also love books and movies about the underdog. The Rocky film franchise tells of an underdog that the crowd quickly wants to see win. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger became a real-life underdog when he walked on to the University of Notre Dame football field in 1974. 

Not all underdogs are athletes, though. Some come in the form of scientists or authors. Or, calculus students as portrayed in the movie Stand and Deliver. One of the modern time’s most beloved authors went from underdog to success as if by magic. Before receiving a nod from Bloombury to publish her first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling was a broke, single mom. 


Underdogs inspire us. They remind us of our potential. They motivate us to get out there and make a difference in our life and the lives of others. Tell your underdog story. Use #NationalUnderdogDay to post on social media.


National Underdog Day was first observed in 1976.

16 December 2022
15 December 2023
20 December 2024
19 December 2025
18 December 2026
17 December 2027
15 December 2028
21 December 2029

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