The author at Book & Bar, Portsmouth, N.H.
Mankind has a natural affinity for the underdog.
Endorsing dark horses is a humanistic trait, dating as far back as, and certainly beyond, the biblical showdown of David vs. Goliath.
It’s a psychological phenomenon that, according to research, helps explain the likes of the nation’s unbounded enthusiasm for March Madness, the worldwide popularity of Harry Potter, the meteoric rise of presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and the surge of farmstand shopping over corporate supermarkets.
I would argue that the underdog role is one that can also be portrayed by locations, and that urban centers, for example, boast similar characteristics as those aforementioned. The Harvard Business Review described this twofold effect as having “a disadvantaged position… and a passion and determination to triumph against the odds.”
In that regard, Portsmouth, N.H. is the Northeast’s underdog city.
Mayor Marty Walsh (left) and the author
I consider myself a decent judge of character.
For better or for worse, I’m often able to discern what certain people’s strengths and weaknesses are, how to read their expressions and body language, why they act certain ways in certain situations, and even sometimes their thought process in particular scenarios.
In 2013 I employed this capability to the race to succeed Mayor Tom Menino who had announced in March of that year that he would not seek to prolong his tenure as the longest serving mayor in the history of Boston. Leveraging my then-embryonic role as a news writer covering my first election of any kind, I was able to compile an informative foundation upon which I built my unprejudiced rationale for my candidate of choice.
I’ll freely admit that I cast my ballot for the incumbent Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh.
One week removed from the 2016 Massachusetts primary, I regret it wholeheartedly.