Underdog: A competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or a contest. Also long shot, dark horse, a person who has little status in society.

I was working a camp last week and many of the young counselors were debating which was the greater story — the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Golden State Warriors and ending their 52-year title drought, or the incredible story of Leicester City finishing in the 14th spot a year ago and running the table this year to win the English Premier League title.


It's a tough call.

The Cavaliers not only were the long shot to come from behind down 3-1 in the NBA Finals, but nobody in the history of the game had accomplished that feat. They faced the reigning league MVP and winningest team in regular season history, yet Lebron James and his boys never gave up. They brought the game to the Warriors and delivered that promised, yet elusive, title to his hometown Cleveland fans.

Cleveland fans have suffered through many sports failures in those 52 years. Earnest Byner's fumble and John Elway leading his team 99 yards for the winning touchdown in what has affectionately come to be known as "The Fumble" and "The Drive." Jose Mesa, in the prime of his career, blowing a rare save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series that the Indians eventually lost 3-2 to the Florida Marlins. And, of course, losing their beloved Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

But to understand the significance of the Leicester City title championship, you would need a little history on the teams that have been successful enough to win the EPL. Since its inception only five teams — Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and the Blackburn Rovers — have hoisted the cup, and now you can add Leicester City to that impressive list. Each of the previous winners had never finished any lower than third in the season preceding their title runs, yet Leicester sat at 14th position, just a few spots away from relegation.

The odds of Leicester City winning the Premiership title were 5,000-to-1 at the beginning of the season. Compare that to the 1969 Miracle Mets who had 100-1 odds to win the World Series, Buster Douglas was only a 42-1 underdog to beat Mike Tyson, and bookies thought that even Simon Cowell of "American Idol" fame stood a better chance of becoming the next prime minister of England at 500-1 odds than Leicester winning the title.

More underdogs showed their mettle last week in the European Cup. In a shocking 2-1 defeat of England, the Iceland national team moved on to a date with host France in the quarterfinals. The fact that they beat England with their $5 million manager and roster of EPL superstars paled in comparison to the number of players they had to select from. In a country with a population of 332,000 people (4 percent of the size of London) with 22,000 registered soccer players (less than the state of Rhode Island) including female and youth players, they were able to come up with a 22-man mix that has become giant killers.

The other country to earn its first-ever knockout-stage game in Euro 2016 was Wales, which defeated Northern Ireland 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. They took a step closer to the finals with an incredible 3-1 defeat of the currently ranked No. 2 team in the world in Belgium to punch their ticket to a date with Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese teammates. The Welsh defeated the European powerhouse on goals from three different players — none of them named Garreth Bale — after trailing in the game 1-0.

Sports can mirror life so closely sometimes. The favorite doesn't always win the title. The "best" team doesn't always hoist the cup. The team that dominates the game doesn't always walk off the field a victor. Life can be that way; sometimes it's not fair. You do things the right way and someone else gets the breaks. Or is that we all get the breaks, it's just the ones that take advantage of the breaks when faced with them who become the most successful?

In televised sports, it's easy to rewind and see where the mistakes occurred and try to make corrections for the next game. You can examine where the breaks were made and where they were missed. In life, as hard as we may try, sometimes we can't look back and figure out just what went wrong. But we can keep our eyes open and look for the next break that comes along.

The Rev. Donn Moomaw, a former football player at UCLA and current Presbyterian minister, once said, "Our mistakes don't make or break us — if we're lucky, they simply reveal who we really are, what we're really made of."

This month, the underdogs of sport have shown us what they're made of.