When you think about it, we're all born an underdog. We enter this world with no skills, prospects, luck, or abilities. It's all up to us, the individual, to make it happen. There's some truth that who you know in this world can make a difference. But for my money, I much prefer seeing someone who's disadvantaged, struggling, underprivileged, or even poor setting life's goals then finding a way to make his/her life a huge success.

As some may realize, I live in Dallas and am a proud Texas native. So naturally, when fall rolls around I tend to glue my attention inside the TV set on Sunday afternoons in order to watch my beloved Dallas Cowboys. I know, they haven't exactly torn up the playoffs in over a decade and have had many organizational issues, but they're still my team and will be forever. This past Sunday's game against the 49ers increased my hope of Super Bowl contention while watching the next to last play giving them their first victory of the season. It also showed the appearance of a come-from-nowhere upcoming athlete. Out of thin air, and in the blink of an eye, his name was suddenly plastered over every sports wire involved in football.

Jesse Holley's professional football career began with the Cincinnati Bengals while being cut after a long training camp. After that, he played in Canada for the "BC Lions" and was dismissed there as well following their first preseason game. Originally from North Carolina, he then filled his days as a security guard and cell phone salesman before entering former Cowboys player, Michael Irvin's reality TV competition "Fourth and Long" where he came out on top. As the winner, the Cowboys agreed to place him on their roster and give him his shot at the big time. He had minor success during the preseason, until Sunday's game, when he caught several passes including the 77-yarder which set up the game-winning field goal. Prior to that, team quarterback, Tony Romo was seen grabbing Holley's shoulders on the sidelines, looking him in the eyes, and encouraging his confidence that this was his time to finally shine. I watched as Romo's words obviously took their effect, uplifting his playing performance like never before. Afterwards, an underdog had proven himself, when all odds had been stacked against him during many difficult periods of trial and error.

I love it when stories like this unfold, giving us all hope and faith that our best days are ahead of us no matter our age or circumstances. And in this economy where our futures are very uncertain, a little inspirational encouragement never hurts anyone.

There are many times when we realize that something better is just around the corner. It all depends on how much we want it, our willingness to seek out and recognize new opportunities, and how open we are to change. Of course, change is one of the hardest things in life to do.

One of my favorite movies is, "Invincible" starring Mark Wahlberg who plays the leading role as Philadelphia Eagle, Vince Papale. Papale was a thirty-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who grew up playing high school football and idolized the Eagles. In 1976, after playing semi-pro and gaining an invitation to a private workout under the direction of new head coach, Dick Vermeil, Papale was drafted to play for the team of his dreams. The movie, which was a loosely fictionalized accounting of these events, supported a terrific storyline touching on many heartfelt emotions. It showed a down-on-his-luck aging athlete who felt as though attaining his goals had come and gone. Due to the encouragement of everyone around him, and against incredible odds, Papale wiped away his pent-up barriers and went for his final shot at getting noticed. Much to his surprise, his performance on the field shocked even the harshest of critics. He was a severe underdog, but showed what true heart, grit, and raw determination can do when given the chance. Papale played for several seasons before injury forced his retirement, becoming one of the most beloved Philadelphia Eagles of all time. His merits on the football field were a huge example of how success can come when least expected; and how an ability to face down opponents can serve to protect you when going for things which matter the most.

Do you ever feel like an underdog, always having to struggle and trying harder than most to attain even one of your goals? The secret, in my humble opinion, is to never give up.

When I first started writing, Sons In The Clouds the publishing industry was in the middle of changing, and not for the better. Traditional publishing houses, as many of us who are writers know, have severely tightened their purse strings and are sticking mainly with their tried-and-true well-known authors. So, unless you're a Danielle Steele or David Baldacci with millions of book sales under your belt, a new writer like myself has realized there's a bricked-up wall blocking our work from getting inside the golden front doors of New York's literary walls of fame. I'm definitely an underdog, however, where there is adversity there is opportunity as seen by the success of so many who've placed there efforts online as e-books and paperbacks, with many creating and enjoying greater sales and royalties.

Most of us have seen the wildly popular TV competition, American Idol. During one of its seasons, I was skimming through the channels when I stumbled upon a particular casting episode. Although thousands could be seen stepping up to the chalky-white line for their chance at stardom, what caught my attention was the real-life drama that went on behind the scenes before, and during the auditions. They came from everywhere and from many different backgrounds. Some were well manicured, coached, and rehearsed. Others had hitchhiked in order to arrive for their big chance. The drama even uncovered the fact that many were homeless, and looked at this as a way to gain their next meal; shining examples of underdogs struggling for success.

What made me smile halfway through the auditions was a young man who sang the best, moved the easiest, and had the best chemistry with the casting crew. He knew that this was a long shot, but didn't show the pressures of the moment. He gave it all he had, and left others in the dust, when hours before some were mocking his appearance and chances because he was living in a box across the street. Well, he was selected and made it a long way before being voted off. However, his talents are still gathering lots of attention and his story is among many who've risen above startling adversity.

There's nothing better than setting life's goals, then seeing an underdog succeed.