We all know the story of Cinderella. It’s one of the first stories a kid is taught, a fairy tale. In sports, Cinderella is a person or group that achieves unexpected or sudden success.
What would Cinderella look like on a bicycle? Perhaps like Lance Armstrong after his comeback from cancer. What about in a hockey uniform? Probably like the 1980 U.S. Olympic team.
There are many examples of Cinderella. For some the clock strikes midnight. And for others, the glass slipper is a perfect fit. These Cinderellas stood out to me.
GEORGE MASON BASKETBALL, 2006
The final four is where every college basketball team would like to be. And unlike college football, there are no spots reserved and every team gets a chance to shine. This means that if you win, you stay in. That’s all that the George Mason Patriots were thinking about in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. They didn’t exactly breeze through the tournament, but managed to make it through the Elite Eight and on to the Final Four.
The only thing between George Mason and a national championship shot was Florida. I guess George Mason forgot to check the time because the Patriots were demolished by the Gators. The clock struck midnight and the fairy tale was over.
FRESNO STATE BASEBALL, 2008
The Fresno State baseball team felt like they had something to prove. It was hard to bear their football team being abused by Boise State again and again. But going into the NCAA baseball tournament that year, they were hoping to be more fortunate then their boys on the gridiron.
Entering the tournament the Bulldogs knew that to win it, they had beat four teams in the top 25, some of them twice. Fresno State moved silently through the bracket until it was impossible not to notice them. The championship series was against Georgia. After losing the first game 7-6, the Bulldogs were on the brink of elimination. They came out with big bats the next game and won 19-10 in a high scoring shootout. Then it was the final game.
Bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, runners on first and third and the bulldogs leading 6-1, Georgia hit a line drive to right field. Caught! Out! Ballgame! The Bulldogs had won the College World Series! It was a great series and a most importantly, the glass slipper fit.
MY CINDERELLA PICKS FOR THIS YEAR
College Basketball: I expect Wofford to make some big noise this year, win the Southern Conference AND return to the NCAA Tournament. Their football team is heading to the FCS championship and is motivating the whole campus. This could be a great run.
NFL: In a back and forth battle in the NFC west, the 6-6 Seattle Seahawks have a legitimate chance to run the table and make the playoffs. They have a couple tough games ahead on their schedule, but if the 12th Man has anything to say about this, the Seahawks will make it and be successful in the playoffs.