We have another Cinderella
We pretty much know how they are going to end -with the ultimate underdog that temporarily has captured our hearts eventually going down to defeat.
Still, we never tire of them.
We love rooting for the little guy, even though we know the odds are stacked against him.
Case in point, Florida Gulf Coast University’s improbable run to the Sweet 16.
When the No. 15 seed stunned No. 2 Georgetown with a 21-2 second-half run, they became America’s darlings.
When the Eagles ran off 17 unanswered points to beat No. 7 seed San Diego State and become the biggest long shot ever to advance to the Sweet 16, they had captured America’s hearts.
The story that enthralled America was even bigger here as one of its central figures was one of our own, Parkersburg South graduate Chase Fieler, who quickly became known for his leaping and jamming abilities.
Rather than toiling in virtual anonymity, Fieler became a cover boy, a TV star.
It was his -as we say in the news business -15 minutes of fame.
After pulling two stunning upsets and going where no No. 15 seed had gone before, Florida Gulf Coast finally ran into an opponent that was overwhelming in No. 3 Florida. The Eagles played hard and made the Gators look average at times, but in the end, talent -as it always seems to do -took over.
Still, no one ever can take away what Florida Gulf Coast accomplished. It is now the gold standard. The team to which every future underdog will be compared, at least until the magical day when a No. 16 seed knocks off a No. 1, should that seemingly impossible feat ever take place.
Florida Gulf Coast University – no matter how much money it spent on an advertising campaign touting its virtues (and that fabulous location)-never could have created the interest and the goodwill accomplished by its basketball team.
It’s appropriate the Eagles donned blue, for this was a blue-collar basketball team that lacked an individual superstar but worked so well together it was able to overcome foes that were more individually talented.
When the Eagles failed to land in the Elite Eight, it appeared we once again were doomed to watch the traditional powers dominate the games that matter the most -the ones that decide who goes to Atlanta.
Then along comes Wichita State -appropriately nicknamed the Shockers -and knocks out powerful Ohio State.
Wichita State not only was the runnerup of the lightly-regarded Missouri Valley Conference, but it got swept in its season series by the University of Evansville Purple Aces (didn’t they sing Third Rate Romance?).
Now we have Wichita State in the Final Four.
And you know what that means?
Yes, another Cinderella story.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com