Cinderella. What a beautiful and misunderstood folk-hero. The folktale of Cinderella is a classic story of unjust oppression with a culmination of triumphant reward at the end. Many feel that the modern day Cinderella in sports is Florida Gulf Coast University.
FGCU is not your typical team comprised of Blue Chip prospects like the 1994 movie of the same name featuring Nick Nolte as the hardened, battle-tested coach with Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway (Butch McRae) and Shaquille O’Neal (Neon Bordeaux) as the dominant forces. This FGCU squad decided to ditch their wicked stepmother, which is small-budget athletics, relative obscurity, and talent-laden schools with in the same state, for red carpet treatment, nationally televised press conferences, and awe-inspiring performances.
The 2013 NCAA tournament is their glass slipper as everything is fitting oh-so-nicely at the moment. But, as we all know, all great receptions must come to an end. Pretty soon FGCU’s tournament will crash faster than a ’96 Ford Explorer with Firestone tires. As 13-point underdogs their chances of beating the in-state juggernaut Florida Gators are slimmer than Kate Moss after a 72-hour bender. FGCU will have to continue to play like their newly anointed “Dunk City” as opposed to New Jack City with an emphasis on creating points off fast breaks and capitalizing off of turnovers if they are to advance further in this tournament. Should they get past the Sweet 16 that would most certainly be the icing on Cinderella’s cake.
After this run the program will undoubtedly gain traction on the national radar. Just look at George Mason now! I mean, yeah, about that. George Mason was only able to sustain that program momentum briefly. Once their coach, Jim Larranaga, left for the green and orange pastures of Miami, George Mason became more of an afterthought than Drew Lachey was in 98 Degrees.
FGCU’s journey up to this point has been full of ups and downs like the 1999 Nasdaq. Hopefully this one ends with upward momentum. This journey is a classic battle of the Little Giants vs. the Pee-Wee Cowboys. Getting to and winning the National Championship may have seemed impossible two weeks ago but with determination, dreadlocks, a white point guard, and some luck FGCU has the chance to ride that golden carriage into history with a National Championship.
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