Cinderella in Basketball Shoes

We like our sports stories here at Matchmaker Logistics; we’ve made that clear by now. This Sunday, March 13, marks the kickoff of March Madness – by far the best source for great sports stories. For those of you who aren’t sports fans, don’t worry – “March Madness,” isn’t some sort of St. Patrick’s Day-related insanity. It’s the NCAA championships, running from the second week of March through the first week in April. Sixty-eight teams compete in tournament brackets, narrowing it all down to the Final Four, and from there, one champion.

The nature of the tournament makes it something special. While most sports championships match teams in the playoffs based solely on season wins, the very setup of the NCAA championship allows for teams to come ‘out of nowhere’ for the win. Thirty-two teams gain automatic entry through winning their conference’s championship. The other half are named by a selection committee that awards at-large bids into the tournament. As a result, underdogs often end up against teams of well-oiled machines, favored from the start, creating the best ‘Cinderella stories’ in sports.

One of the most iconic Cinderella stories is that of the NC State Wolfpack in 1983. It was a moment that seemed like something out of a movie, the kind of thing you just can’t make up. The Wolfpack were a 6-seed team and a heavy underdog to Houston, a number-1 seed team in the championship final. Yet, with seconds to go on the clock, Wolfpack player Dereck Whittenburg threw up a prayer that seemed doomed to come up short. Lorenzo Charles appeared at the net just in time, catching the ball and dunking it for the win.

NCAA championships

You didn’t even have to be a basketball fan to know that it was a magical moment in college basketball history.

This year, I’m hoping for another great historical moment. You see, for the first time ever, both of my alma maters (Providence College, undergrad and University of North Carolina-Wilmington, MBA) will likely have tickets to the March Madness ball. UNC-W gained automatic entry by winning its conference championship in overtime. And, Providence College has had a strong season and is favored to receive an at-large bid.

I don’t expect that either of them will end up with the proverbial glass slipper – the NCAA Championship title – but even making the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight would feel like a fairy tale ending. I can’t wait to watch some Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Basketball!

Make a little fairy tale magic happen in your world this weekend,