Underdogs: St. Peter’s Peacocks made New Jersey believe in miracles
A parade will be held in Jersey City on Friday to honor the St. Peter’s men’s basketball team and their historic run in the NCAA college basketball tournament.
For 10 days it felt like the ultimate New Jersey dream. A team and a program that got little respect, in a state that gets even less, shocked the world.
One once, not twice – but three times. The St. Peter’s Peacocks became the first No. 15 seed team to make it to the NCAA Elite Eight.
It was the perfect Jersey story. The team wore that 15-seed ranking like a chip on their shoulder – a chip that many who live in New Jersey carry. It is a blessing, not a curse. It is the fuel that drives the New Jersey hustle.
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New Jerseyans live in a state often overshadowed by nearby New York City, wondering if they have what it takes to overcome the doubt of the rest of the world.
Many New Jersey natives have gone on to achieve greatness – winning Oscars and sports championships and even Nobel Prizes.
The St. Peter’s team is the greatest New Jersey underdog story since Chuck Wepner, a boxer who has spent his life literally living down the street from St. Peter’s.
Wepner went from a nobody to the inspiration for the character of Rocky Balboa. He once knocked out Muhammad Ali.
Rocky lost in the end, just like Peacocks. And as painful as it was, it may also be the perfect Jersey ending as well. Everyone remembers Rocky as a champion, and maybe they remember the Peacocks as champs too.