Each year in March, Americans are forced to endure the cliché: "Cinderella team". Every small school that wins a game in the NCAA college basketball tournament is subjected to this label by every sportswriter in the country. It's forever a part of March Madness.
The phrase is applicable any time a seemingly huge underdog in a sporting contest does better than expected. Their season of hard work and practice is woven into a fairy tale. With each game they are asked if midnight is coming and time for the glass slippers to be returned. The team's impending doom is constantly forecast.
A familiar example of this genre is the story of the American men's ice hockey team in the 1980 Olympics. Fortunately for them the fairy tale never ended and they beat the Russians and then won the gold medal.