One Shining Moment

What is it about that song played at the beginning and end of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament? It’s hard to get the tune out of your head. Whether you’re a basketball player or an average Joe, the song makes you think you are “King of the World.”

That song – “One Shining Moment” – has been called the “anthem of college basketball.” This year Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson is singing the song written by David Barrett who said he wrote it after Indiana beat Syracuse in the 1979 tournament. Barrett gave it to a friend in 1986. CBS used it in 1987. It has been featured every year since.

CBS analyst Jim Nantz says it’s as much a part of the tournament as the Duke Blue Devils.

To quote some of the all-inspiring lyrics:
“The ball is tipped, and there you are, you’re running for your life, you’re a shooting star. And all the years, no one knows, just how hard you worked but now it shows. In One Shining Moment it’s all on the line, One Shining Moment, there frozen in time.”

What a shining moment it has been for the cities where the tournament is played. The just concluded Midwest Regional Basketball tournament in St. Louis had an estimated economic impact on the bi-state (Missouri-Illinois) area of $16 million. For the final four tournament in Indianapolis April 3 and 5th, it’s even higher, an estimated $50 million impact on the local economy.

Mike Kryzsewski, long-time coach at Duke who has one of the highest graduation rates of his players of any college coach, notes in his book Five Point Play, “Every year, at the Final Four, CBS puts clips of the championship team’s performance to the song “One Shining Moment’ — and shows it to conclude their television broadcast.”
Kryzsewski coached the American Olympic Basketball team in 2008 to win the Gold Medal in Beijing. He said the shining moment for him – his family arriving in Beijing – “when a career is truly shared, a family never feels like it has to compete.” He describes the moment they won – “it was a time of pure joy, knowing we had accomplished our goal.”

Even the President of U. S., who fills out tournament brackets guessing who will win, shares in the shining moment when he welcomes the winning team to the South Lawn of the White House where they are honored with a ceremony. The team, in return, usually presents the President with a team jersey.

No matter if the Butler Bulldogs win or not in the final game, its tale has been uplifting and inspiring. Butler, the long shot and underdog, has had this incredible journey to the national championship game, while all along making the little guy in America feel good. It’s as if we all count for something, as if we are all champions. Our hearts will be beating, we’ll feel so alive. The sky’s the limit. We can reach for the stars.
“One Shining Moment you reached deep inside. One Shining Moment you knew you were alive.”

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