Everyone is wrong about: One Shining Moment

This is the inaugural “Everyone is wrong about” post. In this occasional series, Jay examines a popular position and goes the other way.

There’s a mini-outcry happening on the internet. A couple days ago, TBS announced that someone other than Luther Vandross will perform “One Shining Moment” for the montage after the NCAA men’s championship game.

From the reaction — and the similar outcry when Jennifer Hudson performed the song in 2010 — you’d think Parliament were amending “God Save The Queen” or something. What no one is saying is that “One Shining Moment” needs to be retired. It’s a terrible song that mis-punctuates a perfect three weeks of basketball like four exclamation points at the end of a Keats poem.

The song has been around since 1987, and it shows its age. The piano. The horns. The buttery male vocals in the key of F. It’s a relic.

Does anyone have “One Shining Moment” on their iTunes playlist? Do you listen to the “One Shining Moment” station on Pandora?

The median age of Americans, according to the 2010 census, is 37.2. That means that fully half of Americans were seven or younger when One Shining Moment was written on a bar napkin in East Lansing, Michigan, after singer David Barrett watched a Celtics game on TV.

Written on a napkin? Huge shock. “The song came fully formed,” Barrett said, according to Wikipedia. “All the lyrics just wrote themselves.”

No kidding? Hell, if I wrote that garbage I’d try to say someone else wrote it too.

The ball is tipped
And there you are
You’re running for your life
You’re a shooting star

If 1,000 monkeys, banged away at 1,000 typewriters for 1,000 years, one of them would write “Those lyrics suck” over and over again.

As if the lyrics weren’t literal enough, CBS feels the need to underscore them by showing a clip of that exact thing happening as the lyric is sung.

Horn prelude – Some trumpet player in the pep band
The ball is tipped – Jump ball
You’re running for your life – guy running
You’re a shooting star – guy shooting
In the blinking of an eye – guy closing his eyes (I wish I were kidding…they do this every year)
Feel the beat of your heart – guy pounding his chest
One shining moment you reached down inside – me sticking my fingers inside my ears to rip out my cochlea

One Shining Moment is to sports as “God Bless the USA” is to patriotism. It was great, and I’m glad we did that back in the 80s. I’m glad I got to sing it in 5th grade choir while wearing Zubaz and a Bugs and Taz Kriss Kross shirt, but it’s time to move on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating getting rid of the montage. The montage is the best. I wish every sport did it. I’m just saying you’ve got to replace the song.

What would be better? Almost anything.

But I believe that the song should remain fresh. It should be a new song every year, or at least every two or three years when a great song comes out.

Are you telling me Shut Up and Dance wouldn’t be a great ending to the Big Dance? Or Rachel Platten’s Fight Song?

I actually first came up with the idea in 2013 when Muse’s “Madness” was popular. That song would be a perfect way to cap off March Madness. Go ahead and start the Madness video below around the 1:40 mark, then mute the 2015 “One Shining Moment” and play them at the same time.

Really, you could mute OSM and play any song from your phone over top of this montage and it would be 100 times better.

And that’s why everyone is wrong about One Shining Moment.



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