Shine On, You Crazy Theme Song: Honoring the Best Worst Song in Sports

By Johnny Ginter on March 18, 2014 at 11:15a

I don't know about you, but when I think "March Madness," the music that comes to mind is not expository mid 80s synthesizer pop. Generally those first few days of the tournament bring to mind something like GWAR or Megadeth or pretty much anything with some kind of banshee wail that makes my teeth hurt.

But whatever man! "One Shining Moment" has somehow wormed its way into our collective basketball consciousness, laid eggs, and is never, ever leaving. It's a bad, bad song, but Big & Rich have been coming to our citaaayyy for what seems like an eternity now with no signs of slowing down whatsoever, so why should this David Barrett creation about trying your best and running for your god damned life be any different?

Still, I've never understood its popularity.

"Comin' to your City" I figure is some kind of insane redneck witchcraft, but "One Shining Moment" was written by a Larry Bird fanboy from Michigan. Something is amiss here, which is why today I'm going to break down the lyrics (as they were written verbatim from the official "One Shining Moment" website that it inexplicably has), line by line, and figure this thing out.

The ball is tipped
and there you are
you're running for your life
you're a shooting star

This is terrifying. In whatever weird hellscape that Barrett is imagining here, basketball games start with players immediately running away from the game itself, apparently under the impression that they've all become celestial objects. TAKE DRUGS, KIDS.

And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows...

Can you imagine putting in work on something for several hours a day, over the course of 15 plus years, and have no one realize what you've been up to? "So THIS is why you've been disappearing for weeks at a time during college? I don't know son, I thought you were studying for the LSAT or something. Not really sure how I feel about this whole basketsballs thing."

But time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye
ah that moment's gone

Life is about failure, because you have one brief opportunity to not royally screw things up, and guess what? You have to somehow avoid that failure like six times in a row, which is mathematically impossible. Especially if you're Ohio State.

And when it's done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew...

I personally think that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a little underrated. Yeah, it's incredibly campy and borderline racist, and yes, the female lead is completely insufferable, but it has a lot of terrific setpieces to go along with a really cool villain. To wit:



And so on. "One Shining Moment" also refers to reaching for the sky and feeling your heart beating, and pretty much just amounts to about three minutes of adult contemporary pablum/weird twisting of the knife for players that screw up.

So why, year after year, do we listen to it? Why does CBS put it on our televisions, and why do so many people eat it up with a spoon?

I think people like familiarity, even crappy familiarity. Boston fans scream "Sweet Caroline" before, during, and after Red Sox games despite it being lame as hell because that's their song. We've heard the bass riff from "Seven Nation Army" approximately 234786827346827346 times in the last decade at sporting events because after Penn State stole it from a European soccer team, we stole it from them, and then everyone else stole it from us. Collectively, it's our song, despite the fact that in about fifty different ways it isn't.

That's fine. I won't deny the masses their corn pone pap about reaching for the stars or whatever. It's just odd to me that in a sporting event defined by complete insanity, our anthem is one of the most boring odes to doing your best and trying hard and blah blah blah whatever.

My suggestions for the NCAA tournament theme song are somewhat different. I want something that captures the actual spirit of March Madness, rather than the neon green polo tucked into zubaz pants watching Perfect Strangers on a boring Sunday afternoon America that "One Shining Moment" represents in my eyes.

Here's what I'm thinking:

But those are just my (admittedly poor) choices. I want to hear what you're all thinking, because if I have to reach deep inside myself to know that I'm alive every freaking year I am going to go insane. Go ahead and rock out in the comments below, for the sake of all of us.


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Doc's picture

I'll vote for "Shadrach".

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

+1 HS
RCRoy45's picture

I remember the 1991 OSM - showing Jimmy Jackson pounding his heart with a bloody eye... It has always stayed with me... Then the next year the intro to the OSU TTUN regional final was Instant Karma... What a fun time of year... Cheesy?  Yes but who cares...

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

Bobcat04's picture

That's it for me too!  Every year, I think of that. It was during the sweet 16 loss to St. John's and Malik Sealy. That was really the first year that I had my soul crushed by Ohio State in the tourney. 

shadybuck's picture

4 Tha Hustlaz by Too Short ft. 2pac

Game. Set. Match

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I was watching the CBS coverage right before the brackets were revealed and they were playing OSM. My wife from the other room asked what the hell was I watching and I said its the March Madness theme song, and she says (and I qoute) "that doesn't sound like basketball".

my main beef with the past images they show with that song is that not all of them are great moments. They show the scene of Bob Huggins over top of his player who had the ACL at the end of the Louisville game and the song is playing. THAT IS NOT ONE SHINING MOMENT, THAT IS HORRIFIC! The kid is writhing in pain as Bob is consoling him and its playing "in One Shining moment, you reach deep inside".....WTF!!!!

How about reviewing the tape for that damn song before you show pain and agony while its playing! Kids are having their hearts ripped out in utter defeat, but its One Shining Moment!

NCAA, you are better than.....uh.....nevermind!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

BuckeyeMark's picture

We are now having a serious discussion about what song plays during a montage of tourney clips. Charles Barkley hasn't even started his "analysis" ... it's going to be a long off season, isn't it?

Oyster's picture

I'm starting a list of things people who use this site hate.  In no particular order:

  Crean, Bielema, This song, TTUN, Saban, ESPN, The NCAA, most things associated with PSU, Chris Cicero and Ed Rife, Charlie  Bauman, the SEC in general, getting rid of Recent Comments.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

+5 HS
TheSpiteHouse's picture

If it's "no particular order", then why did it start with the very punchable Messrs. Crean and Bielema?

Ashtabula's picture

I couldn't read this article without singing the tune.  Call me weird or old, but I actually like it and I hope that CBS doesn't make the same mistake so many other producers make and try to "update" the song.

+1 HS
Oyster's picture

You're weird!

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

Bucksfan's picture

Wow, I've been watching the tournament my entire life, and I've never heard that song before.  And the reason must be because I have never watched the championship game through the end.

Joe Beale's picture

Same here; I googled it just now and listened and I can confirm that until five minutes ago I had never heard that song before. This is despite the fact that I've watched most of the NCAA tournaments since the early 70s. I guess I don't watch to the end of coverage either.

Hard to beat "Fury of the Storm" as a suggested theme song, but for Ohio State fans lately the most appropriate song might be "Heartbreak Hotel".

kyo's picture

"Never Gonna Give You Up" Rick Astley

+2 HS
Unky Buck's picture

While we're naming random songs, Tenacious D - Kielbasa

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

bukyze's picture

One Shining Moment makes my ears bleed.  I wish they'd go back to the old days, when the championship game was finished, they'd set the montage to Queen's "We Are The Champions".  That gave me chills every time (unless Duke or some other hated team won).

tennbuckeye19's picture

Do you guys remember a couple years back when they introduced a new updated version of 'One Shining Moment' with Jennifer Hudson singing it and the backlash that ensued afterwards? 

45OH4IO's picture

How 'bout the Hall and Oates classic "You Make My Dream Come True" if we are going to use old cheesy songs...I loved that song in (500) Days of Summer and it's a good one at weddings.

I laugh AT CBS when they play that song and bristle at the same time. ABC debuted some awful tune for the SEC tourney.

As far as coming to your Citayyy goes, I loved it for the first decade, but I think it's about time that song gets put out to pasture.

GOOMBAY's picture

If you're going to go Beastie's and basketball, why not "Sure Shot"?

DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

Yes, this song is absolutely cheesy. But I absolutely love it. Growing up as a young kid where I couldn't get enough sports, this song is one memory that will always stay with me. To the day, this song to end the college basketball season gives me chills.

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.

"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

Crumb's picture

Whatever happened to good old We Are the Champions by Queen?

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+1 HS
Kernfan's picture

They used different songs for a few years before they settled on that lame crap.  I remember them playing a Van Halen song (Jump, I think) after Georgetown won it 1984, which is the only time I remember enjoying the after the final video.  Although a Maryland fan also, I couldn't enjoy the 2002 video because of that crappy song.  After reading this article and realizing that song is about Bird, I'm going to despise it even more.

BeijingBucks's picture

I kinda liked madness by muse they used last year for all the adds...

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+2 HS
jkrk's picture

Strange that they haven't replaced it with that Phillip Phillips song yet.

Unky Buck's picture


Saved By the Bell says otherwise...


Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+1 HS