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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