“And there you are. You’re running for your life. You’re a shooting star.” – David Barrett
(Part 1 of a three part series)
Hello March my old friend! How I love you so every 334 days when you come roaring in like a lion. I love your cool winds, your lavish green Irish celebrations, and the days that mark my wedding anniversary, my dad’s birthday, and my birthday. And I love all of your days and nights filled with collegiate basketball. I believe some refer to it as “March Madness.” For me, it’s simply roundball therapy at it’s finest, and it helps to restore my sanity from any madness that may result in my professional or personal life.
For those of you that know of my affinity for all things 80’s, one more reason that I love that magical decade is that the single greatest sports anthem of all-time was born in 1986 by an Emmy award-winning Michigan man named David Barrett. Originally scheduled for use after the Super Bowl in 1987, CBS ran out of time and decided to use it after the NCAA national championship game between Indiana and Syracuse instead. The rest, as they say, is history.
“And all the years, no one knows”
This will be the 31st season that the anthem will be used shortly after crowning a new champion. Coaches and players and fans at the championship game and those all around the country will hush anyone within earshot when the opening notes of “One Shining Moment” start up. I had a high school basketball teammate (shout out Blake W!) who recorded the first three “One Shining Moment(s)” on his parents’ VCR. Not the game. Just the musical montage following the game. This thing called the world wide web was just a glimmer in young Al Gore’s imagination at that time, and we had no idea that one day we would be able to watch any and every “One Shining Moment” anytime we wanted. I love the internet sometimes!
“Just how hard you worked, but now it shows..”
In March of 1987 I turned 16 and was a sophomore at West Mid-High in Norman, Oklahoma, and my dad was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma. Now, I am a father to a 16 year old of my own. During the first ever musical montage (that you will see at the end of this post) you get a few glimpses of Sooner players like Dave Sieger and Tony “the Hawk” Martin (many of these same players were one year away from a national championship game appearance of their own). The Sooners were bounced in the Sweet 16 in 1987 by a very good Tom Davis-led Iowa team that year that featured future NBA pros B.J. Armstrong, Brad Lohaus, Roy Marble, and Kevin Gamble, who hit the game-winner against OU.
I don’t consider the college basketball season officially over until the video and song finish every April after that Monday night contest. Even though it is meant to conclude the NCAA tournament, when I watch it at the beginning of March, it excites me for what lays ahead this month – the players, the coaches, the sheer exhilaration of buzzer-beaters, the painful endings to seasons and careers, and the overall pageantry of it all.
Today’s post features the very first “One Shining Moment” in 1987. I still remember the game with Indiana’s Keith Smart knocking down the winning jumper in the waning seconds. I watched the video for the first time in many years, and was surprised to find that 30 years later, “frozen in time,” the video prominently features two coaches who are still coaching today. One is a young Rick Pitino, who was coaching the Providence Friars to the final four that year, and will try to do the same this year leading a talented Louisville team with national championship aspirations. The other is the venerable Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, whose Orange lost in the finals to Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers. In another tie-in, the Hoosiers were led by Steve Alford, who will be coaching a very talented UCLA squad in this year’s tournament. So sit back and enjoy the next three minutes featuring the very first “One Shining Moment.”
“One shining moment, it’s all on the line. One shining moment, there frozen in time…”
Thank you for reading, thank you God for David Barrett, and may your team be on a roll heading into the NCAA tournament.