Not everybody is a fan of “One Shining Moment,” the song that, since 1987, CBS has played with highlight clips immediately after the NCAA championship game is over. But it’s a network tradition unlike any other.
In preparation of “One Shining Moment” and the schmaltzy CBS coverage of the Masters this week, I’ve boosted my Gag Meter to 11.
— John Branch (@JohnBranchNYT) April 8, 2013
Here’s how it looked the first time it was played, after Indiana beat Syracuse 74-73:
It was written by David Barrett on a napkin in an East Lansing, Mich., bar. Buzzfeed’s Erik Malinowski has the song’s backstory:
And while “One Shining Moment” was meant to be a cathartic afterthought to the trials of March Madness, a palate cleanser to wrap up a near-month of competition, it’s also maintained its familiar mid-’80s schmaltz, the same sense of comfort that personifies so many sports-movies clichés.
But in an age of pop culture where everything old is new again, “One Shining Moment” serves as a reminder that for every skin-crawling collegiate scandal that pops up, there’s one constant immune to tarnish. Every year, the script plays out the same — great teams lose, small schools stand up, and only one is left at the end — and then it’s time to cue up “One Shining Moment.” Weeks of behind-the-scenes work by CBS Sports engineers go into three minutes and five seconds of montage, but no challenge is too great when you’re dealing with what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has deemed “the national anthem of college basketball.”