There is literally no learning curve for enjoying the NCAA Tournament, and that is a good thing. I don't need to know about Old Dominion's roster, or the surprisingly solid halfcourt play of St. Peter's--no, it's all the better if I don't, because who cares about facts here when all I want to do is love you, team I've never heard of and just adopted for no reason whatsoever. I'll like you as much irrationally as I hate Duke irrationally, and that is in a purely nonsensical fashion with only Duke's perpetual floppiness to claim for even a shred of hateful justification.
The arbitrary and completely irrational spreads to the broadcast itself. I hate Jim Nantz calling anything simply because he sounds like such a smug, superficial bastard no matter what he's saying. He could be pledging a million dollars towards Japanese earthquake relief and it would sound like "Hi guys I'm Jim Nantz and bright lights would confuse me if I were more curious hey isn't mayonnaise delicious as a main course and condiment?" Between Nantz's bland human wallpaper act and former CBS announcer Billy Packer's continual dislike of life and all things living, it was a bad, bad human wrecking ball there for a while there on CBS, an announcing milkshake made of mental beef tallow and pepper spray.
Life's better now. You get March Madness across a number of different platforms, thus diversifying any potential suck outbreaks in the broadcast. There will be two wretched traditions lurching their way through the door, however. Jim Nantz will still call the final instead of Gus Johnson, meaning you'll get Nantz calling the most intense and passionate collegiate sporting event of the year like he's watching a sloth hump a two-by-four.
The other is "One Shining Moment," the Jim Nantz of sporting songs. Ignore the music for the moment (though you know you're in trouble when you hear an organ, the musical harbinger of a terrible musician about to get "serious, man"). Songs should not be written for things, because songs designed for certain events inevitably suck, especially when you commission them. Prince wrote a bad song when he tried to write a sports song, and he's brilliant. You and the average mortal with a keyboard and Garage Band on their laptop are doomed.
At best, songs associated with sports should be a matter of happy coincidence and randomness. "Chelsea Dagger" for the 2008-09 Chicago Blackhawks just sort of happened; so did the ubiquity of "Zombie Nation," which while annoying as hell certainly seems to have an effect on springy young drunk people in college stands. When you just let the fans glom on randomly to a song, you get Liverpool fans with tears streaming down their cheeks singing "You'll Never Walk Alone." Create a song for the occasion, and you get the theme to the 2010 Vancouver Games. Don't remember it? There's a reason, and it's called "The Theme to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games."
Or worse still, you get "One Shining Moment." Let's examine the worst song in sporting history a little closer.
The ball is tipped
and there you are
BOLD STATEMENT THERE, SIR. It's important for a writer to set the stage, and it's clear from the start. You're there, I'm here, and we're really into declarative statements. That stapler's heavy, our coffee's hot, and Bill Raftery just ate a three ring binder out of boredom. Don't mind him; he does it all the time.
you're running for your life
The only possible applications of the phrase "running for your life" in a basketball situation are if you are playing Ron Artest one-on-one on contraindicated medications, or if you are Snake Plisskind in Escape from L.A. where he plays basketball for his life and hits a ridiculously long three pointer to save his life. The greatest special effect in this film is making Kurt Russell look like he can dribble a basketball, and even then it looks like his ball-handling coach was Zack Randolph. This film also features Kurt Russell surfing while wearing an eyepatch. That is all.
you're a shooting star
GET IT. Wordplay like that slays Nantz! Also, Jim Nantz does not know this is a pun, and is confused by the intricate wordplay on Two and a Half Men.
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows...
Okay, this is implausible, since this assumes you'd get better in the tournament magically after sucking all these years. We'd rewrite it a bit here.
And all these years
you were pretty good, actually, and sometimes worked hard,
but genetics really is the primary determinant of talent,
And that sucks for you, short guy with poor coordination,
But there's lots of other things out there for you
Like the curling team,
And a health administration degree.
No one said I'd write an inspiring song, but it's certainly accurate. Let's move forward a minute, though. This is the second chorus, and it's the most uninspiring thing you'll ever hear sung in the name of inspiration.
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED DEEP INSIDE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW YOU WERE ALIVE
The man who wrote "One Shining Moment", David Barrett, did not kill himself after writing these words, but if he had you'd look to this line as the blatant cry for help you all heard and ignored. Great Prozac's Goatee, that is the most depressing, dumbed-down John Updike-ish weepy nostalgia for a non-existent youth never lived I've ever seen.
You know what happens when you have a real moment of glory? You remember nothing. It is a complete blur like most of the good things in life. You know when I really knew I was alive? Oh, there are a few moments, but they all involve automobiles, collisions, exchanging insurance information, and one extremely terrifying earthquake in 1999. "Feeling alive" is not fun, because being alive is endless terror you tune out to watch television, surf the internet, and fill out brackets. David Barrett literally knows nothing about life. Listen to him at our own peril.
The theme of being one step away from putting your head in a tree shredder continues with the fadeout:
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU WERE WILLING TO TRY
ONE SHINING MOMENT....
Let's just all assume David Barrett's was peeing in the same sink he washed his dishes in at this point in his life, and that he has made a much happier life for himself since. (Proof: he's still alive and not dead by his own hand.)
People became outraged when Jennifer Hudson sang a version of this last year, but the real problem should be with the fact that this anthem of the tournament is what the immortal country singer George Jones would call "a morbid son of a bitch." I want to live less after hearing it, and not just because it means I'm going to have to finally bite the bullet and get Fox Sports Channel to watch anything interesting for the next five calendar months.
In conclusion: "One Shining Moment" is a depressive's ode to basketball and a shut-in's ode to athletic glory. Burn it. Please.