And so it begins, yet again: the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be in full swing come tomorrow (Thursday, March 21, even though it technically started with a few games on Tuesday, but minor detail). Some may not care whatsoever, but the ratings across multiple television networks, not to mention the absurd financial wagering over the 67 games played, show that millions upon millions do, to say the least. But even for the non-collegiate-basketball-enthusiasts, there is one tradition that might still pull at the heartstrings.

It all started in 1987 after the Hoosier State added another national championship trophy to be placed in their display case in Bloomington, Indiana. At the conclusion of the festivities on CBS, the producers pulled up a music video that would become the standard finale for all the madness that ensued on the court.

The story so goes that a man named David Barrett put “One Shining Moment” together for a friend of his at Sports Illustrated, who then passed it onto CBS for consideration. That executive fell in love with the song, and so the plan was to place it at the end of Super Bowl XXI, on January 25, 1987. Except, the game went longer than planned for the tv time slot, and so the higher-up’s went back to Barret, asking if it could, instead, be used with the college basketball tournament. And so, it happened. After Indiana defeated Syracuse on March 30 of the same year, the postlude has played on an annual basis ever since.

The ball is tipped
And there you are
You’re running for your life
You’re a shooting star
And all the years
No one knows
Just how hard you worked
But now it shows...
In One Shining Moment, it’s all on the line
In One Shining Moment, they’re frozen in time

But time is short
And the road is long
In the blinking of an eye
That moment’s gone
And when it’s done
Win or lose
You always did your best
Cause inside you knew...
That in One Shining Moment, you reached deep inside
One Shining Moment, you knew you were alive

Feel the beat of your heart
Feel the wind in your face
It's more than a contest
It's more than a race...

And when it’s done
Win or lose
You always did your best
Cause inside you knew...
In One Shining Moment, you reached for the sky
In One Shining Moment, you knew…
In One Shining Moment, you were willing to try
In One Shining Moment, you knew
One Shining Moment

Granted, the obsession over the sport has grown in recent years, not just with the cultural acceptance of sports gambling and massive television network deals and even with the new-ish free market on financial incentives for players to be part of all these collegiate teams. All of that can be true, and disappointing, to put it mildly. But there’s still something about the backstories of so many of these young people, many of whom will not receive any tangible payment. That over “all the years, no one knows just how hard [they] worked.” And even a catchy song won’t fully convey all the time spent inside barns or at city parks or in small town high school gymnasiums.

And even for the non-collegiate-basketball-enthusiasts, there are still connections to be made to the lyrics, of certain “shining moments” in our life, whether it be on athletic fields or in our homes or even inside church buildings, too. So much work is put into such places and into such relationships that will never be known. And yet, with this God of ours, it isn’t about one shining moment, for all the moments of this life shine with presence of Emmanuel (God-with-us). Of course, we could argue there is one shining moment in particular that we will celebrate in a couple weeks when life outshined death. But it most certainly didn’t stop there. And it’s not meant to be kept to one Resurrection celebration Sunday. It’s meant for us to sing and marvel over every day. That we never forget in all our moments, “we know we are alive” forever. Thanks be to God, indeed!

In Christ,
Pastor Brad

To view “One Shining Moment” from 2023, please visit:
One Shining Moment | 2023 NCAA tournament (youtube.com)