One Shining Evening
Well, tonight the road finally ends. The two teams that everyone has pegged as the two best in the land square off. As I’ve said all year, I think North Carolina is the best team around when they’re on, but Illinois, though slightly less stellar, is more consistent, and brings it every night. How tonight’s championship game will go, I honestly don’t know. For the reasons above, I’d definitely take Illinois in an NBA-style 7-game series. Since it’s one game, though, I’ll gamble on Carolina showing up to play tonight, and take the Heels 85-79.
Enough about that, though—there’s a more pressing matter on the docket. Below is an open letter to CBS regarding my biggest concern of the evening. It is not a particularly unique concern, as most that I know feel the same way, but it is worth noting:
I wish to express some concerns that I have with your broadcast of the college basketball championship game. Let me first compliment you on you stellar coverage to this point. Your diligent planning and willingness to partner with other organizations has allowed basketball fans across this nation to view every game of the tournament to this point. For early rounds, when faced with a broadcaster shortage, you somehow managed to borrow the services of several ESPN announcers who, along with your guys, are among the best in the business. You brought us every second of the most exciting regional final weekend ever. On off days, you even brought us documentaries about the 1966 Texas Western team, and Gary Williams’ resurrection of the Maryland program (and yes, I will overlook the fact that both pieces showed for the third consecutive year). So far it has all been phenomenal. And because I want to keep respecting all that is good about your college basketball coverage, I have just one request:
Don’t crap up One Shining Moment.
The One Shining Moment montage, which you created, has become a highly important yearly event for fans across the nation. It is a time when we may reflect back on the season. We can take time out and consider things like UWM’s improbable run to the Sweet 16, or Illinois’ miracle comeback against Arizona. For many men, it is the only time that it is acceptable to openly weep. In short, this 5-minute segment is a vital yearly event not only for basketball fans, but for male society as well.
In recent years, however, you have made various ill-fated attempts to enhance this experience for us. I cannot fault the intent. After all, without others having the drive to improve on the viewing experience, I would not have had the ability to record games on my DVR box. Nor would I have a savings account, as high definition television would not exist, and I would have no motivation to save money for anything. However, I cannot say that I have been anything but disappointed with the outcome of your attempts to improve One Shining Moment.
I first take issue with your recent use of a new Luther Vandross version of the One Shining Moment song. Mr. Vandross is undoubtedly talented. Indeed, he is perhaps too talented for the song, which is special in a cheesy sort of way. A talent like Mr. Vandross draws attention away from the raw emotion of the amateurish song, and makes us take note of the lame guitar riff in the middle. Please, stick to the original song, and we will all be happier.
My second problem with your recent One Shining Moment montages is the one that disturbs me the most. I cannot stress this next point enough. Please, for the love of God, do not use computer graphics to enhance the court action. I’ll say that again—no computer graphics. I still remember the watching the 2002 One Shining Moment and being supremely let down the first time computer graphics filled the screen during the action. I immediately called my friend T.J., a man who loves One Shining Moment more than anyone else that I know, and also a fierce traditionalist. He was equally upset. Why is this so disturbing? Just look at the footage. I don’t need glitter coming off of the West Virginia bench after their upset of Wake Forest to know how wonderful the moment was. If Deron Williams throws a behind the back pass to James Augustine for a dunk, the play is cheapened when a computerized star also darts behind Willams’ back. There’s a lot wrong with college athletics, but One Shining Moment is about the pure emotion that runs through the tournament. It is our 5-minutes a year to forget that several of the teams in the tournament probably cheated at something, and that Bob Huggins is finally going to break the 0% barrier for graduation rate this year. So when Hassan Adams goes up for a dunk, I don’t want to see rockets going off at his feet, and when my favorite UWM player, James Wright cries, his tears had better not be orange. I hope you can see how these events stand on their own.
My request is a simple one, but it is important to me. I hope to be sobbing like a baby tonight when you remind me after the game that the season’s over. So again, keep up the good work on everything else and remember—don’t crap up One Shining Moment.