The composer, David Barrett, was once a struggling folk singer. Having finished a show in late March 1986 at the Varsity Inn in East Lansing, Mich., he was watching a Boston Celtics game at the bar when an attractive woman sat beside him after her shift.
œShe was the most beautiful waitress on the planet, Barrett said. œThe kind of woman who is so good looking that you don™t even bother talking to her.
But the soft-spoken Barrett, then 31, tried to break the ice with an exposition on the poetic majesty of Larry Bird™s talents.
œI looked up at the TV to watch a fast break and when I turned back around, she had left without saying a word, he said.
Barrett was determined to overcome the snub by making the woman understand how it felt to play basketball œin the zone ” by writing a song. He left the bar with the beginnings of a melody and what he hoped would be a good working title, œOne Shining Moment. The next morning, Barrett said, he wrote lyrics for the 3-minute-45-second tune in 20 minutes on a paper napkin.
Tomorrow night, that song will be the musical endnote to the N.C.A.A. men™s basketball tournament for the 20th consecutive year. œOne Shining Moment has become œthe anthem of college basketball, the CBS announcer Jim Nantz said.
œIt™s the official coronation now, more so than the hardware, Nantz added, speaking by phone Thursday from Atlanta, site of the Final Four this weekend.