TERRE HAUTE —
In Indiana, it is permissible for a grown man to cry when facing basketball-related nostalgia.
The state constitution should contain such an amendment.
I’ll admit it — I get choked up when Jimmy Chitwood promises “I’ll make it” during the Hickory Huskers’ final timeout of the greatest hoops flick ever, “Hoosiers.” Others’ eyes might well up at the sight of grainy video footage of Pete Maravich in his LSU days.
So, after reading the following revelation, guys who also happen to be Indiana State Sycamore fans may want to wear shades — to maintain their dignity — while watching the closing seconds of the NCAA championship game on April 4.
“One Shining Moment” — the musical backdrop used by CBS for its popular Big Dance highlights montage, shown after every NCAA men’s basketball title game since 1987 — was inspired by the 1979 Sycamores.
Yes, it is (gulp) true. The quintessential Cinderella team captivated the song’s writer, David Barrett. Thus, even though ISU got knocked out of this year’s tournament in the first round, the university will be present in spirit when the 2011 winners cut down the nets in Houston, 12 days from now.
Wow. Terre Haute is the setting for the national anthem of March Madness. Why? “Because I lived in America and loved basketball,” Barrett explained by phone from his home in Ann Arbor, Mich. “And for a lot of people who think they are basketball players, as I did, we were watching Larry.”
(“Larry,” of course, is Larry Bird, who led ISU from anonymity to a No. 1 ranking and a 33-0 record before falling to Magic Johnson and the Michigan State Spartans in the 1979 NCAA Final.)
The story behind Barrett’s “One Shining Moment” is filled with irony, rejection, acceptance and good timing.
Seven years after ISU’s improbable NCAA run, Barrett found himself sitting virtually alone in a bar at 2 a.m., watching the day’s NBA highlights on ESPN. Up on the TV screen in that bar — which was located in, of all places, East Lansing (home of Michigan State University) — was Bird, performing his wizardry with the Boston Celtics.
“Then the most beautiful waitress in the Midwest, who didn’t know I existed, sat down beside me at the bar, which was empty,” Barrett recalled. “So, what next?”
He tried to impress her with his knowledge of Bird, dating back to 1979. “It was my moment to talk about what I know,” Barrett said, “and she was not impressed.
“I turned around and she was gone, never to be seen again,” he continued, “but I got a great song out of it.”
The phrase “one shining moment” hit Barrett as he walked out. The next morning, he sat at a table in the Knight Cap 2, waiting to meet a friend for breakfast, and wrote the lyrics to “One Shining Moment” on a napkin. They ate, and Barrett drove back to his apartment in Haslet, Mich., and composed the song’s music at his “funky little piano” in less than 20 minutes.
Soon, another friend heard a tape of Barrett playing “One Shining Moment” and paid to have him record it professionally. Then, Barrett bumped into a childhood friend, Armen Keteyian, an investigative reporter for CBS, who eventually heard his old buddy’s song and passed it along to Doug Towey, CBS Sports’ creative director. Towey loved it, and planned to use it during the highlights of Super Bowl XXI, but postgame interviews ran long and it got bumped.
So, Towey saved it for the 1987 NCAA basketball championship two months later.
Seconds after Indiana guard Keith Smart’s corner shot beat Syracuse, Barrett’s life changed as he watched it all on a sports bar TV.
“I didn’t know how they were going to use [“One Shining Moment”] and I saw Keith Smart hit that shot, and then, wow,” he recalled. “It was like lightning in a bottle.”
CBS pieced together video snippets of the ’87 tournament’s most dramatic moments, accompanied by the sounds of Barrett singing and performing his song. That’s been the routine ever since, with CBS later using versions by Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross and Jennifer Hudson. Hudson’s rendition drew widespread criticism because the montage included clips of her singing, rather than all-basketball highlights. As of Wednesday, Barrett wasn’t sure whose version CBS will air the night of April 4.
These days, Barrett, now 56, writes songs and scores musical themes for such things as the telecasts of the PGA Championship and tennis’ U.S. Open. He’s married now, and his wife is an avid basketball fan, too. They live in Ann Arbor. The waitress who walked off during his Larry Bird stories in that East Lansing tavern is now an English teacher, and Barrett learned that she uses his inspirational book, “One Shining Moment,” based on the song.
Barrett has withstood unending gripes that his signature song is corny and syrupy. Nonetheless, it is a March Madness fixture and marks its silver anniversary on CBS this April, 32 years after a team from Terre Haute, Indiana, caught Barrett’s attention. Even though Barrett grew up in Michigan, he “actually was pulling for Indiana State [against Michigan State], because I was so taken by this guy, Larry Bird — like, who is he, and where’d he come from?” He soon found the answers, and tried to explain it to that waitress while they watched Bird’s NBA highlights in 1986.
“I sat there thinking, ‘This guy’s so good, he’s at a time in his life that he’s like Picasso with a painting,’” Barrett said of Bird’s Celtics heyday. “He could do anything.”
Except write a song. That’s Barrett’s court or canvas. A couple years ago, a reporter asked Bird if he realized “One Shining Moment” was written about him and the Sycamores. “He said he didn’t know that,” Barrett said, “but he said something [that was] vintage Larry: ‘Well, the song’s done good.’”
I need a handkerchief.
Mark Bennett can be reached at (812) 231-4377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
In Indiana, it is permissible for a grown man to cry when facing basketball-related nostalgia.
- Indiana State University
ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction
Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
But this is the 2013 Sycamores, after all, and after a season in which seemingly little has gone right, it appears its stars will remain crossed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU sending largest group yet to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
Indiana State to host 2014 MVC baseball tourney
Build it… and they will come. The Missouri Valley Conference and Indiana State University made that famous line from the movie “Fields Of Dreams” reality Thursday.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet
If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.
ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
Indiana State produced two champions during the opening day of action in the Missouri Valley Conference track and field championships Friday at Drake. Freshman John Mascari, a Terre Haute native, won the men’s 10,000-meter race and Nicole Hope won the women’s pole vault for the second time in three seasons.
ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Lansing looking for more home games for next fall
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is looking for a few good games.
Home games that is.
The Sycamores have filled in most of the blanks in their nonconference schedule, but as ever, ISU coach Greg Lansing would like to visit the friendly confines of Hulman Center a bit more often.
ISU baseball gets back into rhythm with victory
Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
Metro roundup: ISU hands out spring awards
The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
Indiana State loses 2 in MVC softball
Indiana State aspired to upset Illinois State to get at least a doubleheader split in Missouri Valley Conference softball Thursday at Price Field as the Sycamores opened an eight-game season-ending homestand.
Paige Schreiner hit a two-run blast over the left-field fence in the fifth inning and junior Shelby Wilson delivered a sizzling RBI triple down the right-field line in the sixth as ISU ended the day playing well against the league’s highest-scoring offense.
The result was still a 5-3 loss to the Redbirds (26-18, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference) as freshman Halle Humphrey gave up four runs in the first two innings. Humphrey, called upon to pitch the opener as well — she’s the only full-time pitcher remaining on the team — gave up six runs and eight hits as the Sycamores dropped a 6-1 game to start the day.
ISU, MVFC brace for change at FCS football level
It seemed so far-fetched.
Internet rumors circulated that Indiana State had been approached by the Sun Belt Conference to bring the Sycamores’ football team into the Sun Belt’s fold.
The Sun Belt is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision. Bowl football. Big boy football … and all it entails.
ISU football in good spirits after healthy Spring Game
Was Saturday afternoon’s weather an omen for Indiana State football as the Sycamores wrapped up spring practice with the annual Blue-White Game at Memorial Stadium? After several practices conducted in less-than-perfect conditions, they’d like to think so.
Loyola ready to take big step
Loyola University and the Missouri Valley Conference took their first steps together Friday and the MVC is hoping the Ramblers don’t have to take too many baby steps before they become a competitive part of the conference.
Sanford wraps up first spring with ISU
The final day of Indiana State football’s first Mike Sanford experience is upon the Sycamores.
Lansing excited about Etherington's signing with Sycamores
The spring signing period for men’s basketball is usually a time to use available scholarships to load up on junior college additions and transfers.
To find a diamond-in-the-rough at the high school level who can give you four years? That’s harder to come by.
Creighton sweep puts ISU in thick of things
In a difficult early-season Missouri Valley Conference schedule, Indiana State took its lumps. Unenviable back-to-back trips to contenders Missouri State and Wichita State had ISU reeling with five straight MVC losses eight days ago.
Second City in the Valley: Loyola joins the MVC
For the first time in its history, the Missouri Valley Conference will have a home in the Second City.
The Chicago Tribune confirmed Saturday via a Loyola University source that the Ramblers will replace Creighton as the MVC’s 10th team. Loyola — a member of the Horizon League — will join the MVC effective July 1.
Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman — who was part of the MVC search committee that scouted potential replacements for Creighton — confirmed Sunday that the Ramblers were in the MVC loop.
Sycamore baseball holds off Creighton rally
By his own estimation, Indiana State baseball coach Rick Heller has been involved in close to 2,000 baseball games. If anyone has seen it all on the field, he’d be as good a candidate as any.
Devin Moore pitches gem in 6-1 victory over Creighton
A hip injury suffered by Indiana State ace starting pitcher Sean Manaea shuffled the Sycamores’ starting rotation for the second weekend running as it opened a Missouri Valley Conference home series against Creighton on Friday.
Sanford gets 2nd look at Sycamores
In the immediate aftermath of a practice, game, or in Friday’s case for Indiana State, a scrimmage, most football coaches defer to the film to paint a true picture of what was and wasn’t done. ISU coach Mike Sanford is no different. With the flurry of activity on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to get a true evaluation of anything watching it live.
ISU center FN Lutz glad to be back in the middle of things
For someone who missed an entire season due to a knee injury, Indiana State center FN Lutz has certainly kept himself visible since then.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU's Brandon Pounds the top collegian in Sea Ray relays
Indiana State senior Brandon Pounds was the top collegian in the men’s hammer throw and fellow senior Felisha Johnson opened up the Sycamores’ three-day competition at the University of Tennessee’s Sea Ray relays with a second-place finish in the women’s hammer throw.
Stealing records: ISU softball’s offense gaining momentum
The Indiana State softball offense is no juggernaut, but the fog may be clearing on a program that has had a long history of struggles with few signs of consistent winning.
Explosive, dedicated athletes like Morgan Allee and Megan Stone are two reasons to believe this group of Sycamores can spark a turnaround.
The Sycamores are scoring an average of 3.1 runs per game while also ranking in the middle of the Missouri Valley Conference pack in hits and batting average. But the Sycamores are on pace to break the school record for on-base percentage as they lead the MVC in walks, hit-by-pitches, sacrifice bunts and stolen bases.
Allee, with 17 regular-season games to go, broke the school record for stolen bases in a season Tuesday against IUPUI and is among the 10 best in the NCAA. Her total of 30 makes up almost half of ISU’s 74.
“I’m so big [that] they think I won’t go. It works out well,” the stocky shortstop said.
ISU’s QB battle
Quarterback battles come in all shapes and sizes, but one could forgive Indiana State’s Mike Perish, Robert Tonyan Jr. and Trent Lancaster if they feel a bit more beleaguered than your average signal-caller.
Not only is the trio fighting for the right to be named ISU’s starter by the Sycamores’ football opener Aug. 29 at Indiana University, but all three also are trying to learn a new offense, they’re acclimating themselves to new coach Mike Sanford’s different way of running things, and they’re trying to maintain harmony amongst each other, so whoever the ultimate winner is can effectively lead the team without angst.
All of it is playing out during ISU’s spring practice, and so far, none of the quarterback candidates have separated themselves from the pack.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction