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One Shining Moment

One Shining Moment is probably the most recognized song in sports.  College basketball players dream of hearing it after winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  The song is played while a three-minute video shows the best plays of the three-week tournament.

            Monday night, April 4 right after the championship game is played in New Orleans, One Shining Moment will signal the end of March Madness, the 2022 tournament.  Every team and every game will be featured. Slam dunks. High arching three-point shots. Back-door cuts. Alley-oops.   

            And this year two Indiana cheerleaders will surely be featured in their shining moment. During the Indiana and St. Mary’s game on March 17, Cassidy Cerny and Nathan Paris brought the crowd to its feet.

            Two minutes into the second half, the ball bounced high above the rim of the goal, above the backboard and didn’t come down.  It hit the top of the backboard, then rolled to a stop balanced on a metal support rod and the backboard – thirteen feet high.

            Three referees and ten basketball players momentarily froze in place looking up.  The crowd became quiet. When a ball gets stuck between the rim of the goal and the backboard, a player jumps and tips it free. But no player can jump to the top of the backboard.  

            A referee grabbed a mop that is kept courtside to wipe sweat off the floor after players hit the hardwood going after loose balls.  Holding the mop by its base, the ref reached the handle toward the ball.  It was too short.  Even standing on a folding chair, he couldn’t hold the handle high enough to dislodge the ball. The television announcer suggested that play could continue with another ball or maybe a tall player could stand in the chair.

            Cassidy and Nathan, Indiana cheerleaders, ran onto the court.  The crowd cheered.  The announcer called, “Yes, cheerleaders!  Get her up!”   Nathan lifted Cassidy into the air and she landed her feet into his hands.  He extended his arms straight as she stood perfectly balanced.

            The announcer said, “Get her the mop!” It wasn’t needed.  Nathan stood steady and Cassidy rolled the ball along the metal support, grabbed it with both hands, and tossed it down to the referee. 

            Imagine the many times Nathan and Cassidy practiced this stunt.  Imagine the strength, the balance required by both.  Normally, they, their cheerleading teammates, and all cheerleaders perform during game halftimes and time-outs, but are never featured on television broadcasts.  But this extension stunt was witnessed live; the youtube.com video has been viewed 1½ million times.

            On March 26, during the Duke and Arkansas game, the ball again lodged on top of the backboard and Arkansas cheerleaders immediately retrieved it, just as Cassidy and Nathan had done.    

            The lyrics of One Shining Moment says, ‘And all the years no one knows just how hard you worked, but now it shows.’               

One Shining Moment always makes me wonder how many shining moments are never caught on camera.