Have you ever wondered if dramatic basketball moments would be elevated by the sweet sounds of a wailing Celine Dion? One hero is dedicated to finding out.
This is the header on @TitanicHoops' Twitter page, if you were wondering.
There are levels to the shit, because there are always levels to the shit, but most of what makes a sports highlight video work or not work is a question of restraint, command, and balance. This is true of any piece of art, but when the canvas is this constrained—unfair though it is, you only have like two minutes in which to make that Jason Williams highlight mix come together—every decision matters. It is important to have the right moment, and it is important to nail the other elements that must come together to elevate it all, and make it cohere. That's the challenge, of all art and also of this particular variety of it.
The good news is that sports serves these moments up with regularity; whatever other problems contemporary life throws at us, we can take some solace in the fact that the universe is alive with buzzer beaters, always. But finding the right frame, the most apposite and engaging soundtrack, bringing it all into synchronicity—that's the challenge. It's a problem that the Twitter user @TitanicHoops has solved by picking one chunk of one song and making every sports moment rhyme with it. Our auteur—he did not want to be identified, and so I will not identify him—recognized what is arguably the most histrionic chunk of Celine Dion's historically overwrought "My Heart Will Go On," and further recognized that it would elevate just about any sports highlight into a soaring comic masterwork. And so he has done that, with just about any sports highlight.
Given that this is one of the greatest recent online ideas, it's perhaps surprising that there is no grand creation myth, here. "I wish I could say that I was playing a really meaningful basketball game, the clock was running down, and I pulled up and hit a dramatic 35-footer and everything was in slow motion and that the song just popped into my head at that moment," @TitanicHoops told me. But the actual story is that TH, an ardent soccer fan, saw a tweet from one of the legion of sketchy soccer shitposting accounts on Twitter that used Madame Celine's caterwauling as the soundtrack to a great goal. It occurred to TH that it would work well for basketball, which it does. It later occurred to him that it could work for anything else, which is why he's used it with varying degrees of success as the soundtrack for moments ranging from Barcelona's wild comeback against Paris Saint-Germain to the Academy Awards' climactic Best Picture flub-stravaganza. It worked. It just continued to work.
As befits @TitanicHoops origins as an act of appropriation, the idea of using this particular steamy lump of Dion-ian bombast under sports highlights has spread quickly beyond his account. TH holds know bitterness on that front, although the work has made him something of a stickler. "I'll admit," he told me, "there are times when I see a hockey goal that's paired with it, and when that part of the song"—the introductory James Horner-ian pipe-tootling, and then Celine cannonballing in with EEEEEYYYYYYYYYAAAAAWWWW HERE—"isn't matched with the apex of the action, it does piss me off. Like, how could you screw that up? You can't screw that up."
We are entering college basketball's season of overage, and TH knows that much will be required of him in the weeks ahead. He already has nearly three dozen videos on deck featuring vintage college basketball moments, and is prepared to do whatever is necessary to make sure that each indelible moment from the NCAA Tournament gets the same appropriately indelible soundtrack. "My strategy is dictated around how epic the tournament is going to be," he says. "In theory I could have zero videos if it's a bunch of 20-point blowouts; like, if a team goes on a 12-2 run to cut a lead to eight, I'm not going to do one for it." But if and when the tournament delivers as it always does, he'll be ready to get to work. "The more buzzer beaters there are, the busier I'm going to be," he said. "And I'm totally cool with that."
The work is the work, and TH will do it for as long as he can, or for as long as the games and his bellowing Quebecois muse are still speaking to him. This is how the future is made, and remembered; it is how we all live. Moment by moment, beat after beat. His art—and I do not seek or even want your forgiveness for how this sentence ends—will go on.