Like most 24-year-old sports fans, Stuart Scott on SportsCenter is what I grew up watching every day. He was the dope, hip, and completely unfiltered sportscaster that revolutionized the way sports news is consumed.
That’s because, as his numerous colleagues have all said, Stuart was Stuart on TV. And I’m lucky enough to have experienced that at such an impressionable age.
Even as I sit here writing this now, Stu’s impact on my life is evident. The way I write every day – my tone, mannerisms, and diction – it’s pretty incredible when you take a second to think about it.
Perhaps more tragically—although I’m sure you’ll perceive this different than I—Scott has been a force in my life posthumously more than he was while he was alive. So it comes with a bit of heartache and solace that I reflect on the one-year anniversary of Scott’s death.
My father passed away in October of this past year.
Like Stuart Scott, he died way too young from that finicky bitch known as cancer. It sucks, but with that comes a silver lining.
My dad was a huge sports fan, and it’s one of the few things he and I truly shared together. The fact he was a die hard Sox fan and I bleed my own shade of Cubbie blue was irrelevant. Sports were everything.
No, sports are everything.
Which is why, while coping over the past few months, the man who so personally projected sports on a nightly basis came to the forefront of my life yet again.
See, every time I get angry or upset about how unfair life is, I watch the speech Stuart Scott gave at the 2014 ESPY Awards. You’ve seen it before, but I implore you to take time and watch it again. And again.
Because it works. Even if you haven’t been directly affected by cancer or deadly illness, it works.
Stuart Scott continues to inspire and will for years to come.
For a 24-year-old guy who hadn’t really fathomed the sheer destruction of cancer yet, Stu Scott’s lasting legacy has helped me immensely.
And that’s what I’ll always remember about him most.
Not the ‘BOO-YAH’s’ (OK, maybe a little) or Stuart’s countless other catchphrases we all knew so well and still cherish.
Shortly after my dad’s passing, I was shopping at Barnes and Noble. I love to read and was there for Shea Serrano’s book about rap records over the years.
I started walking to the checkout line – right near the music section – when something gravitated me to check the sports section.
I walked downstairs and skimmed the shelves for no more than 30 seconds, when Stuart Scott’s, Every Day I Fight was staring me right in the face. I didn’t even check the price tag, I just grabbed it out of pure instinct.
In that moment, I knew what I had come for.
— Bill Blenichick (@brian_lendino) January 4, 2016
Needless to say, I finished that one rather quickly. With every printed word, you can hear and feel that unmistakable Stuart voice that rang for years on ESPN. It was captivating because everything Stuart did was.
One particular quote resonated with me:
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”
In Stuart’s ESPY speech he said that when you’re too tired to fight, lay down, close your eyes and let someone else fight for you.
Well, Pops, you’re gone and there’s nothing we can do about that. But I’m still here, fighting every day. And I have Stuart Scott’s example to thank for that.