Sunday, January 4, 2015
THE LESSONS OF STUART SCOTT
Whether you liked Stuart Scott as a sportscaster is irrelevant. We live in a world where people
judge and make snap decisions about others based on how they look, dress, talk, and act even
though they don't take two minutes to find out for themselves what a person is really like.
It's sad, but that's just how most people in our society operate.
Not everybody liked Scott or his schtick on ESPN. Some people like to get their sports
without the "boo-yeahs", "bams", and pillows that are always cooler on the other side.
There isn't a person who walked this earth or worked in television that's universally adored.
Not even Stuart Scott. Using his own words, he had "his haters".
However, nearly everyone should admire Scott for the path he blazed, the doors he opened,
his passion for his job, love for his daughters, but most of all, we should respect and remember
Scott because he never gave up and refused to quit living as cancer was ravaging his body.
As Tim Robbins' character, Andy Dufrane, said in Shawshank Redemption, "you can either
get busy living or get busy dying."
That quote came to mind when I saw video of Scott doing mixed martials arts and working
out hard just hours after going through brutal chemotherapy treatments. It would've been
so easy for him to say, "I'm going home to lay on the couch all day", but he didn't.
Instead, Scott put on his workout gear and pounded heavy bags and a sparring partner until
he squeezed every ounce of energy he had in his cancer-ravaged body. He wanted to live as
he was clearly dying. Like Jimmy Valvano before him, Scott never gave up. He never, ever
I met Stuart Scott when we were at UNC majoring in Radio, Television, and Movie
Production taking a few of the same courses in 1985. As my friends can tell you, I never
forget a face and I never forgot Scott. He was a different kind of cat. I got into the sports
television industry like Scott and ran into him covering events along the way. Scott always
made like he remembered me even though he probably didn't.
Scott dared to dream and dared to be different. He went against the grain and his style didn't
always sit well with the white-establishment in television. But Scott was a man of conviction
and he believed in himself and his style. Nobody at ESPN will ever forget him.
Life was short before Stuart Scott passed at the age of 49, but for all those who fall in the
same age range, it got a whole lot shorter today. You can be young, on top of your profession,
and living the dream like Scott was, and then boom. Your life begins to fall apart.
Tomorrow is not promised. The death of Scott today really made that hit home. But Scott
showed us that even when you're struggling or worse yet, battling cancer and facing death,
we should keep up the fight and keep living every single day.