I don’t watch SportsCenter all that often anymore, and not the late-night editions, which is where Stuart Scott was more in recent years.
But, like so many others, I grew up on SportsCenter, remember when espn2 was the edgy, lowercase station, and yet am young enough to not remember an ESPN without Stuart Scott. He was so good, funny and smooth, that it wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate him — rather, he was so ubiquitous, so definitively the best mix of catchphrase, information and poise that Scott became part of the foundation, the permanence, of ESPN to me.
You knew it was a big occasion when Stuart Scott was on the screen. You knew the broadcast was going to be smart, funny and sharp.
I knew he had cancer, knew he was on the downslide. How can you not be after so many years, so many re-occurrences, when you aren’t on the air for months and on-air talent publicly asks you to keep fighting? But it was still a shock, even to colleagues who had pre-taped tributes. And so it was to many of us.
When a guy like Scott — so talented, driven, giving, beloved and courageous — goes so early, he is rightly mourned, remembered and missed. What also should happen, and what I think he got all of us ready for, is to not think that, just because Scott was this tremendous all-around human being, that we can’t be at least a little like him.
Maybe we won’t be at the top of our field, or a mentor to colleagues and strangers, or parents at all. God willing, we’ll never have to be so strong and inspiring in the face of life-threatening illness. But those traits of Scott are not superhuman, or attainable only through narrow circumstances or under duress. They are all reachable by us, if we decide we want to pursue them.
These are but some inadequate words about a guy I never met, but he’s already reminded me to keep fighting, no matter what the obstacles, big or small. I hope I’ll do as much.