I didn’t realize the impact that Stuart Scott had on my life until today. Initially when I read on my phone this morning that he had died, I was deeply saddened. As I listened to his old highlights, a thousand memories rushed in my head of late nights watching Sportscenter after basketball practice or a workout at the gym. I remembered watching Sportscenter with my brothers or friends, ditching class in high school or at a sleepover. I remembered taking study breaks in college listening to Stu give highlights of the day’s events, giving me a much needed breather from a cramming session for a test that I should have been studying for weeks for. All of these memories are great, but it wasn’t until I had a chance to watch a few of the tribute videos that ESPN made that I truly realized that this man, whom I’ve never met, has had an actual impact on the kind of life that I lead today.
Whenever I received an assignment in school to make a poster or a presentation on what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a sports anchor (just ask my Mom, she probably still has the posters in a box somewhere in her house). The main reason behind this was initially my love of sports. But Stuart Scott made me want to be like him, and do what he did. ESPN did a great job in their tributes outlining what he was able to do for the industry of sports broadcasting in terms of bringing a new style and flair, and reaching a new audience that hadn’t been reached previously. This is all great, but to me, Stuart accomplished more than simply reaching a new audience of television viewers; I wanted to be like him. He didn’t care what people thought of him, he was flashy and he was brash. He was clearly confident, but never cocky.
Although I didn’t end up as an anchor on Sportscenter, I feel like I bring that same confidence, flash, and flair to my job every day. I want to be the best at what I do and I want to be myself doing it. Until today, I hadn’t realized that Stuart helped me gain some of these traits that have shaped (in part) the confident person I’ve become. Seeing his confidence even as he became as weak as he did towards the end of his life was truly inspirational. His final ESPY speech to me goes down as one of the most inspirational of all time, especially considering the fragile state he was in at that time. I aspire to have that same confidence and motivation to conquer whatever life throws at me, however hard and debilitating it may be.
So thank you Stu. To me, you will forever be “as cool as the other side of the pillow.”