This is a special contribution from CEO & Founder, Jamie Kelly.
A giant fell today. One of my heroes. A man whose story would become more important to me than I could have ever imagined.
Stuart Scott died today.
When Stuart Scott came onto the national scene, he brought a fun, never-heard-before voice to sports broadcasting. As a working sports television journalist in the late 1990s, there were a handful of personalities from whom I drew inspiration; Scott and his ESPN colleague Chris Berman were the voices I identified with the most. They just seemed to have fun with every moment, making every stat and recap seem electric, and making me laugh even when my team had suffered a crushing blow.
I tried to emulate that spirit during my three-year stint on Soccer News USA, which aired on Fox Sports Southwest and the Pax Network. I wanted the viewers at home to feel my energy through the screen, and to know that I loved every second of my time with them each week. While the show didn’t survive for the long-haul, that inspiration never died. Here we are nearly 20 years later, and I still hear Stuart Scott cracking jokes in my mind when we go on the air for The Scoop Radio on Monday nights.
But that’s not where the story ends for me. This is personal.
When the news of Scott’s passing came out this morning, I was laying in bed feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t grip my coffee cup… again. This is fairly normal for someone with Fibromyalgia; I drop things pretty regularly because my hands just “let go.” That part frustrates the hell out of me. I remember falling to pieces in a crying, snotty, lump of human being when I dropped one of my daughter’s bottles during a middle-of-the-night feeding when she was an infant.
My body is my worst enemy. Some days I have difficulty dressing myself. Some days I’ll be driving in my own neighborhood and have to pull over and collect my thoughts to figure out where I am. Many days are good, but the vast majority are not. That’s where Scott inspired me once again. Even when he was fighting the battle of his life, he went on camera and made us smile. I watched him religiously, and sat in awe, wondering how he drew the strength to share himself with the world, when he was struggling so mightily in his personal life. It would be so much easier to shut down and shut the world out, something I have done more times than I care to admit.
When I became a parent a few years ago, I knew immediately where the drew his strength from. I never felt more connected to a man I’d never met than when he spoke of his daughters. I finally got it. When you’re a parent, it’s not about you anymore. You fight not for yourself, but for a little human who thinks you hung the moon.
As I laid in my bed feeling sorry for myself for having yet another rough day, the news of Scott’s passing was a crushing blow. It was the last thing any of us wanted to hear this morning. Yes, I cried. And cried. And am still crying. But just as quickly as the tears came, the determination stormed in. Fibromyalgia sucks, but cancer? Cancer?! I could picture that signature Stuart Scott smirk as I told myself, “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, GIRL!”
Stuart Scott may be gone, but the gifts he gave us will never die. Inspiration lives within your soul and becomes part of your fabric. His legacy to all of us is that he taught us how to fight. And fight, I will.