Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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As most of you already know, it has always been my dream to become a sports broadcaster. While growing up, there were certain sports anchors and broadcasters that continued to feed my passion, and sadly, the best of them all is no longer with us. After battling for more than seven years with a rare appendiceal cancer, iconic ESPN anchor, Stuart Scott, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 49.
Over the last few days, not only have I struggled with this article, but I have struggled with Scott's passing as well. Just like every other sports fan in my age bracket, my childhood was spent watching Stuart Scott revolutionize the sports broadcaster position. When all we had ever seen was the same cookie-cutter broadcaster and anchor, Scott changed the game with his modern way of attracting a younger audience. Using his memorable phrases of "As cool as the other side of the pillow" and "BOO-YAH!", Scott had a way of pulling you in with his passion, and that made him an inspiration in more ways than one.
Stuart Scott was one of the first game changers in sports broadcasting because he just did him. As a fellow sports broadcaster (at a MUCH smaller level), I can tell when announcers are putting on a show and not truly being themselves. That was not Stuart. I never met the man, but I learned many lessons from watching him through the years. I learned to always be me, always be better prepared than everyone else, always make sure that I left every ounce of myself on every broadcast, and most of all, always have fun. I don't think that Scott ever meant to turn the page on sports broadcasting, he just wanted to enjoy what he did. Stuart Scott inspired many young broadcasters to pursue a career in sports and even when this ugly disease attacked him back in 2007, Scott continued to inspire.
I was enjoying my senior year in high school when I learned the terrible news of Scott's condition. Cancer had taken many lives before then, but for a 17-year-old kid, I couldn't understand it. How could a guy like Stuart Scott with so much love and passion for life and his family get cancer? I thought that good things were supposed to happen to good people. It was right around that time in my life that I realized that the big man upstairs only gives us as much as we can handle. For the next seven years, Stuart Scott didn't just handle it, he kicked it's butt.
Cancer may have made Scott physically weaker, but he was stronger than ever. While accepting his Jimmy V Award for perseverance this last July at the ESPY Awards, Scott said, "When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live." While many people that get cancer lose hope, it seemed as if Scott gained more of it. Scott wasn't going to let cancer win, that just wasn't his style. Stuart Scott lived with cancer for seven years of his life and while giving a middle finger to the disease, he lived life to the fullest.
We can all learn a lot from Stuart Scott. When the chips are against us, we need to live the best life we can, and like he said, fight like hell. Scott was not the first person to battle cancer and he won't be the last, but just like the great Jim Valvano, he inspired us to never give up. I will admit that there have been points in my life that I was ready to quit, but if guys like Scott and Valvano are still smiling and loving life, then how can I give up? Life is too short to let it bring you down, so maybe we should all take a lesson from them by fighting a little harder and loving a little more.
On behalf of 'Our Sports Report', we want to send our deepest thoughts, prayers and condolences to Scott's friends and family. Scott had a way of changing the game, and if we can all learn to be true to ourselves and love like crazy, then maybe we can one day inspire those around us as much as Stuart Scott inspired those around him. Rest in peace, Stuart, you will be forever missed and there will never be another.