Sunday was a sad day in the field of sports broadcast and journalism.
Stuart Scott, longtime member of ESPN, the man who brought a loose, fun approach to the network's flagship show SportsCenter, made "booyah" and "cooler than the other side of the pillow" popular, passed away after fighting his third bout with appendiceal cancer at the age of 49.
At times, I will sleep in on a Sunday morning. A creature of habit, I check email, and yes, even Twitter on my phone.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated tweeted that sources close to the network told him that Scott had died. Unfortunately, Deitsch's sources were right.
A few minutes later, Hannah Storm broke the heartbreaking news that her friend and colleague had passed. I would be lying if I said I did not get emotional watching ESPN's wonderful tribute to Stuart. Following that, the NFL Countdown crew spent the first segment remembering him. Merril Hodge, who battled stage two non-Hodgkins lymphoma back in 2003, told a story about the support Scott gave him during his treatment.
Sometimes we forget that these anchors and analysts are human. We remembered it today, and it broke our hearts as they held back tears on the air.
Rich Eisen, who co-anchored SportsCenter with Scott before he left to help launch the NFL Network, called him his "TV Wife," and he too held back tears as he remembered his friend during Gameday Morning.
The outpouring of condolences on social media and during broadcasts of today's NFL playoff games and sporting events around the country showed us the large impact that Stuart Scott had on the industry and how he became a household name for many. It did not matter how big of a sports fan you were, you knew Scott in some way. Maybe just as the "booyah guy."
The story of Scott's cancer came to light for many when he was awarded the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance in July 2014 during the ESPYs. His speech touched millions and everyone saw another side of Stuart. One that provided hope and encouragement to those battling cancer as well.
Most people after the ESPYs speech knew what Scott was going through with treatment, surgeries, etc. For those who watched Monday Night Football this season would see John Buccigross and Steve Levy filling in for Scott on the MNF crew. Suzy Kolber, another fill-in, along with the rest of the crew, gave an emotional shout out to him during the Falcons-Packers game this season.
Hearing stories as the day has gone, he was as genuine off air as he was on the air. There could be another book about ESPN with just Stuart Scott stories.
The saddest part about Scott's passing is that he was a remarkable talent who was taken from us way too soon by a disease that impacts everyone. We also got a look into his personal life, and how much being a father meant to him.
I have friends and family who have battled, beaten and lost the fight to cancer. There's a good chance all of you have, too. A relative of mine was diagnosed a few days before Christmas.
This is the line from his ESPYs speech that gets me every time I watch it:
“When you die it 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.”
It is a reminder to encourage those fighting to keep up the good fight, to be there for them, and most of all, to not let cancer dictate their life.
Live everyday and every moment like it was your last, because you never know when it might be your last.
Thank you, Stuart Scott. You made a difference. You were someone who had the enthusiasm we all wish to have when we go to work, and you were an inspiration off camera as you battled cancer and live for the moment as you did it.
As a kid who would watch the same SportsCenter in the morning (the days before 24/7 SportsCenter) who dreamed of sitting at that desk and doing highlights (I've strayed more toward sports radio), you were one of the many that inspired me to get into this field, and you will still be an inspiration as I continue to work and try to reach my goals.
Gone too soon. But he will never be forgotten.
Stuart Scott's Obituary from ESPN