By Greg Smith
As I mourn Stuart Scott’s passing, I wonder if there is any closer connection in the media then that between the average fan and the favorite sportscaster.
The sportscaster is our buddy who goes to all the games and tells us the inside scoop. Their message arrives every day as a constant in our lives giving us the good news or bad news, depending on who we root for. Each does so with unique style and personality. Many of us force our way through the newscast because we need to stay informed, but we reward ourselves with the sportscast. And because of the joy they bring, just by the nature of what they do, we become connected to the sportscaster.
In my house, the voice of the sportscaster is the most prevalent reverberation booming from my surround sound daily. It starts with Mike and Mike in the darkness of the morning, and ends with the overnight repeating SportsCenter that I have fallen asleep on and listened to in my dreams a few times before grabbing the remote and completing the cycle. I’m not always paying attention, but the personalities on ESPN are constant company. They are my closest friends.
That’s why Stuart Scott’s death struck me so hard. In the hours and days since the tragic news, I’ve come to realize that what hurts is that I’ve lost not only a friend, but someone like family. Someone who was in my house every day.
Once, I aspired to BE Stuart Scott. I was a sportscaster from high school through college and worked professionally, ascending to broadcasts on game day for the Arizona Cardinals and covering Phoenix Suns games for major market radio stations. That was before I recognized a calling to broadcast about disability issues and built a show that was thriving by the mid-90s. And that’s when Stuart Scott came on the scene.
Remember how when we first saw him, we were captivated by how he wasn’t “acting” like a stereotypical sportscaster? He was being himself. And that honesty is what captured us and allowed him into our hearts.
After 21 years of entertaining and informing us, he inspired us with his remarks at the 2014 ESPYs when he was presented the Jimmy V Perseverance award: “When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.”
I don’t think you have to be a cancer survivor to take wisdom and inspiration from those words. How do you live? Why do you live? In which manner do you live? For me, at age 50 with severe muscular dystrophy, those words and the way Stuart lived give me a sense of urgency to live with the purpose of inspiring people and enjoying the love of my children.
Stuart’s voice is silent now, but I for one, propose that his feel-good vernacular live on forever. At some point, when the time is right, I hope ESPN decides to encourage the occasional “Boo-Yow” as a tribute to the man who was a friend and entertainer to millions for over two decades.
What do you think?