The sports world lost a titan of the teleprompter over the past weekend. Stuart Scott, the charismatic, energetic African-American host of ESPN staples like Sportscenter and Monday Night Countdown, passed away after battle with cancer. He was 49.
Rightfully, there are loads of tributes in his honor. From ESPN… to ABC anchor Hannah Storm…
to Scott’s longtime co-host Rich Eisen.
Part of me would like to say that I will remember Stuart Scott for his energy and for his catchphrases (“Boo-Yah!!”, “Cooler than the other side of the pillow,” and so on). But honestly, I will remember that when he started in 1993, Scott took a then-fringe genre like hip-hop and helped make it mainstream via sports. Not everyone appreciated his style but such bigoted, hateful messages only fueled Scott. At a time when professional broadcasting seemingly needed the gravitas of a Kronkite, or the perfect non-accent of Brokaw, Scott shared his love of sports in a most un-WASP manner. And it worked. His journalistic style was accepted by mainstream American culture. He made news accessible and enjoyable to the American populace, the majority of whom were not and are not stuffy, staid, and stiff.
2014 was a rough year for race relations as we were reminded that racism is alive and well in the United States. Many want 2015 to bring with it peace and harmony in American society and between people of all races. May the memory of Stuart Scott and the outpouring of grief and admiration for this trailblazer help bring about that unity this year as we remember what we can learn and grow from encountering each other’s unique personality and heritage.
You beat cancer by how you live,
why you live,
and the manner in which you live.
So live. Live.
Fight like hell.
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Cover Image — ESPN SportsCenter Set | Flickr User ross Cidlowski | Flickr Creative Commons, available here.