We here at Grizzly Bear Blues are a small part of a much larger community.
A community of sports fans, of former little boys and girls who grew up and still love the games that we knew and were a part of in our youth. As all of us age, our love stays with us, but is expressed in different ways. Some of us are fans of the game itself, others diehard supporters of a certain team. Some, like the writers here at GBB, blog about the sport and team they are passionate about. Others, professional media types, put in years and years of hard work and time away from their families to earn their living covering the Herculean feats of the athletes our society values so much. If you are fortunate enough, and tenacious enough, maybe you can become that athlete that gets written or spoken about, who gets to continue to play the child's game professionally.
All of us in sports, from the fan to the athlete and everyone in between, are like a very extended family. And today we all owe a large debt to, and grieve for, Stuart Scott.
The North Carolina alum who revolutionized sportscasting over the course of his 20-plus year career at ESPN was, if nothing else, one of the most groundbreaking sports journalists of a generation. Famous for catchphrases like "as cool as the other side of the pillow" and "boo-yah", he brought a hip-hop style and flare to SportsCenter and ESPN that did not exist before. Like anyone who is the first through the door of change, he was disliked by some, misunderstood by more, and the center of controversy at times during his career. But he was who he was; he was genuine, he was funny, and he was passionate.
That passion will be what I will always remember about Stuart Scott. I was inspired by him as a youth, watching his broadcasts with his various partners through the years. His was always must-see TV, and in some cases he was just as much a part of the program as the athletes he was covering. His energy was contagious. You could tell he was truly passionate about what he was doing. As the years went on, and he got more opportunity professionally, his impact and reach became larger and longer. I love sports, and I wanted to find something to do in my life that I could have that same fire and passion for, like Stuart Scott had.
Even through the final years of his life, whether it be through his work or the final speech he gave when accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, he inspired people through his fight, his positive outlook, and his message of beating cancer through living life, not defeating the disease.
He was a sportscasting icon who nonetheless took the most pride in another title - Father. In that speech, and in the subsequent video tributes and reports following his passing, a man I have never met has inspired me in one last way. Love truly is the most powerful force in this imperfect world: Love for what you do, love for all you encounter, and love for life itself. Live life to the fullest, and do it with the fullest of hearts.
Sometimes it can seem to be hyperbolic when waxing nostalgic about celebrities or public figures who have passed. Most have never met them, and yet a community, a country, or a city mourns, depending on the figure. The truth of the matter is, we did know them. The public version. The side of them that it takes incredible courage to display, opened up to judgment, especially when different or an agent of change. For our community, the sports community, today we lost one of the greatest agents of change in sports journalism, for the better, of a generation.
We send our deepest condolences to all those who knew the Stuart Scott we didn't, the private Stuart Scott, especially his two daughters who have lost their father. We remember all the interviews with Presidents and athletes, all those highlights that had us rolling with laughter. Those moments in sports from the past that impacted us all so much and yet were made that much better through having had him describe them as only he could.
Today we remember and are thankful for having had him in our sports community. It, and the world itself, are truly better for having had him be a part.
Godspeed Stuart Scott. Rest in Peace.