They say you never miss someone until they are gone. On January 4, 2015, ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott (pictured) passed away, and almost immediately, social media erupted with sorrow. The longtime “SportsCenter” star died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 49. Though Scott remained part of the ESPN team, he underwent extensive chemotherapy and surgery to fight the disease.
Stuart Scott first started television sports casting in 1993 on ESPN2. If you grew up in the United States during the 1990s, you may remember seeing him on “SportsNight.” As a female and growing sports fan, I appreciated just how much personality Scott brought to the screen. In celebration of his life, here are five lessons we learned from the sports aficionado:
1. It’s not the number of years you live but the life in your years.
Stuart Scott announced his battle with cancer in 2007. Throughout his time with cancer, he remained with ESPN and curated several weekend features, including an ESPY appearance in 2014. Since his role on SportsCenter was no longer routine, he publically led an active life, supporting charities and maintaining a regular workout regimen. His demeanor was full with a commitment to life, and he maintained his sense of curiosity and contribution to sports.
2. You can bring your personality to the workplace.
Stuart Scott had a notable personality at the sports desk. With exciting slogans, like, “Boo-ya!” and “Cooler than the other side of a pillow!” he brought sports highlights to life. Scott reminds us that you are unique when you share your true self and that true self might enhance the scripts before you. In remembering him, many colleagues from ESPN recalled Scott’s warm and witty personality.
3. You are what you choose to be in difficult situations.
Few people know that Stuart Scott suffered an injury that might have made some question a career in front of cameras. A few years in to his contract with ESPN, Scott suffered an eye injury during a practice mini-camp with the New York Jets team. While trying to catch a ball, the pass injured his right eye and Scott had to have surgery to save his eye and the recovery process took a few months. Scott quickly recovered and returned to his love of sports coverage and never looked back, following his dreams to remain in sports media.
4. Preserve your joy in the face of adversity.
Most public figures that battle disease often withdraw from the public eye, because they know that battling disease can be very draining and debilitating. Scott, however, became more open in sharing his journey in order to show that life with cancer does not mean a less-meaningful life. Scott worked for a number of charities to bring allies, such as Lance Armstrong, to support cancer networks and cancer research.
5. You’re a role model, even if you think no one is watching.
Scott Stuart was one-of-a-kind. His collegiate intellect and non-athletic contributions to the sports world were rare and inspiring. His recognition, like to many gems, was highlighted in his last years and in his death, but it is clear that many followed his work and admired his legacy. May his soul rest in peace.
Stuart Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15. His girlfriend, Kristin Spodobalski, is said to have been by his side throughout his battle with cancer. For more on Scott’s legacy, watch this tribute by ESPN: