The Daily Gamecock

Column: Scott to be fondly remembered

January 4 was a Sunday. I rolled out of bed around ten and turned my TV to ESPN, a morning tradition I’ve held since I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was the second day of the NFL Wild Card round, and I was expecting to see NFL Live discuss Andy Dalton’s inabilities to win a playoff game or maybe a breakdown of DeMarco Murray’s second half rushes this season. What I saw, however, was a tough pill to swallow.

“Stuart Scott. 1965-2015.”           

The longtime ESPN anchor passed away after his third long battle with cancer. He was 49.

For those of you that didn’t have the pleasure of watching Scott, know that he was a game-changer in the world of sports reporting. He was a polarizing figure that taught us it was okay to go nuts when we saw a great sports moment, even if you were the one reporting on it. An alumnus of the University of North Carolina, Scott’s recaps of Duke-UNC basketball games were must-see TV. As a Duke fan, I always looked forward to watching him call the highlights, even in a Blue Devil defeat. His smile lit up the room when the Tar Heels pulled out a win, and he would cheer dunks and fancy assists without a second thought. However, he was just as gracious in a defeat, giving credit to the winners where credit was due. He was never condescending; he never thought he was above anyone. He was simply a man that had a passion for sports, and he used his stage to share his passion with the world.

My fondest memories of Scott aren’t necessarily ones that directly involve him. They’re the summer days of Wiffle Ball with my friends, launching a ball over the roof of my house and screaming Scott’s classic “BOOYAH!” as I rounded the bases. They reside as games of pickup basketball, where a tough rebound would be rewarded with a “Call him the Windex Man, ‘cause he’s cleaning the glass!” Nailing an oral presentation in class would earn you the distinction of “cool as the other side of the pillow.” Scott was the wordsmith of SportsCenter, and he had a quip for any and every situation.

Above all, Scott was a fighter. He was a role model to those struggling with adversity as he battled his cancer with everything he had. During his 2014 ESPY Awards speech, he was quoted as saying, “When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.” And in that way he did beat cancer. He lived his life deliberately, with real purpose. He, in the words of the late Jim Valvano, “never gave up."

So thank you, Stu, for your poise, for your resolve and for your fight. You truly were as cool as the other side of the pillow.