“Our life’s journey is really about the people that touch us.”
Over the course of 14 minutes at the 2014 ESPY Awards, long-time SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott provided a thoughtful, heart-felt address to the globe from deep within his personal struggles and triumphs over the course of what has been a roller coaster ride since being diagnosed with cancer in 2007.
Well known and beloved for his energy, passion and introducing phrases such as "boo-ya" and "cooler than the other side of the pillow" into the lexicon (and now being introduced by Jack Bauer), Scott's journey transcends sports.
For his perseverance in the face of unmeasurable hurdles, no better encapsulated by the fact he spent a week in the hospital prior to the event, he was rightfully honored with the Jimmy V Award and given the podium in front of a global concourse to inspire all:
There were other historic moments on the night, such as the trailblazer Michael Sam being honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and Josh Sweeney taking home the inaugural Pat Tillman Award.
Both will go down in the annuals of history, as will Scott's impassioned speech that anyone, no matter the language, can relate to on a daily basis.
The plain human side of the delivery was staggering. In a world that idolizes athletes, and even those who work in the media to cover them, the ability to relate with Scott perhaps put things over the edge. When all was said and done, his focus was on something simple and natural to anyone—his family:
Scott told ABC News’ Robin Roberts that his focus on survival centers on his daughters, Taelor and Sydni:
“I want to walk them down the aisle,” he said. “There are a lot of great upstanding reasons why, because I’m their dad. I want to share that moment with them.”
“There are a couple of reasons that are just selfish and competitive, because I don’t want no other dude doing it,” he said. “That’s my job. That’s my role. I want them to call me when they’re 26-years-old and they want a condo that they can’t really afford but I want them to call me and say, ‘Dad can you give me a loan?,’ because I want to say yes.”
Call it raw. Call it inspiring. But most of all, call it a man with a firm understanding of his own morality and ability to pass what he has learned on a tumultuous trek to anyone who will listen.
The reactions, and there were many, speak for themselves. Below are a few, from ESPN's Dan Graziano, Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers and NFL Network's Albert Breer:
We'll all be better at everything we do tomorrow because we watched @StuartScott tonight. Keep scrapping, dude.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 17, 2014
Amazing speech, Stuart Scott. Not sure how he stayed as composed as he did.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 17, 2014
One doesn't have to know Scott personally to understand that all he wants is to provide an uplifting message to those experiencing a struggle, both small and large. At its most basic explanation, Scott wants us to know we're all in the fight together.
There's no question Scott's illustrious career has a new highlight. And he'd surely want it no other way.