Stuart Scott’s recent speech at the ESPY’s (in acceptance of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award) was awe-inspiring. His words definitely gave me pause. When I think about the challenges in my own life: massive student loans, a wife who suffers from depression, and a toddler who can’t control her emotions, they sometimes seem insurmountable. Then I think about Stuart Scott: he’s an anchor on ESPN’s Sports Center, a father of two daughters, and has … cancer.
Here are five things about Scott’s outlook on life, his strength, and determination that make me want to be a better man, a better human being, and a better parent:
1. Don’t Give Up. And Fight Like Hell.
Jimmy Valvano, (Jimmy V), was a successful and charismatic college basketball coach who passed away in 1993 from cancer. He was known for his perseverance as he battled his illness which makes Scott the perfect recipient for the award. Scott explained that earlier just that week, he was having liver and kidney failure and had tubes running through every opening of his body. He wasn’t even sure he’d be able to attend the ESPY’s. He quoted Jimmy Valvano: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” He then challenged the audience at the ESPYs to “Live. Live. Fight like hell.”
2. Life Isn’t a Solo Venture.
Scott stated in his speech, “This whole fight, this journey thing, is not a solo venture. . . . This is something that requires support.” Scott followed up his advice to “Fight like hell” by stating, “And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”
My thoughts went to my own life. I most definitely require help and support from friends and family at times. My wife recently hit rock bottom with her depression, and without the help of some friends close by who offered to watch our toddler, we would have had a difficult time making it through the week. Scott’s speech made me realize I need to give that support back as well — I need to support others in my life when they are struggling and in need, too.
3. As Long as You Have Life, Live It.
Scott also says: “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
I love this statement. No matter what life may bring, we don’t have to let it defeat us. We beat challenges, whether they be a pending foreclosure, an ongoing divorce, or the loss of a loved one by living in a way that honors life itself. It’s a lesson that I take to heart when I think, for example, of crushing financial pressure and all the fears associated with it that often affects all aspects of how I approach my life. I can’t let it take me over.
4. Being a Parent is Priority #1.
Stuart Scott may be a busy celebrity, but that hasn’t stopped him from being heavily involved in his two daughters’ lives. He attends their sporting events, and his very-involved style of parenting has even caused him to be called a “tyrant” on occasion by his daughters. However, although Scott is important in the lives of his daughters, he was sure to make it clear that his daughters are just as important to him. He described them as the best thing he has ever done in his life, and explained that they’ve helped him endure all the struggles associated with his illness. All parents can relate to this on some level, but Scott has inspired me to try to remember it in every moment.
5. Push the Limits of Your Physical Strength.
Stuart Scott’s physicality is nothing short of amazing, even for someone who isn’t battling cancer. He engages in vigorous exercise. He works long hours at ESPN. He spends time with his daughters. He travels regularly. Just watching him exercise with his personal trainer is tiring. Why does he engage is so much physical activity? Here’s how Scott explains it: “I have to feel as much as I can as though I don’t have cancer, although I think about cancer 20 times a day.” In the ESPN feature, Scott comes across another man who is also struggling with cancer and he takes the time to give the man a hug and counsel him to “live your life.” A powerful message for anybody regardless of circumstance.
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