One of the elements of sports that I love is the scope in which it reaches, nations come together, people support each other, and strangers talk about the event(s). And sometimes, we are all touched by the actions and words of someone in the spotlight, like Lou Gehrig’s speech, or Stuart Scott’s words during his ESPY speech. I would be hard pressed to find someone I know who has not been affected by a friend, family member, or coworker who has fought cancer. We all know the hardship it can bring watching a once strong person fall. As many of you who follow sports and social media know by now, Stuart Scott said:
“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, so live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”
I only wish I was able to eulogize my grandfather in words so insightful; he, too died of stomach cancer. The take-away for me in this speech is the strength of the human spirit, the realization, yet determination to battle that which is seemingly out of one’s control. Some win, and many lose that battle, however the approach to do, all that one can, is remarkable. When my grandfather was dying, and knew his time was near, I hopped a plane and spent his last 2 days doing what we did, watching baseball and gesturing wildly during the highs and lows, like fans do. That time was part of how he lived, and we enjoyed the manner in which he lived, with good spirits and dignity. And when he was too tired, I fought for him.
Sports brings the masses together and when fans across the world can look to, although posthumously, a champion off the field, that is something we can all get together on and realize there are elements in heroes, in those who fight, that cross boundaries and touch us all who have a competitive spirit, in sports, and in life. RIP Stuart Scott, and thank you for your moving words that inspire many.