I woke up at 5:30 am this morning with a little more energy and a lot more gratitude. Before I fell asleep last night, I saw ESPN analyst Stuart Scott’s speech from the ESPYs. And he had me, and possibly many others, sobbing. Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor emanating with wit and charisma, in one of the most vulnerable struggles in his life, delivers one of the most inspiring speeches I’ve ever seen. Full of respect, gratitude and love, he is a living inspiration to anyone, myself included.
There are so many things I can complain about on a daily basis. But Stuart has that many more things he could complain about. He is an inspiration because he refuses to let cancer impact the way he lives his life. He continues to do his job and boy does he do it well. More importantly, however, is Stuart’s unwavering dedication to his two daughters. Poignantly illustrated at the end of his speech, he announced that his oldest daughter couldn’t be at the ESPYs because she’s taking summer classes as a college sophomore, and he understood completely and encouraged her to “do you.” Without a doubt he cherishes the relationships he has with both of them and understands that they need to develop into independent women. And he remains as supportive and doting as ever.
Deborah Kotz of the Boston Globe also saw Stuart’s speech and expressed the same sentiments as the masses, but her piece this morning points out one point that should also be injected into this conversation – what if there’s nothing left in one’s tank?. End of life discussions have been a sensitive issue, most recently when the myth of “death panels” were in the forefront of political discourse in 2012. I agree with Ms. Kotz that those conversations are crucial at any stage in life and many resources exist to facilitate the conversation. Accepting one’s mortality, in my opinion, is the only way to truly live a life with courage. The risks are real – unhealthy lifestyles can lead to all types of chronic and infectious diseases; natural and man-made accidents happen; and sometimes we can only explain it as “bad luck.”
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer,” he said. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
At the end of the day, it is what we make of each day. Like Jimmy Valvano before him, Stuart reminds us that living is a choice. And we have that choice every day.