Simple logic tells us that the death of a celebrity we never met shouldn’t really faze us. After all, how could the loss of somebody who did not know that we existed affect us on a personal level?
I disagree strongly with this.
While we may never form an actual relationship with somebody who we see on TV, or some other media platform, that doesn’t mean we can’t come to form an intimate connection with them. If they regularly entire our lives via a television set, then, by virtue, they are a part of our lives.
And that’s a part that goes missing if they die.
Stuart Scott has been an iconic member of ESPN, and namely SportsCenter, since the mid-’90s. That happens to be about the same I started watching sports. Scott was one of many great personalities on the highlight show at the time, along with Rich Eisen, Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, and it made for an extremely entertaining event.
I watched it every day. Multiple times.
Mind you, this was before every household had a computer. You couldn’t just log on and instantly find a score at a couple taps of your fingers. My generation actually relied on SportsCenter for scores and highlights.
And no one delivered those better than Stuart Scott. The man had style. His catch phrases have become a permanent part of pop culture. No one will ever stop saying “boo-yah!”
So when he died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer, a part of my childhood died as well.
I have a lot of fond memories of watching SportsCenter, with Scott at the helm, so who’s to say that those memories are any less real than ones I’ve had with actual people?
It may have been through a television screen, but I knew Stuart Scott. So you’re damn well right that his death is extremely saddening. And I think I speak for every sports fan who grew up watching the man.
Like all great men, his legacy will live on. No one will forget his fantastic ESPYs speech last summer, when he made it to the show despite being in the thick of chemotherapy treatment, and delivered an extremely heartfelt, inspirational and poignant speech that reflected his lifelong mastery of words.
His former colleague, Rich Eisen, summed up the emotion that was felt throughout the sports community on the day, with an equally as impassioned — and impromptu — speech as he was hosting a show on the NFL Network.
Who’s to say that me, or any other sports fan who never met Scott, shouldn’t be affected?
That we are affected shows that while we may not all be connected by formal handshakes and introductions, that even in this big world, we’re all connected by humanity.