Leave Your Mark

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We can all remember the first time we experienced a loss due to cancer. I had a best friend who lost his father to cancer while we were in middle school. It was a devastating loss he suffered. I remember witnessing the intense pain he felt, his eyes constantly burning red from the unstoppable tears. I mourned his pain in his loss, but I never shared a tear. I was young, and this was a first for me.

When I was 16, I had an uncle die of cancer. I believe I only met him once or twice before his death. This death took me to Cadiz, Kentucky, as well as my first strip club. Death and breasts, makes sense to me. To the point, this cancer death left me with little emotions regarding cancer or his death.

January 4, 2015, eight years after being diagnosed with cancer, Stuart Scott passed away, and I cried like a baby. For those who don’t watch sports ball, Stuart Scott was a Sportscaster for the ESPN network. Scott is well-known for his colorful commentary while covering numerous sporting events across the globe.

Stuart Scott was a catchphrase monster in the early ’90s. While referring to players who are calm under pressure, Scott would say, “As cool as the other side of the pillow,” causing me to recall the moist Cleveland summer nights where I flipped my pillow multiple times throughout the night in my steamy bedroom—always revealing a cool pillow for 20 seconds before my face is stuck again.

Scott had a way with words that enabled viewers to understand the value of a play or player even if onlookers were unfamiliar with the scene they were witnessing. Tell me you don’t understand, “They must call him butter, ’cause he’s on a roll.” Stuart Scott was a killer, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s later revealed that Stuart Scott was behind many famous brand’s taglines.

Stuart Scott delivered a speech at the ESPY’s in 2014 where it felt like he was physically filling the tear ducts of those in attendance. From, “You ain’t got to go home, but you gotta get the heck up outta here,” to “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.” Sheesh, Scott dropping bombs, who didn’t feel that?

Some will say that I never got the chance to get to know my uncle, true. Some may say I was too young to grasp the gravity of a friend losing their father, maybe. I never knew Stuart Scott personally, but he was personable, relatable, funny, and talented. We all know when something hits different, the key is understanding why it hits different. Stuart Scott was a complete package.

I won’t say that Scott was a marketing genius and undermine his God-given uniqueness, but Scott was a strategic marketer’s dream. Either way, I’m on my Stuart Scott game.

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