Editor's Note: All bits aside, Ballerball probably wouldn't exist without the influence of Stuart Scott. This is just our little way of paying tribute. Booyah!
There was a time in my life when I was a morning person. There was only one reason for this: in the central time zone, SportsCenter aired live at 6am and Stuart Scott would be there to greet me. My sleepy-eyed 7 year old self made the trek from my bedroom down the hall to the game room where the 13 inch box TV awaited. To my knowledge that TV only worked on two channels. The Disney Channel was number 16 and Boy Meets World ran from 3-5pm after school. ESPN was channel 29 and it was on from 6am until we went to school, and again from the time we ‘finished’ our homework until we were forced to go to bed.
In my humble opinion it was the golden age, not just of my childhood but of SportsCenter. I would sit with my younger brothers and watch Stuart Scott and Rich Eisen recount the previous days’ sports news. It was a perfect hour, made all the more perfect when the Bulls had played the night before — it could only be tainted by the inevitable hockey highlights, but the guys made even that tolerable. I grew up in Oklahoma. Ice hockey simply wasn’t in the cards for me. Michael had of course written poetry on the hardwood at the expense of the Knicks, or the Celtics, or the Pacers, and no one described it like Stu. At 7am we had breakfast and watched the replay of the hour we had just seen. And at 8 we piled in the car to go to school, quizzing each other about Michael’s PPG, or Aikman’s TD totals, or how much we hated the Yankees– apologies to half of the New Yorkers. By 9 I was showing all the other second graders at North Rock Creek elementary school how smart I was by quoting Stuart Scott.
I was plenty old enough to love sports but only just old enough to understand them when Stuart became a fixture at the SportsCenter desk. Every morning I sat under the tutelage of Mr. Scott, soaking up every ‘boo-yah,’ and committing to memory as many catch phrases as my little mind could handle. Sports fans lucky enough to be born in the late 80’s got to grow up with Stuart Scott at the desk, through the ’95 MLB strike, the Bulls’ second three-peat, ‘How ’bout them Cowboys?!’, Tyson’s Holy(field) Bite, and every other top play along the way.
He will be greatly missed by anyone who considers themselves even a casual sports fan, but I’m here to tell you that his passing hits close to home for me and my fellow twenty-something’s. We’ve lost the face of our sports news, and with that a piece of our childhood often not easily remembered. These days I wake up at 6am because my four month old son is crying and needs to be fed. I often make it to work before getting to check the previous night’s Thunder score (and sometimes not even then!). Stuart Scott will live on in this sports fan’s heart as a reminder of a simpler time, when I laid down at night and flipped the pillow over just to check if it actually was cooler. He broke down barriers, defied stereotypes and changed the sports world for the better; but for a short, scrawny kid from Shawnee, Oklahoma, he and his SportsCenter colleagues were the reason I got up in the morning.