I’ve never read a book that made my allergies flare up.
We lost a true pioneer in Stuart Scott earlier this year. What wasn’t widely known is that prior to his passing, he’d been in the hospital for 75 days. He explains the multiple surgeries he underwent in that span. He goes into great depth about how knew his life was coming to an end because mentally, he was tired. Stu spends nearly 300 pages talking about the life lessons cancer forces you to learn quickly.
Through this captivating memoir, Stuart Scott injects his personality on the pages. I went back and forth between the hardcover and the audio version (note: an actor, not Stuart himself, narrates the book). I swear it felt like you could turn on ESPN and still see him. This is a book that’ll resonate with readers of all backgrounds. How he articulates the perspective of a person fighting cancer is honest and necessary. I recommend this as a mandatory read! So here are a handful of gems that I took from my experience reading it
– There are moments where your parents become your best friends. He shares a story from his teenage years of not being able to go hang with his older brother. Instead of moping in the Carolina heat, he and his mother walked to a shopping center nearby to see Grease. That moment became something that impacted their bond; so much so that he would still call her whenever it was on TV. I love, love, love flan! I’d eat it every day if my metabolism allowed me to. Whenever I’d come home to visit, my mom made sure there was some homemade set aside for me. Now, it’s become a special dessert that we share when she has an appetite. With my dad, there were many things I blamed him for. I got to a point where I forgave him because so much of me is him. Once I accepted that he’d never fit into the box I had him in, we were able to have a great father/son relationship.
– Men are bonded by two things; sports and fatherhood. Over his illustrious career in broadcasting, Stuart Scott met every major athlete you can think of. But the relationships he specifically mentioned was with Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Pres. Obama. 3 different backgrounds, 3 different legacies. And yet they’re united by the love they have for their children. Fatherhood is a secret society that knows no boundaries. You won’t fully get it until you’re in the club.
– Speaking of fatherhood, there are certain parts of the book where Stu talks about his daughters that might make your eye sweat. I often think about what my kids will be like. If they’ll have my mannerisms? How much they’ll look like me? With my nieces, I stare at them in amazement when I visit. I’d walk into a gun fight with a knife for them. Stylistically, Scott said it better – “If you wanna try to hurt them, I’ll end your life. Or die trying”. Real.
– You’ll never be able to protect your child from everything. We never once pause to think that sometimes it’s us who’ll be the cause of their tears. Terminal illness is rough when you have young children. With Stu’s first diagnosis being in 2007, his daughters have spent a huge chunk of their lives watching their dad be sick. To an outsider looking in, that would suck. But I thought it was endearing how he made them (and his entire family) a part of his care plan. You’ll never be able to keep bad things from happening to your child. But you can make life easier on them by not treating them like they live in a bubble.
– Sometimes, home isn’t a building or 4 walls. In love, home is a person. I had this revelation originally about 2.5 years ago. When life has you on the ropes, there’s one place you run to for comfort. For support. For love. But sometimes, that place isn’t a place in the literal sense. Stu shares how he met his girlfriend, Kristin. He even told about the day he tried to gave her an “out”. The way he put it was as he dealt with his cancer, he didn’t want her to start and then stop being there for him. That was a trigger for me. No matter how strong and stoic a man is, he needs that solid woman who is there to hold him up when shit gets to be too much. If she’s your safe place, that’s as good as it’ll get.
– Ignore the people who say you can’t or shouldn’t. I never knew what really had happened to Stu’s eye. He discusses his struggles with his eyes chronologically. What’s so dope is that it didn’t stop him from running a 4.5 40 when he went to the NY Jets mini-camp. Football, in spite of being a die hard Tarheel, was Stu’s first love. He played whenever he could even when doctors said he shouldn’t. Whether it’s health, lack of resources, or whatever, give nothing the power to prevent you from at least trying to pursue your passion.
I could easily come up with a list of dope quotes from Every Day I Fight. You just need to read it for yourself. I found that in it there were pertinent themes that he kept going back to; fatherhood, being passionate about life, and how to deal with cancer. One thing that helped me out in my current situation is that we all have our own wills, how we want our lives to go. But there comes a time when all you have is your faith. You move forward by accepting God’s will – even if it’s different than yours.