I found myself wide awake at 3:30 in the morning last Saturday night. Sitting on my couch with nothing to really do but turn on the TV and hope it set me to sleep mode. I couldn't stop thinking about everything and nothing all at once. I know we have all had those restless nights. So I flip on ESPN and the annual Espy Awards are on. The Espy's are awards given to athletes and those around the sports community. Think the Oscars of the sports world. It was at this time they were about to give out the Jimmy V. Award
If you don't know who Jimmy V is that's OK nor do a lot of people. He was a college basketball coach. However that wasn't his claim to fame. He was a National Championship winning college basketball coach at the highest level at North Carolina State and yet again not what he is most known for. James Thomas Anthony Valvano was the middle child of Rocco and Angelina Valvano born and raised in Queens, NY. Jimmy wore his heart on his sleeve every day and it showed not only as a 3 sport athlete but then as a coach for 19 years and then as an announcer for ABC and ESPN. A devoted husband to his high school sweetheart Pamela and father to 3 daughters. Jimmy V was one of the special ones. With all that said we are just scratching the surface. I knew the story of Jimmy V before this night and how on March 3rd 1993 at the ripe age of 47 he passed away from bone cancer.
Just 2 months prior to his death Jimmy V was given the Arthur Ashe Courage award. Prior to his now epic speech that was highlighted by the words "Don't give up. Don't ever give up." (I can personally feel the chills in me right now.) Prior to this speech he and the powers that be at ESPN set up a charitable foundation in his name in the fight against cancer. Here is the speech given to Jimmy V and even in the moment he is facing all his fears he gets up before this crowd of peers and gives this amazing speech.
Now here I am flash back forward to 2014 and watching as Stuart Scott. Most known for his on screen charisma while giving us the daily highlights of the sporting world is given or I should say has earned the Jimmy V Award. I sit in silence on this night watching a man facing his own mortality give one of the most riveting speeches I have ever seen. If this speech doesn't bring tears to your eyes you might not be human. I cried and I hope you do to. If only to remind you of everything that is really important in your life. Watch as Scott stands before a crowd of thousands of his peers and announces "I'm not special" and just like Jimmy V. before him makes a that same crowd laugh with him adding a touch of levity and even more humanity during what is a deadly serious topic. Stuart Scott, Jimmy V. Robin Roberts and countless others are special for meeting this fight head on. Scott is not "special" for catch phrases on Sports Center or personal appearances at championship games. Look deeper. Much deeper. Now step aside and let the man walk through.
Stuart Scott represents everything that is right. He represents dignity, class, perseverance when faced with amazing adversity. A loyal father, provider for his family and humble to all those around him. I have always enjoyed his body of work but now I can tell you I am just a fan of the man.
The Link below is to give to the Jimmy V foundation. This foundation does great things for people suffering every single day. We all know someone effected by or who has succumb to cancer. I lost a Grandfather. My Grandpa Vaghn was my mothers father and my Grandfather on my fathers side George (Poppop) is now battling cancer as well. I hope you take a moment and give to this great foundation. Every little bit helps get closer to a cure.