The “C” word is often seen as an automatic death wish. This negative connotation is within reason, but decorated sports broadcaster Craig Sager’s outlook on the diagnosis is different.
Wednesday evening, Sager received the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award at the ESPY Awards as he continues his ongoing battle with leukemia. He arrived in a floral-print blazer and rhinestoned tie, only as Sager could do. His bright, bold, and unique outfits make him easily recognizable and difficult for other reporters to emulate. Vice President Joe Biden took a break from the White House to present his friend with the award, visibly teary-eyed as he touched on his own deceased son’s painful battle with cancer, which ended last year. Beau Biden was 46-years-old.
The unwritten theme for this year’s awards show was social change, whether it’s for black lives, gender equality, or revising gun laws. Sager’s message of strength, which began by thanking his two families — his wife and children, and his Turner Sports family of 20 years — was just as important.
I have dealt with cancer in my family on multiple occasions. It never gets easier, but I will be the first to say that maintaining a positive attitude through it all works wonders. I have always been supportive of Sager and all he has done on the sidelines, but watching him fight through his diagnosis makes me feel especially connected to him as a person. As I listened to his touching speech, it caused me to reflect on my own personal experiences with cancer. Here are a few Sager quotes that most resonated with me and will continue to serve as a source of positivity as I mourn the loss of my loved ones, or encounter life’s adversities in the future.
“Time is something that cannot be bought, it cannot be wagered with God, and it is not in endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life.”
This was one of many gems the fashion icon dropped in his speech. He reminisced on some of his best adventures thus far, including climbing the Great Wall of China and getting an ever-so elusive game interview from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Hearing this come from a man who has devoted his days to cancer treatments in the morning and basketball coverage at night proves that he values every day that he has left, even if they are numbered.
“I am not an expert on time or on cancer or on life itself. I’m a kid from the small Illinois town of Potamia who grew up on the Chicago Cubs and made sports his life’s work, although there’s never been a day when it actually seemed like work.”
This quote sticks out to me because it is something that we do not hear often. People always complain about their job, but keep it for the sake of a steady income. The 65-year-old has been in his line of work for over 40 years, and still enjoys every second of it. How many people can truly say that?
“I will never give up, and I will never give in. I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life, as life sucks the marrow out of me. I will live my life full of love and full of fun. It’s the only way I know how.”
Round of applause, Mr. Sager. You have millions of supporters rooting for you, so you have to stay #SagerStrong for us. Watch his entire speech below.
Kayla Solomon is a new contributor to AllSportsEverything.com. She attends Temple University for nine months out of the year, but will be here in New York all summer! Follow Kayla on Twitter at @dontKAYme, Instagram at @kayla_nyree. Also, find her writing weekly on blackaphillyated.com and on her personal blog, dearfuturekay.wordpress.com.
photo via ABCNews.com.