Thursday, April 16, 2015

Audiobook Review: Every Day I Fight

Every Day I Fight (2015)
Written by Stuart Scott with Larry Platt
Read by Adam Lazarre-Smith & Cassandra Campbell
Publisher: Penguin Audio/Blue Rider Press
Run Time: 8 hours 3 minutes

"When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live." — Stuart Scott

My love of sports didn't start at the earliest age, but I knew SportsCenter. My friend's dad was a ferocious Seattle Seahawks and Mariners fan and ESPN was a semi-regular presence in their house. Two of the anchors caught my eye and went on to be two of my favorite sportscasters: Stuart Scott and Dan Patrick. Scott was one of the earliest definitions of hip to me, especially with phrases like "call him butter, because he's on a roll," "he is as cool as the other side of the pillow," and of course, “booyah."

Every Day I Fight, Scott’s tale of his life before and during a long battle with cancer, is a raw, powerfully-written memoir. He cherished fatherhood, loved life, valiantly fought cancer to the very end and all the emotions that go with each one seep through the pages. As he journeys from his youth and college days in North Carolina to his time in Connecticut at ESPN, we as readers experience the highs and lows with him. I was elated for him when he recalls his now-famous ESPY speech (see video below) and it felt like I had been punched in the gut when he tells of the cancer remissions.

Part of the beauty of the book is that it manages to transcend sports and isn't written for fans. The best sports stories, whether they be akin to Buzz Bissinger's Friday Night Lights or Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat and Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, is that they showcase life through the prism of sports. Scott thought of cancer like a boxer views his or her opponent, but still lived life to its fullest in spite of cancer. Some of the best portions of the book had nothing to do with his time at ESPN or cancer treatments, but rather his parenting of two girls and his youth. Another book that came to mind as I was listening to Scott's memoir was Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture.

Of special note is the narration of the audiobook by Adam Lazarre-White, who manages to not imitate Scott, but speak in a cadence similar to how Scott would talk. Scott wasn’t in my car, but it was pretty close.

Grade: 5/5 stars. A memoir from one of the best sportscasters that speaks to more than just sports fans and cancer patients. I cannot recommend this enough.

Below is Scott's acceptance speech of the 2014 Jimmy V Award at the ESPYS in Los Angeles. In his memoir, he vividly describes the moments leading up to and including the speech. Booyah, Stuart.

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