This is an article I almost didn’t write, as I struggled to put words down. But, it is an article that means a lot. It is not written for facts, for a grade, but it is to honor a man I admired.
Some say, “how can you be upset by losing someone you didn’t personally know.” Well, it isn’t that hard. So, when Craig Sager died, it hurt a lot of people who didn’t know him personally. This is including myself.
Sports fans all over knew the man in the crazy suits. Weather it came from his working NBA sidelines, covering sports for NBC, or the day he ran on the field at Fulton County Stadium when Henry Aaron hit number 715, if you know sports, you knew the name Craig Sager. If you aspire to be in sports media, you looked up to Sager. And for those who had battle cancer, or has a loved who has battled cancer, you connected with his battle.
For me personally, all of this made me admire a man I had never met. Just by working in the sports field, he had a job that I would love to have. The length of his career, doing what he loved, is a goal I can only hope to reach one day. Sager was a man, anyone who loved sports would love to meet and for the ones who want to work in sports, he was one many hoped to ever cross paths with, much less work with one day.
His battle with cancer drew me even closer to his story. He wasn’t just a NBA sideline reporter, he was a man with a family and a lot of friends. He worked through his battle, he never gave up, and he kept his spirit through it all. When he was diagnosed, he was given just weeks to live but lived way longer. To some, they questioned why did he get longer than others. And when people say that, I just looked. His story is very familiar to me in a way I’ve never discussed before. Sager’s cancer was leukemia but my grandfather was also given a short time to live my doctors at first. To be exact, he was given two weeks to live. Like Sager, he lived for much longer. Also, like him, my grandfather did not quit working until he couldn’t physically do it anymore. His spirit never went down, he never gave up, and he never changed. So, the closer I followed Sager’s cancer journey, the closer it hit home. His fight gave me the same strength my grandfather’s fight did. And to have never meet Sager, he made me stronger and more driven than I already was.
Also, the more I researched Sager’s career, the more I admired him as well. From sleeping in a horses stall to running on the field to meet Aaron, he did whatever it took to get the story and to get it right. Learning he was on the field with Aaron was amazing. Growing up a Braves fan, it made me even more interested in his career. (Even though he was a Cubs fan and I’m glad he got to see them win it all before his death.) His career may have started small but it reached so many over the years.
I’m thankful for getting a chance to see him on NBA sidelines week after week. I’m thankful to have watched his fight against cancer. My heart hurts for the loss of a man I look up to. A man who career I hope to have even a glimpse of in my future. I’m praying for his family, his NBA family, his friends, his colleagues and anyone that looked up to him. Losing him has effected many. His career and fight will be remembered by everyone.
Thank you for all the memories and crazy suits.
I will leave you with Craig Sager’s Jimmy V Perseverance Award Speech at the 2016 ESPYs. I will always be #sagerstrong