Larry Platt is a nationally renowned author of four books and editor of The Philadelphia Citizen whose work has appeared in various publications, including GQ Magazine and The New York Times Magazine. He recently co-authored the memoir, “Every Day I Fight,” of sports broadcasting legend Stuart Scott, who died in January.
Platt spoke with senior writer Robert McNeely about writing his latest work and getting to know Scott on both a professional and personal level.
The Daily Tar Heel: Tell me about Stuart Scott. How did you first meet?
Larry Platt: I first met Stuart about a year ago when our mutual agent called and said he wanted to write a book. I already knew he was battling cancer, which was public, but what I found was someone who didn’t want to write a traditional sports memoir. He wanted to keep it real, keep it raw and didn’t want it to be a downer. He wanted it to be a book about celebrating life.
DTH: What was it like getting to know Scott while co-authoring the memoir?
LP: After we talked over the phone, I drove up to Connecticut and spent the day with him. He was still on the air then, but he was off on Tuesdays so we had some time to get to know one another. We spent a good four or five hours hanging out and just spent the day talking about the themes that ended up getting fleshed out in the book. We started working on it and spent the next nine months together and finally finished the book in December. Then he passed away in January. The book is titled “Every Day I Fight” because it’s not just his cancer memoir — it’s about the fight in his personal and professional life that he fought every day.
DTH: What other aspects of Scott’s life does the book touch on? What was it like seeing the world through his eyes?
LP: The book is full of his doubts and fears. It begins in March of 2014 with a story in The New York Times about his perseverance and how he was sort of wrestling with that idea at the time. The article called him a hero, and he says in the book that he didn’t feel like a hero, he just didn’t want to die. It’s full of the times he cried and the hundreds or even thousands of times he wanted to quit and how he was always able to stay strong ... He wanted to give permission to cancer patients to take off that superman cape and just be people.
DTH: Do you have a favorite memory of Scott? Any anecdotes?
LP: There were a lot of emotional moments. We were sitting in his car while his daughter was at soccer practice, and he was telling me a story that’s in the book about his mom, all about what a selfless hero she was, and then he just started crying. And that made me start to cry, and pretty soon we were just laughing through our tears about how we are both emotionally inclined people.
DTH: Can you speak to Scott’s legacy — what you believe it will be and what he hoped to leave behind?
LP: I think there are two parts. One is for his daughters. He wanted to leave behind a prescription for living for them. He liked to say life consists of two dates with a dash in between and it’s our job to make the most of the dash. He says in the book that the only thing he lacked was an abundance of days, but that he loved what he had. He didn’t cheat life, and that’s really the message for his girls: to fight the instinct to go through life on autopilot. The other legacy is that of a broadcast journalist. I mean, arguably, he was the Jackie Robinson of sports broadcasting. In the ‘90s there was an influx of African-Americans into the sports world, but that cultural shift never made it into the broadcasting booth until Stuart Scott.