Inspiration stands above all at ESPYs
The ESPY Award show, for the most part, is a waste, but there were some inspiring stories this year.
ESPN has lost money from the ESPYs for years, notes Deadspin, and The show is really just an excuse for athletes to trot around in fancy clothes and wear sunglasses indoors because that’s what the kids are doing these days. But all the money ESPN wastes on this parade may be worth it for two awards that are handed out; awards that remind us that our lives aren’t so bad, and that inspire us to never give up.
The two awards I’m referring to are the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.
The Arthur Ashe Award, named after the African-American tennis player who died from HIV related illnesses, is given to recipients who ”reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.” The recipient of this years Arthur Ashe award went to Robin Roberts, the former SportsCenter anchor and anchor for ABC News’ Good Morning America.
According to USA Today, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. After treatment Roberts returned to Good Morning America. However in 2012, Roberts was diagnosed myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease that came as a side effect from her cancer treatment. Roberts would need a bone marrow transplant in order to survive, which she received just a few days after her mother’s passing. Roberts returned to Good Morning America six months later.
Roberts gave a tear-jerking speech after receiving her ESPY, a speech that reminded you how worthy Roberts is of the recognition.
Later in the night came the Jimmy V Perseverance Award named of course after Jimmy Valvano – the former NC State coach – who gave his infamous “Never Give Up” speech at the 1993 ESPYs.
The Jimmy V Award went to Dick and Rick Hoyt, known as Team Hoyt, the father-son marathon team. Dick pushes his son Rick – who has cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair – in the marathons.
“Thirty-seven years ago, no one would even talk to us, but because my Dad said yes when I asked him to push me in the first race, and my family, especially my brothers Rob and Russ, have always stood by us and helped us persevere, even with so many people telling us we did not belong, we are here,” said Rick Hoyt, who spoke via an electronic device. “It only proves the wisdom of Jimmy V’s words: ‘Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.’”
“As you might imagine, we are even more thrilled because the life motto of Team Hoyt – which has inspired thousands of people around the world to better themselves through athletics and to not tolerate people with disabilities being denied the opportunity to participate in life – is yes you can,” Rick Hoyt said.
The ESPYs are are mostly pointless – these athletes successes are already defined during their respective seasons. But Robin Roberts and Team Hoyt rise above all of the pointlessness and give a much greater meaning to sports than awards: inspiration.