There are things about the 1990s that make me happy I grew up in the 90s. I mean, was there ever truly a fashion era that eclipses this greatness? In 2014, I’ve conformed to respectability in the real world — no more camo pants with a Nike T-shirt rocking light-ups and a snap-back (that does sound pretty fresh, actually) — but it doesn’t make me less happy about the era I grew up in. I honestly think it offered the best of both (or most) worlds: I was the last generation (Z) to be born into a world without the convenience of all the newfangled technology, but I still came from the generation where the old school was part of life at home.
I look at my little brother for instance, who was born in 1996, and he just seems like he’s in a different world than I was when I was 18. My best friend Trey mentions his sister sometimes — who is, likewise, about to turn 18 — and how she spends the majority of her time at home on the computer, rarely goes outside, doesn’t really do much of anything. My little brother is the same way… he spends his days on Twitter or watching UFC or playing video games. He’s 18 and he doesn’t have his drivers license.
When I was a little kid I went outside and played all the time… when I was 16 I was itching to start driving… when I was 18 I was out doing as much shit as I possibly could… because I knew one day in the near future I would start my journey of working for the next forty-something years;
I wanted to do all the shit I possibly fucking could before my fun window ran out.
It seems like the mentality is different now than it was then, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the pop-culture climate has helped dictate that. I was 16 when most of the major social networks came out; my little brother was 10. I created my Twitter when I was 22; he probably had one when he was 14, and I’m sure a lot of kids his age did… because Twitter was the new shit when he was that age. I might have done the same thing he did and, who knows, I might be doing the same shit with my life as he is if I was born six years later.
In a long-winded way, there are a lot of reasons I’m happy to be from the 90s. Another major one was ESPN. Everyone has their thing they know more about than all their relatives, or all the people they know, and when I was a little boy I wanted that to be sports. For all my dad’s faults the one thing I have to give it up to him for is his knowledge of baseball, basketball and football. If it wasn’t for him there’s a fair chance I wouldn’t have have had the love for sports that I do, and that Sportscenter wouldn’t have even been on in the house.
The 90s were a good time for ESPN. Sportscenter, in particular, had awesome pairings: My dad was always a Keith Olberman/Dan Patrick fan on the big show, with Stuart Scott and Rich Eisen handling the late night. Patrick was awesome, and Olberman was funny, I remember, but Scott was never my favorite. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the talent — he was very talented — but ESPN just had so many other great personalities at that time. It was before the world went politically correct, back when bloopers were part of the show’s improvised greatness, instead of what the show is now… a scripted production filled with bland talent delivering the news.
I take 1990s ESPN for granted now. Stuart Scott was a part of that greatness. Had I been born ten years earlier he might have been my favorite anchor on Sportscenter, because his style might have resonated with how old I was. With his death yesterday, Dan Patrick echoes that sentiment best in saying “I don’t think enough people appreciate what Stuart did while he did it.”
The outpour of love he received yesterday wasn’t a surprise; Scott had an impact on a lot of people over the last 20 years. The nostalgia I have for that golden era of sports television only makes it extra sad.