An admiral’s son who grew up around the military, SportsCenter anchor Randy Scott still was stunned by what he heard this past weekend while speaking at the 11th annual Student Veterans of America national conference at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
“There was one veteran who told me ‘When I was in the Navy and we were overseas, we’d get ESPN on the carrier and thank god we did,’” Scott said. “She said ‘Not only did it keep us caught up but we loved having that sense of home.’
“That just blew my mind,” Scott said. “They’re somewhere in the Mediterranean, and they’ve got SportsCenter on, and the halftime shows, and they were engaged and somehow didn’t feel 1,000 miles from home.”
The conference, better known as NatCon, features sessions on veteran education, employment, and entrepreneurship and offers opportunities for attendees to meet with recruiters across a variety of industries. Scott heard from veterans at a Disney-sponsored tailgate that was attended by some 1,100 people, many of whom stood in line to meet Scott after he had been part of a panel earlier in the day that also included Clinton Yates of The Undefeated.
When Scott and fellow anchor Sage Steele [the daughter of an Army colonel] were together for a SportsCenter Veterans Day program from the U.S. Marine base at Parris Island in 2017, they discussed their common background and the privilege of being at the base together.
“I told her I don’t know what it is for me because I don’t have that firsthand experience – I didn’t serve,” he said. “My dad [Admiral Michael Scott, USN (Ret.)] has never held that over me but I sort of had this motivation to live up in some way to that expectation. The military is so important to me, and I know I’ll never serve unless there’s a catastrophe and there’s a draft, so I want to support that in any way that I can.
“Any small opportunity that I get at ESPN, if there’s anything they ever want me to do, whether it’s on campus or off, there’s no hesitation on my part. It’s just, ‘Where do you need me to be?’”
— Stacy Williamson (@RecruiterStacy) January 5, 2019