Scott Van Pelt is the best sports talk show host in the business. The longtime ESPN personality has always been one of the network’s aces, but as Van Pelt shows on a nightly basis since getting his own edition of SportsCenter every night at midnight, he’s unparalleled behind the desk.
Part of what makes Van Pelt so good at this is that he’s capable of being absolutely hilarious — Bad Beats very well might be the best thing ESPN has ever done. But beyond that, Van Pelt is great at pulling it back and telling stories that can be as uplifting and inspiring as they are heartbreaking, something that was evident whenever he’d provide commentary on Tyler Trent.
During Tuesday night’s edition of One Big Thing, Van Pelt took a moment to discuss his father, Sam, who passed away on Jan. 15, 1988. He mentioned the usual things people who lose their parents say — namely that he’d give anything to spend five more minutes with his father — but then spoke on the concept of death and how, despite the fact that he’s done his best to avoid discussing his father’s passing, some recent deaths that have impacted those close to him have caused him to change his tune in 2019.
“I realize that I’ve been pretty good at giving advice to those who deal with this specific pain,” Van Pelt said. “I tell them when the grief comes, not to run from it, not to bury it, because it grows and it gets a whole lot heavier to carry around, because it does. I encourage my friends to share it, to articulate it, to say it out loud. It’s time to take my own advice.”
Van Pelt went on to talk about how trying to “swallow” and “ignore” his feelings on a day with this amount of personal significance is “a mistake,” then closed his monologue succinctly.
“Maybe this is selfish to do it here, but it’s intentional, because we all have our pain to deal with,” Van Pelt said. “And maybe it helps somebody else, or encourages someone to tell a loved one that’s still here how you feel. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, I miss you dad, today and every day, and I hope you’d be proud of how it all turned out.