In Memory of Scott Stapleton

Trip Start Sep 05, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, August 7, 2008

A week and a half ago Scott took us out at midnight for the opening day of the movie he anticipated for the last six months. Scott grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye and said, "John, you have no idea how lucky you are." Other Batman fanatics, clad in full costume dueled in the theater hallway and I felt as out of place as he felt completely in his element. I asked Scott why he didn't have his batsuit on. Maybe he knew he was just a cut above that kind of public display, but we all know that when we weren't watching, he put on that batsuit.

By the time we were 16, Scott was already making the first notches on his belt in his triathlon career. Competing at such a high level at such a young age made triathlon more than just a race and a hobby. Triathlon was a sport and a lifestyle choice for Scott, and it was a medium through which we grew from boys to young men together. No matter how much we told him otherwise, he was naturally gifted, especially on the bike. He was strong and consistent on the long flat sections, he knew exactly when to attack on the climbs, and he was fearless through the descents. I still don't understand where he found the courage to tuck into his aero position and disappear in front of me down Claremont avenue.

This is the ambition with which Scott lived his life.

Something that will always amaze me about Scott was his unfair ability to go from completely out of shape to competition ready in a week. Those of us who had the pleasure of training with Scott have all experienced the diverse set of highs and lows; inevitable when you take anything as seriously as we did triathlon. I can proudly say that one of the best moments in my triathlon career came at a race in Pleasanton in 2001. Scott believed that it was his day to win. He told himself that, and proceeded to execute that plan to perfection. Shortly after the beginning of the bike leg, Scott dropped the rest of us, and never looked back.

Scott challenged me on the bike and in the pool, but more importantly, we challenged each other to seek out our own lifestyle that made us feel most alive. We shared the need to explore cultural extremes and find extraordinary adventures. Scott had to experience those things first hand. It was never enough for him to read or study something he felt truly excited about. Scott needed to live it. In this trip with Russell, Scott was really living his life.

I always came to Scott first with wild stories of my own life. In fact, many of those stories involved both of us. I know that with Scott, my stories always fell on open ears. He sat and listened patiently, then hit me back with a crazy story of his own.

Last summer Scott and I often worked off the frustrations of LSAT preparations by training together. Scott was preparing for a 126 mile cycling race through death valley in California. During a typical training ride through contra costa, I complained about my fear that law school would strip away my ambitions. Scott agreed that this was indeed a difficulty, but in his own variation of the saying, he told me "John, this is life, you've really got to grab the bull by the balls!"

Scott didnt end up applying to law school, and sometimes I wondered about that. In a blog entry Scott wrote on May 5 of this year, he explained to readers that he did not perform well when he set his expectations too low. I often tried to convince Scott that it was ok to apply to law schools outside of the ten best schools, but Scott would not have been happy lowering his expectations to accommodate schools that were not the best. In his academic pursuits nothing satisfied Scott but his absolute best performance, and a thorough exploration of his own limits. Scott's academic limits were about as limitless as they get.

Among my closest friends, I have occasionally felt the need to check in on the possibility of a pending marriage.
Though I often asked because I wanted to know for my own planning purposes, when I asked Scott, I consciously encouraged the idea.

From the moment I met you in Bangalore, I wanted to know more about you. The reasons why [Scotts friends] we love you will not fit on this page.

In your own right you are an incredibly intelligent, graceful, sensitive, warm and beautiful person. You are someone whom others naturally gravitate toward. Scott is blessed to have had you in his life, he found something we all strive for (in this life), a true, honest soulmate.

You also brought out the very best in Scott. You helped me to see him, and you helped me love him. I really do have to thank you for showing me so much about one of my own best friends.

The number of people in this room, and the number of people here who were so close to Scott is a testament to the true depth of his dynamic and inquisitive personality.

Scott, you have touched so many people's lives so profoundly. We will miss you,
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