Every Monday, Maize n Brew is given the opportunity to appear on the Detroit Free Press' online sports page with a Monday column. Here is this week's column.
Most of us will never have to experience the trials and tribulations Michigan basketball's Austin Hatch has had to endure during his short life. What's more horrific, Hatch had to experience it twice. Instead of shutting down and giving up hope, he kept moving forward.
No matter if you're a Buckeye, Spartan, Wolverine or whatever college affiliation you call home, Hatch's story of strength and hope should be an inspiration to us all.
The story of Hatch is highly publicized, a two-time plane crash survivor that took the lives of his mother, siblings, father and stepmother. After doctors placed him in a medically induced coma, doctors feared he would never see the court again.
Seemingly as if the odds were stacked up against him before, Hatch proved everyone wrong by seeing game action this season and scoring his first point in the regular season.
This is a story that exceeds rivalries. The feeling of loss, no matter the scale, is a common thread amongst most human beings. Perhaps Hatch has had endure a little bit more than most, but that doesn't mean people from around the state, as well as the country, cannot rally behind him in support of him and his road to recovery.
In a sports world that sometimes forgets the big picture, Hatch is proof that there are never any "guarantees" in sports and defying the odds should be celebrated more often. However, for Hatch, he did more than defy the heavily stacked odds that were against him, he smashed them into a million pieces and showed us all that it's necessary to get back up when you fall.
The scars and memories of those two awful experiences will never leave him, just the thought of what he's had endure alone could make any strong man collapse to his knees and weep. It's not necessarily enough to say that time heals all wounds, because not enough time can heal what Hatch has endured.
Hatch may never see extended periods of in-game action in his career, which is to be expected considering the extent of his injuries. When U-M coach John Beilein puts him in games during the waning minutes of the contest, Hatch has already won.
He's already defied the odds. Perhaps he'll never play a full game of basketball again in his life, but to all the doctors who told him that he'd never play again, just look at him now.
College athletics, especially in the state of Michigan, almost always gets caught up in the rivalries. However, even if it is a brief moment in time, the story of Hatch can break through barriers of rival territories and be celebrated. Which is a story of a young man whose family was taken from him-twice-and the desire to play basketball to prove the doubters wrong.
The young man should be an inspiration to us all and is a champion in his own right.
From tragedy to triumph, that is the story of Austin Hatch.