College basketball season is tipping off tonight, and for hoopheads like me, that’s reason enough to smile today.
There are going to be all kinds of great stars on the floor this season, from Frank Kaminsky at Wisconsin, Jahlil Okafor at Duke, and the Harrison twins at Kentucky.
But maybe the best story of the season belongs to a kid you’ve probably never heard of. Austin Hatch is not expected to be a star for the Michigan Wolverines this season, but there may be no player more worthy of applause from crowds, because what Hatch has overcome in his life is beyond what anyone has had to deal with.
The 20-year-old has survived two plane crashes. The first crash, in 2003, killed his mom and two siblings.
Then, eight years later another crash killed his father and stepmother, and left Austin with serious, life-threatening injuries.
I mean, TWO plane crashes. Can you imagine the horror?
Hatch had previously committed to Michigan before the 2011 crash, and after a long recovery, he played one year of high school ball in L.A. before Michigan honored his scholarship.
He arrived on campus this fall and this week in the Wolverines’ first exhibition game, he hit a free throw. Check out the reaction of the crowd, his teammates, and classy coach John Beilein.
“The emotional pain is never going to subside,” Hatch said in 2013. “Over time, the way I cope with my loss is going to change.”
Austin Hatch made a free throw, and people went nuts. It takes away none of the tragedy of his life, but maybe this year on the court, he can find some peace from time to time. What a remarkable, brave kid, a feel-good story about refusing to let awful accidents keep him down.
Here’s a clip of him from The “Today” show this past summer.
**And now, a video that went insanely, hugely viral this week. If you haven’t heard the phrase “Too Many Cooks” over the past few days, you probably haven’t been on the Internet. It’s a video satirizing the opening credit sequences of old 1980s TV show, but it’s so, so much more than that. It’s bizarre and wonderful and hilarious and disturbing, and it was made by the Adult Swim folks at The Cartoon Network.
It gets weirder and weirder as the video goes along, but just keep watching.
I truly have no idea what kind of minds created this. But I’m glad they’re alive to think of this stuff.
**And finally, remember Matthew Laurance? If you’re a Gen X’er like me, of course you do. He was David Silver’s dad on ” Beverly Hills, 90210,” he was in the late great sitcom “Duets,” he was in “Eddie and The Cruisers,” and a million other things.
My boy Jeff Pearlman, as part of his ecletic and fabulous interview series on his blog called “The Quaz,” interviewed Laurance about his career, and he was brutally honest and gave great answers.
Check it out here; nice to see a humble, grounded actor who realizes that what actors do really isn’t that important.
Also, he trashes some of his own films, which is awesome.