With all the hoopla lately about Johnny Football and “Autograph Gate”, it’s nice to focus your attention on something inspirational. Something that makes you forget all the garbage and remember why you love sports in the first place. That describes the story of Zach Hodskins, a Georgia high school basketball player who was recently offered a spot on the Florida Gators’ basketball team.
You might say, “Who’s Zach Hodskins?” and, “why should I care? He’s not even a scholarship player!” Well, when you look at the fact that Hodskins was born without the lower-half of his left arm, I would say that’s pretty dang awesome.
What most people could never accomplish with two arms, Zach has done with one. He says his father taught him the game of basketball at a young age, and stressed to him the importance of hard-work and dedication.
What’s even better is Hodskins' ability to find the humor in it all. When he first arrived at Milton High School, Zach was bombarded with questions from his classmates.
“Everyone wanted to know how I lost my arm, which is nothing new,” Zach told USA Today in December. “Now if you think about it, that’s funny because what they don’t know is, I never had it. So I got a serious face and I told them that it got bitten off by a shark. The look on their faces was priceless. I like that story; makes me sound tougher.”
Hodskins might tell that story to his friends to make himself sound tougher, but on the court he lets his play do the talking.
“I know that people who don’t know me sleep on me when I walk on the court,” he told USA Today. “They don’t think I can play or they don’t know what to think, but when I hit those first few shots or when I go by them is when they wake up. That’s when they start playing me hard. That’s what I love. I know I’ve just earned their respect. That’s all I want.”
Zach Hodskins may never play a game for the Gators, and it’s unlikely he will ever step foot on an NBA court, but his ability to overcome a disability and not only survive but prosper is something we can all learn from, in sports and in life.
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