It should come as no surprise to people who know me that I look at Facebook and Twitter with some distrust. I don't use either and probably never will, but then I heard about "Zaching," a strongman power pose that has gone viral.

Zach Lederer is Centennial High School graduate and University of Maryland freshman. In the past seven years, he has undergone several brain operations. The most recent was Jan. 25 at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Apparently, lots of people have become "Zached" after he placed his biceps flexing pose on the internet. There has been an amazing response from people all over the country and abroad. Zach's @ZLeds Twitter account has 1,154 followers as of Feb. 13. People have responded not only to the pose itself, but more to the courage of this 18-year-old who somehow has maintained an incredibly positive attitude throughout this ordeal.

Zach, who is an assistant manager for the Maryland men's basketball team, can teach us all something about the value of life and how to face down some incredible physical hurdles. He not only faces his brain surgery with courage and dignity but he also teaches us the importance of family and friends particularly when the going gets tough.


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

When Zach was told that he would face surgery Jan. 25, his words were simple: "Don't want anybody to be worried. I'll be fine. Another opportunity for me to prove myself worthy of this life. Blessed."

We are all pulling for a full recovery for this incredible young man and I would like all the readers of this column to keep Zach in our hearts and minds.

Scholar-Athlete Awards

'Tis the season for Howard County high school seniors to start filling out applications for scholarships and scholar-athlete awards. April 12 is the deadline for three awards — two are offered by the Howard County Striders and one by the Rotary Club of Columbia.

The Rotary Club's Robert Davidson Scholar Athlete program offers $2,000 each to the top male and female applicants. There are two runners-up awards of $1,000 each. Any eligible senior is encouraged to apply and there are no restrictions to the number of entrants, or winners, that can come from any one high school. Applications are available at http://www.columbiarotary.org.

The David Tripp Scholar/Athlete Awards, given by the Howard County Striders, are expected to total $5,000 this year. The awards are merit (not need) based. Criteria for consideration includes outstanding achievement in the classroom and as a runner in cross country, track and/or road races.

The second Striders award is the Worley Humanitarian Award, which was established in memory of Aaron Worley, who died of leukemia in 1999 at age 18. This non-renewable grant is awarded to a graduating senior who participates in running, extracurricular activities and is involved in community youth athletic programs.

Applications for the Tripp and Worley awards are available at http://www.striders.net. Email davetripp1@gmail.com with questions.

Like riding a bike

Since the Learn2Tri Program was initiated within the Howard County Public School System, I discovered that there are many teens who do not know how to ride a bike. The Learn2Tri Program is designed to bring the various segments of the triathlon to our students through the physical education curriculum, and that means running, biking and swimming.

When I was a kid, everybody had a bike and knew how to use it. So I must admit, when I learned that a surprising number of youngsters have never been on a bike, I was shocked. The Learn2Tri will teach them and I guarantee that once they try it they will like it.