Zach Lederer continues to provide inspiration even as hope fades [Bits & Pieces]

It has been more than 30 years since I wrote an article about the importance of laughter in one's life. In 1993, then-Howard County Executive Chuck Ecker asked me to come to one of his press conferences and presented me with a plaque bearing the article I had written years earlier. He told those in attendance that he kept a copy of my writing in his office to give him some balance in life. I still to this day believe in the importance of laughter more than ever.

However, there is something else equally as important to our well-being: inspiration. If you look up the definition of the word in the dictionary, it states that it is "the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions."

Recently, I have been inspired and so have others around the world by the courage of one Zach Lederer. This 20-year-old Centennial High School graduate and University of Maryland basketball manager has inspired people worldwide with his indomitable spirit through his battle with brain cancer.

According to a message sent to her constituents by State Delegate Liz Bobo, Zach's grandmother, Zach's health has been on a steady decline for the past several months and he is now at home in Ellicott City under hospice care. He has received hundreds and maybe even thousands of notes from professional athletes, fellow Maryland students and athletes, the President of the University of Maryland, his former classmates at Centennial and people like you and me from around the world expressing their concern and admiration.

This is the same Zach Lederer who played football at Centennial despite a brain tumor with a ventricular shunt in his brain. This is the same Zach who inspired the entire arena at a University of Maryland basketball game to wear Zach Against Cancer T-Shirts, and this is the same Zach who made a muscle-man pose in the face of those surgeries, starting a new term, "Zaching." Zach has been an inspiration to the Maryland basketball team, and some team members are now dedicating their efforts on the court to him.

Zach Lederer is what's right in this country. He thinks of others during difficult moments in his own life. He makes others feel better about themselves. Zach Lederer inspires others. His indomitable spirit is an example to all of us. We must never, ever give up regardless of the odds. That spirit that is Zach Lederer can never die.

Winter Hockey Festival

I attended the UCT Winter Hockey Festival this weekend at the Garden's Ice House in Laurel because I have a cousin who was playing for the East Coast Jumbos from Massachusetts. Every time I attend one of these Special Hockey games sponsored by UCT in conjunction with the American Special Hockey Association, I come away feeling that someone is doing something right with their dollars.

Special Hockey was created in 2000 for players with developmental disabilities. The coaching on the ice is unbelievable and the large crowd cheered both teams. The score is not important. It's the sportsmanship and the fact that these athletes get the opportunity to travel to different venues and play the game that they love that matters.

Hobbit's Glen renovations continue

Thanks to the Columbia Association, I have a few more facts about the new Hobbit's Glen clubhouse and dining facility.

First, the old building will be coming down in the next 30 days. The locker room will remain about the same size but will be nicely appointed. The indoor and outdoor dining area will be expanded and there will now be a conference room for small parties and business meetings. There will be a turnhouse between the ninth and 10th greens so that golfers can use rest rooms and grab some food without returning to the clubhouse.

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