“Zaching,” Zach Lederer’s defiant strongman pose in the face of two brain tumors that have nearly cost him his life, has become Maryland’s answer to “Tebowing,” and the wave of biceps-flexing mania is even finding its way overseas.
Lederer, a freshman at Maryland who joined the Centennial High football team just six years after undergoing brain surgery and having to re-learn motor skills as basic as walking, posted yesterday on his Twitter that “Zaching is spreading like crazy through Russia and Greece. I'm getting so many foreign friend requests.”
That he’s alive and well to appreciate them all is a near-miracle in itself. After his first bout with cancer, Lederer was back in the hospital the night of the Terps’ Jan. 25 loss to Duke, set for another round of surgery after an MRI revealed another lesion in his brain. When he turned to the camera for his now-famous Popeye-esque pose, he was just hours removed from an intensive operation that had removed 80 percent to 90 percent of the tumor.
Lederer has since returned to his comparatively normal life as a manager for the men’s basketball team, but even he can’t ignore his newfound celebrity. His Twitter account is littered with retweets of goodwill messages from the likes of Dick Vitale, Mark Turgeon, Scott Van Pelt and dozens of other well-wishers.
“Huffington Post's Greatest Person of the day?” he wrote Tuesday. “Very cool, but I'm just trying to win that ACC Mopper of the Week Award.”
Judging by the ever-growing legions of “Zaching” adherents, he should have plenty of support.
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