“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bern William
If you have not heard the story of Austin Hatch, then allow me to share it with you:
Austin is a basketball commit to the University of Michigan. In 2003, he was involved in a plane crash that took the lives of his mother, brother, and sister. He survived. Then, in 2011, ten days after he committed to Michigan, Austin was in board another plane when it crashed claiming the lives of his father and step-mother. Again, he survived. For those keeping score at home, that is two plane crashes in eight years killing five family members. Yet he survived both. After the second crash, Austin suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a medically induced coma for around two months.
When you look up resiliency in the dictionary, you should see a picture of Austin Hatch. He defeated and overcame his injuries and traumatic experiences. He had survived…twice. He was already a success story in resilience and facing adversity.
But his story does not end there:
While being a former standout in Indiana, he now had to live with his uncle in Southern California. On Wednesday of this week (January 8th), Austin played in his first basketball game since his second plane crash. He entered the game and promptly connected on his first shot, a three pointer. His teammates and coaches poured off the bench to celebrate with him, and the team was assessed a technical, which the coach described as “the best technical he had ever been a part of.”
Hatch faced more adversity than any young man should ever be asked to face–not once but twice. I am sure that there were many moments where he thought about why he didn’t get killed in either of those plane crashes instead of his family.
But, Austin continued to chase his dream. Dealing with the difficulties of the first crash, Austin poured himself into basketball where he worked hard and became a star in Indiana. He worked hard to be offered a college scholarship to a big time D1 program. Then, after plane crash two, he was faced with the prospect of a long recovery where playing again must have seemed like such a remote possibility. But, nothing was going to stop him from being a basketball player at Michigan. After having to move across the country to live with his uncle, he displayed a high level of determination to get back on the court.
Wednesday night was the next first step for Austin to making his dream a reality, but it was an important step. He did not just want to play, but he waited fourteen games into the season to make sure he was ready to contribute.
Austin has contributed in ways far more important than hitting one three pointer. His resiliency and resolve serve as a source of inspiration for everyone who is striving to achieve their dreams and overcome adversity. His story has touched the lives of many, including his teammates in California.
After hitting the three pointer in his first game back, Austin would have had every right to be selfish and celebrate his achievement. Instead, his comments after the game only provide further illustration of the maturity and character of this young man. While acknowledging that it was great to be back and hit a shot, Austin praised his teammates and the fact that his team now moved his record to 14-0.
I cannot think of a better way to describe the Austin Hatch and his story…undefeated.
No matter what life throws at us remember that we do have the capacity to overcome. It may take effort, determination, and resilience. But, these are the qualities with which we have been made. They are within us all. We just need to dig deep, find some inspiration, and maintain a positive mindset.
With this mindset, we, like Austin, can be undefeated, too.
Bring your best today!