A ghost in the healing power of hoops?

YouTube Preview Image

If you’re a regular GetReligion reader, you know all about ghosts.

If you’re new to this site, which critiques the mass media’s coverage of religion news, we frequently refer to ghosts as important religious elements that are haunting stories:

Something is missing in the basic facts or perhaps most of the key facts are there, yet some are twisted. Perhaps there are sins of omission, rather than commission.

A lot of these ghosts are, well, holy ghosts. They are facts and stories and faces linked to the power of religious faith. Now you see them. Now you don’t. In fact, a whole lot of the time you don’t get to see them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Speaking of which, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that a ghost might be lurking in a recent Associated Press story that ran under this headline:

After tragedies, Austin Hatch heals with hoops

The top of the story:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Late in basketball practice at Loyola High School this week, Austin Hatch slipped around a 7-foot teammate and hit an up-and-under shot with all the grace and savvy you would expect from a Michigan-bound swingman.

“The celebration caused us to miss about five minutes of practice,” coach Jamal Adams said, still beaming at the memory.

Basketball is gradually coming back to Hatch, a 19-year-old straight-A student who spent the past two years re-learning how to breathe, eat, walk and live after surviving a plane crash for the second time in his life.

“The emotional pain is never going to subside,” Hatch said Wednesday. “Over time, the way I cope with my loss is going to change.”

In June 2011, just 10 days after verbally committing to play for the Wolverines, his father and stepmother were killed in a crash in Charlevoix, Mich., that left him in a coma for roughly eight weeks with a traumatic brain injury.

Incredibly, the Fort Wayne, Ind., native had lived through another fatal plane crash eight years earlier, losing his mother, brother and sister in that tragedy.

Wow, what an incredible journey for this young man.

But see if you can guess which keyword in these next two paragraphs — coupled with Loyola’s Catholic affiliation — made me wonder about a potential ghost in this piece:

[Read more...]