Zachary Lederer is trying to strong-arm cancer.
The Popeye pose of the Maryland basketball student manager -- both arms raised in triumph an hour after Jan. 25 surgery for brain cancer -- has gone viral. Some 1,700 Facebook and 1,200 Twitter followers from as far as Greece and the Philippines have followed with poses of their own.
"Zaching" has replaced "Tebowing."
"He wants to be an inspiration -- to keep on fighting," Terrapins basketball coach Mark Turgeon said. "It's truly amazing from one picture where this has gone. It is powerful. People are always looking for inspiration."
The freshman was back at practice two days after surgery, throwing rebounds to players. Chemotherapy looms in two weeks. So does hair loss. But the 18-year-old seeks nothing more than a bit of normalcy in the most abnormal of times. He just wants to be around the team.
"Don't worry about me," Lederer said. "We all have our daily battles. You're going to make it through, and hopefully I'm going to make it through."
He will have to make it through six months of chemo and maybe four more months of radiation to rid himself fully of the tumor; only 90 percent was able to be removed during the surgery. But this is nothing new for Lederer; he already beat cancer at age 11. He eventually played high school football.
The tumor returned last month, and surgery quickly was scheduled. One hour afterward, still groggy from the morphine, Lederer asked his father to take a photo to reassure family and friends that he would be fine. Lederer's mother said no, that her son didn't look that well.
No matter -- Lederer wanted to show he could stay strong, an example for all those young children he saw in the hospital who needed someone to tell them things will be OK. So he struck a pose for victory. His cousins named it Zaching.
"I wanted to make it clear: 'Here I am -- as strong as ever,'?" he said. "Who am I not to fight? Who am I not to be strong?"
The Terps' players started posing as a sign of unity. So did pro athletes, actors, media personalities, politicians, friends, medical staff -- everyone showing support for those with cancer.
"People don't like to talk about cancer," Lederer said. "I hope Zaching brings awareness."
Lederer kisses chains around his neck before every game to remember a young friend who died of cancer. He also touches every storm drain he passes and the ceiling of his room when he leaves. Lederer is superstitious, though nothing really fazes him anymore.
The broadcast journalism major's bad grades from the first semester no longer matter. They will get better. So will he.
"This puts things in perspective," Lederer said. "I don't feel bad about myself one bit."
Everything, he says, is an opportunity. To grow as a person. To help others. To show his inner strength. Zaching means the cancer won't win.
"I'm sure I'll be better off after this," he said. "Don't spend your time worrying about me. I'll be OK."