There may be hope for this next generation after all, as a middle school wrestler showed great class and sportsmanship when he let his opponent, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, win the match and realize a dream.
The YouTube video shows Jared Stevens, a 13-year-old who suffers from the debilitating Cerebral Palsy, fulfill his dream to fight in a competitive wrestling match.
Justin Kievit, Stevens’ opponent, shook the boy’s hand after he was placed on the mat in Nolensville, Tennessee.
When the referee signaled the match to begin, Kievit laid on the mat and allowed Stevens to put him in a hold and win the match.
The video has gone viral, with tens of thousands of shares on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
“It’s what — a minute, minute and a half maybe?” said Jared’s dad, Phil Stevens to The Tennessean. “But it’s the echoes of it that make the difference.”
Jared is intellectually on par with kids his age, but has the physical capabilities of an infant. This didn’t stop him from going to practice as a middle school wrestler everyday.
“The first time he met Jared was when he shook hands with him before the match. So it really was spontaneous. They just picked this kid,” said Craig Kievit, Justin’s father.
“If you watch the video, he just did an amazing job. There’s not many adults comfortable putting hands on a disabled kid, much less another 13-year-old.”
It was a dream come true for Jared.
“It felt good,” Jared said about his first wrestling experience to the Franklin Home Page.
“I think a lot of people are scared to put kids like me on the mat, but they don’t need to be.”
One of three triplet brothers, this is not the first time Jared has taken to the sporting field.
“Last year he tried football, then he decided he wanted to try something different,” Phil Stevens said.
We can all learn a lot from Justin and Jared.
James Gilbert | Elite.