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Watch this inspirational moment from a youth wrestling match, and even your Grinch heart will grow three sizes (video)

Dec 4, 2012, 7:20 PM EDT


What happens when one kid’s character and generosity collides with another kid’s courage and determination? You get an inspirational moment for the ages … and it was all caught on video.

In this corner you have Jared Stevens, a 13-year-old with cerebal palsy who loves wrestling, and practices every day with the Sunset Middle School (Franklin, Tenn.) wrestling team. This is despite the fact that Jared has the physical strength of a six-month-old, and cannot stand without help. In the other corner is Justin Kievit, 13, a wrestler at nearby Freedom Middle School who, as it turns out, has a heart as big as Jared’s enormous spirit.

Jared’s coach wanted the boy to experience a real wrestling match with an opponent from another team, so he asked the Freedom coach to choose an opponent for Jared, one who had “the kindest heart.” The coach chose Kievit, and the resulting video has gone viral.

Kievit got on the floor with Jared, and in an extraordinary gesture, especially for a 12-year-old, took Jared’s arm and pulled it over himself, and let Jared “pin” him.

“It’s what — a minute, minute and a half maybe?” says Jared’s dad, Phil Stevens. “But it’s the echoes of it that make the difference.”

The Facebook version of the video has gone viral. This is the YouTube version, which was shot by Justin’s mom.

Right after that now Facebook-famous match was another exhibition match between Hunter Alexandro, a double amputee from Freedom, up against Sunset’s Zach Holmes, chosen, like Kievit, because of his character.

“Hunter put in a nice deep underhook and finished with a half,” Mayes says.

“After both of those matches, there wasn’t a dry eye in the gym,” says Coach Stevens.

My favorite part is this quote from Phil Stevens:

“We’re all pretty physical at home,” he says. “And he’s always talking smack around us. He’ll say, ‘You want to go, Dad? I’ll bust you up.’”

  1. bh83 - Dec 5, 2012 at 12:53 AM