A video that exhibits the "true sportsmanship" of a 12-year-old boy and his plucky wrestling opponent has gone viral on Facebook.
The clip, which features seventh grade wrestlers Justin Kievit and Jared Stevens, has racked up more than 87,000 shares since Justin's dad posted it on Facebook less than a week ago.
97 Rock Online explains:
Over the weekend a young wrestler from a Middle School in Tennessee did something that a lot of kids his age would not think about doing. He intentionally lost a match, but unintentionally won the hearts of anyone that watches his actions in the video.
“I think a lot of people are scared to put kids like me on the mat, but they don’t need to be,” Jared, a boy with cerebral palsy," told Franklin Home Page on Monday. His match with Justin had been his first.
Jared's father told the Tennesean that though his son has the physical capacity of a 6-month-old, his intellectual ability is close to his age level. Socially, his dad adds, Jared "hits it out of the park."
“Jared just likes to do stuff like everybody else," he told the Franklin Home Page. "There's a limit to what he can do, but something like wrestling, he can do that as much as he can do. He just enjoys being out there participating. He doesn't mind trying anything."
Clay Mayes, Jared's wrestling coach, said that the 13-year-old practices with his school's wrestling team every day.
When Jared expressed that he wanted to participate in a wrestling match, Mayes said he called his friend Randy Stevens (no relation), a coach at another middle school.
“It wasn’t about weight class,” Mayes told the Tennessean. “I told him to point me toward the kid who has the kindest heart.”
And that's how Justin Kievit got involved. In the clip, Justin can be seen shaking hands with Jared, before helping his opponent put an arm around him -- "pinning" him and therefore, winning.
“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. 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 [7th grader],” Jared's dad said of his son's wrestling opponent.
Many people who have watched the video said that they were deeply touched by both the sportsmanship and bravery shown by the two young boys.
"Love it!! Love the spirit of both boys!!! Both my boys wrestle now... Can't wait to share this with them and their team," one Facebook user wrote.
"This has truly warmed my heart... thanks for sharing, what a wonderful act of kindness," another said.