Jared Stevens of Sunset Middle School in Brentwood, Tenn., participated in his first-ever wrestling match. Stevens, who according to the Tennessean has cerebral palsy, which limits him to the physical capacity of a 6-month-old, was laid down on the school's wrestling mat and shook hands with his opponent.
At that moment, opponent Justin Kievit, a 12-year-old team captain for Freedom Middle School's wrestling team, had the opportunity to be heroic.
After Stevens was placed on the mat and the whistle was blown, Kievit began to pull Stevens' arm across his body, pinning himself underneath his opponent. The official began to count down while Kievit struggled to be set free.
"It's what — a minute, minute and a half maybe?" Jared Stevens’ dad, Phill Stevens told the Tennessean. “But it’s the echoes of it that make the difference.”
Jared Stevens, who practices with the Sunset Middle School wrestling team, made it known daily to wrestling coach Clay Mayes that he would like to participate in an actual match. According to the Tennessean, Mayes contacted Freedom's coach, Randy Stevens.
“It wasn’t about weight class,” Mayes said. “I told him to point me toward the kid who has the kindest heart.”
The video was posted to YouTube by Jared Stevens’ dad, which has received more than 500,000 views. Justin Kievit’s dad posted a video with a view from the stands to Facebook, which has more than 100,000 shares.12 comments on this story
Each video continues to be emailed and shared with others as an inspiring story of sportsmanship and genuine kindness.
Suzanne Holland Satterfield posted on Facebook, "This has truly warmed my heart ... thanks for sharing, what a wonderful act of kindness."
Lance Akridge also posted, "Made me tear up — can you imagine what that meant to the boy and his family?!"
Sarah Sanders Petersen is an intern for Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She is a communications major and editing minor from Brigham Young University.