There’s an old saying that goes something like, “We are judged by the choices we make.”
This is the story of a choice made by Michael Do.
Michael is a Grade 11 student at Vancouver College, the Catholic boys high school in Vancouver.
Michael is also a wrestler, and 10 days ago he competed at a meet in Burnaby.
What follows is a note his wrestling coach Mike Roselli sent to one of the school’s Vice-Principals the following morning.
Something happened at yesterday’s wrestling tournament in Burnaby that you need to know about. There is a young man that I see at every wrestling tournament that wrestles in the 90kg weight class and he has never won a match. This young man has Down syndrome.
It came time for Michael Do to wrestle this young man and he asked me for instructions on how to proceed. I told Michael to win the match but not wrestle too hard or fast and give the young man an opportunity to enjoy some time on the mat wrestling. After Micheal was up 8-0 he looked at me so serenely and smiled. He then proceeded to let this young man take him down 3 times for 8 points, time then expired with the match tied 8-8. Since this young man scored the last points, he won the match, his very first win, ever! When Michael walked off the mat and came over to me, he smiled and very quietly said, “it was the right thing to do.” I had to take a moment to compose myself.
During this young man’s next match his opponent from another school, following Michael’s example, did the exact same thing. This young man had now won 2 straight matches and his very first medal, bronze.
This boy and his father had tears of joy and we, wrestlers and coaches from different schools, all hugged while the tournament stopped and people applauded.
It takes one small act of kindness to change the world and it was Michael Do, a young man from VC, who did something special for another person.
This is the true nature of sport and an example for all how to treat one another.
So, Michael Do made a choice.
Needless to say, his family is very proud of Michael’s choice, as are his wrestling coaches, his teachers at Vancouver College, and the men and women who taught Michael at the elementary school he attended, St. Joseph’s, a small Catholic elementary school on Fleming Street in East Vancouver.
But also a shout out to the athletes and coaches from the other schools at the meet in Burnaby, who immediately got the impact of Michael’s choice.
And finally, a shout out to Connor Diamond of Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam, the athlete Michael wrestled against, and his dad Steve.
For those of us with kids who came with something extra like Down syndrome, we always hope our child can enjoy some of the things every child does and takes for granted, and when we see someone like Connor doing just that, it gives us all inspiration.
As does the choice that Michael Do made.
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