Kids these days will surprise you — Wrestler shows there is more than winning involved

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Angel Escalante

 

By Tim Scott

Fryeburg Academy

Guest Writer

My grandfather, the country doctor in early 1900s Canada, was known for shaking his head at the antics and rebelliousness of his two young sons.

This is not a new phenomenon and it has likely spanned generations for as long as humans have existed; the impatience of the elders with the recklessness and irresponsibility of the youngsters in their midst. It was no different when I was young, and yet each generation continues to think that the current crop of young people is about the worst to ever come along.

If you feel this way too, here is a story about one young man that will likely change your mind.

Angel Escalante is a four-year boarding student at Fryeburg Academy, who hails from Allston, Mass. As a junior, he is a key player on the Academy’s winning wrestling team, a highly competitive arena and outlet where youthful energy can strut its stuff. Angel came here as a freshman in the fall of 2011 and is just one of those kids you intuitively like. He works hard, happily participates in school and community activities, has lots of friends, and yes, he is a very good wrestler. When one works in schools for long enough, after a while you know intuitively which kids are going somewhere. Angel is one of them.

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TIED UP — Angel Escalante of Fryeburg Academy (left) competes in a recent varsity wrestling match.

Just before Christmas, Angel was wrestling in a meet hosted at the Academy where his opponent was a young boy from Monmouth Academy who has, in the careful vernacular of these times, Special Needs. Instead of quickly pinning the boy as an opponent might, Angel wrestled him with the body and spirit of a teacher, letting him score points and even allowing himself to get pinned.

When I first heard of this story at Christmastime, I marveled at how generous Angel was even in a sport defined by strategy, strength, and often, the fierceness that leads to winning.

A few weeks into the New Year, at a match at Dirigo High School, Angel was to wrestle the young man again. Before his turn came, our entire team watched in disbelief while two opponents quickly dispatched the Monmouth boy, pinning him without a thought. Then, when it was Angel’s turn, he took his prior example to the next level, and without the boy knowing what was happening, they went three rounds, the boy scoring 24 points against Angel. He allowed himself to be flipped and pinned, and while at the end of the match Angel won by a few points, the Monmouth wrestler was beaming with the deep, and perhaps, unprecedented joy of having done so well against someone who was so good.

No, not good. Angel is great.

If that wasn’t enough to make us proud, a third match was in the works. This time, Angel asked his coach, Bryce Thurston, if he could let the Monmouth boy win by pinning him. Even learning that it would hurt his overall standings heading into the Regionals, Angel chose to let him win. The crowd, to no ones surprise, went wild.

By being himself, by acting in this kind and wholly unselfish way, Angel Escalante sets an example, and raises the bar for his fellow teammates, and therefore for all of us. I cannot imagine a more fitting definition of who we are and what we all strive to be here at the Academy. Thank you, Angel, for reminding us that in the end, kindness trumps winning any day.

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