Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wrestler Steven Giampapa's Small Act of Kindness That Makes a Big Difference

With all the cruelness seen recently with events such as the Sandy Hook shooting, it is easy to forget that there is any kindness left in the world. But it's people like Burlington wrestler, Steven Giampapa, who remind us of the infinite kindness that lies within the human spirit. 

Danny Gill, a Wakefield High sophomore diagnosed with Down syndrome, has fought hard to be on his high school wrestling team. Finally he was given the opportunity, but his coach, Ross Ickes, has been struggling all season long to find him a match. He was trying to find him a match that would be able to be patient and "roll with him", as Coach Ickes says. 

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This match turned out to be state champion, Steven Giampapa. After Giampapa agreed to wrestle him, not only did Danny experience his first wrestling match- he also experienced his first victory. His parents, the crowd, and even the referee cheered along while Giampapa gave Danny the opportunity to experience what it was like to win a wrestling match, something he and his parents never thought possible before. 

When asked about the match, Giampapa says "beating another man on the mat like that, there is no better feeling than that and he got to feel that. That's what made me happy."

Danny would certainly agree with Giampapa that winning is an amazing feeling, even just being able to wrestle was enough for him. Halfway through the match he turns to give his mother, Lauren, a thumbs up and big smile. 

Watching their son wrestle and be so overjoyed doing it left Danny's parents in tears by the end of the match. "I was just so excited for Dan," says his mother, "I was very proud of him, he was very proud of himself." His father, Kevin, was equally thrilled about the wrestling match and about Giampapa. He comments on the experience saying, "This kid from Burlington, Steven, made him feel on the top of the world at that moment that night."

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Events like these are often underreported, but never under appreciated. It is the small, unknown acts of compassion and selflessness that give people happiness and fill them with a renewed sense of hope, that is often left broken after tragedy. 

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