Honorary high school wrestling captain with disabilities gets his moment in the spotlight
At Dillon Keane's second wrestling match last Thursday night, the senior from Bradford Area High School in Pennsylvania took on junior Jake Meister, and couldn't wait to lose.
"He's always been such a big part of the team and such a big inspiration to all of us," he said.
Jake has cerebral palsy and autism. He doesn't speak, but he's become close with the wrestling team, which made him their honorary captain.
Dillon and his teammates wanted to get Jake a little closer to the action, which was just fine with his mom, Mary Jo Hardy.
"As a parent who was told when Jake was 3 he would never walk, talk, anything, to be able to watch him participate in a sport — it was a dream come true for the both of us, you could say," Hardy said.
The match ended just the way you would have wanted it to. Dillon, an otherwise undefeated district champ, was pinned by Jake, and the gym went nuts.
"I mean, it's a nice feeling. But that's not what it's about for me. I mean, showing that whenever you're given a situation to make a difference in someone's life, to take it," Dillon said.
Which meant everyone in Bradford, Pennsylvania, got to celebrate that most uncommonly wonderful of results: one match with two winners.
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