Down Syndrome Wrestler
Down Syndrome, U.S.

For Everyone Who Worries About the Next Generation

After hearing this story about a young man in Massachusetts, all I can say is, don’t buy into what you hear about Millennials (or any other demographic group for that matter). Time magazine called Millennials “lazy, entitled, self-obsessed narcissists”, and this sentiment seems to be pervasive. It’s not fair. I’m a Baby-Boomer and I know plenty of these types of people too.

In an effort to further the Revolution of the Heart, I’d like to push back with evidence against this stereotype. Our world is not served by such negative talk about anyone, especially from a media outlet. How about this? How about we accept that there are all kinds of people in the world. How about we accept that young people are different than older people–in attitude, in beliefs, in knowledge–and that’s an awesome thing?

In writing about people with Down syndrome I have experienced mountains of goodness in people from all over the world, including American Millennials. So, I put forth a concrete example of how great Millennials are. This is not just a one-off, and if challenged I’ll be able to find you ten more stories in a matter of hours.

In this story, a young guy, through his humble act of kindness, shows the shining light we all have inside of us. ALL of us.

His name is Deven Schuko, and at the time of this story he was an undefeated wrestler for Norton High School in Norton, MA and the No.1-ranked Massachusetts Division III wrestler in his weight class. One more win and he would have a dream senior year under his belt. And, with such accomplishments, Deven’s future was bright.

At the last match of the season, Deven went up against a young guy named Andy Howland of nearby Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School. Andy is a Down syndrome person and an avid and successful wrestler in his own right. Deven and Andy shook hands, and as Deven tells it,

…we locked up and he was a tough kid and he bulldogged me over to my back. I couldn’t stop the power.

Andy won. Andy’s joy filled the gym, but could not be matched by the outpouring towards Deven. Deven gave up his shot at a perfect season, in his senior year, at his final match, in order to give a fellow sportsman, a fellow human, the gift of self-worth and self-pride (which I would argue they both received).

Schuko said, via CBS Boston,

I’ve been in sports all my life and wrestling I believe is most demanding and for someone like Andy to wrestle and stick with it, I wanted to make his day.’

And what is the catalyst for Deven’s selfless behavior? Down syndrome. Yup, once again a Down syndrome person has brought out the best of the human spirit.

Deven Schuko, one of those Millennials, showed the whole world what people everywhere are made of. My guess is his future became even brighter, shining from the inside, on the day he made the choice to give Andy this gift.

He may not know it, but Deven Schuko is a leader in the #RevolutionoftheHeart.

Here’s a video of the match.

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