The proliferation of bullying stories from around the Web is somewhat depressing. You can find them on business and in church ministry sites—and, of course, on sports sites. So when we run across stories of anti-bullying, of people doing sacrificial or conscientious acts for others, we should celebrate them. Here are three beautiful examples.
Michael Lind is a high school wrestler from the Atlanta area who has Down syndrome, which has prevented him from participating in any matches until the prestigious South Metro tournament in 2012. Lind’s coach called a rival coach to see if any of his wrestlers would compete against Lind in an exhibition match, and a young man named Demetrius de Moors volunteered. In front of hundreds of people at Georgia’s oldest wrestling tournament, de Moors wrestled Lind—and de Moors lost. And he won. He thought about what it would be like to be Michael Lind and tried to make the match as special as possible by competing and making Lind earn it. In the end he made a remarkable memory for the Lind family and an indelible impression on all who witnessed it (see video clip below).
Middle school is known as a time of insecurity and nastiness. But the Olivet, Mich., middle school football team proved that’s not always the case. Keith Orr is a learning-disabled player on the team, a little guy who would be the target of many bullies. But Orr is special to this team, and earlier this season his teammates conspired to give him singular moment. Scheming behind all their coaches’ and parents’ backs, the players hatched a plan, a play actually, that Orr would never forget. Late in a game when the team was winning, an Olivet ball carrier intentionally avoided scoring and went down at the 1-yard line. The coaches were irate. The parents in the stands were confused. But on the very next play the players snuck Orr into the formation and, at the snap of the ball, 10 teammates ushered him into the end zone for his first-ever touchdown. The kid who might have been a middle school loser was the hero (see video clip below).
In Houston, 9-year-old Kayne Ortiz waited hours, hoping to get the autograph of his favorite Houston Texans football player, All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt. Ortiz was elated when Watt finally appeared and signed a football for him. As Ortiz and his mom headed back to their car, him clutching his new prized possession, he saw a boy in a wheelchair who had missed Watt, 15-year-old Zuriel Sanchez, who suffers from spina bifida. Ortiz looked at his mom and said, “I want to give this to that boy.” It was a selfless act to bless another person, one who would have been easy to overlook, and it made Sanchez’s day.
It’s worth looking for stories like these and sharing them. Such events are more than heart-warming; they’re challenging and inspiring. These young men set an example for their peers and their elders alike. May we all be so selfless and generous.