By Jack Williams
In an incredible show of sportsmanship, a youngster with cerebral palsy won his first-ever competitive match – forming a lifelong friendship with his opponent.
The crowd went wild as 13-year-old Lucas Lacina pinned his opponent, Dalton Miller, 12, in their middle school wrestling match, causing Lucas’ mother, Jill, to beam with pride.
The pair had never met before the competition last month between Lucas’ West Branch Middle School and Dalton’s Mid-Prairie Middle School, in West Branch, Iowa.
Jill, 37, said: “My heart was about to explode out of my chest.
“We were hopeful Lucas would be able to use a walker someday, but never did we think we would get to witness him walking out onto a wrestling mat in front of a hometown crowd.
“There are no words to describe our family’s pride.
“After years of intensive therapies and thousands of miles traveled and hours of sweat, hard work and tears.
“It was all finally paying off.
“The pride we felt for both boys is out of this world.
“If we could all be a little more like Dalton and the kids and coaches that make up these two teams this world would be a better place.”
Lucas, who took his first steps in 2010, had joined the school wrestling team because his family wanted him to become involved in a school sanctioned sport.
Wrestling, they thought, would allow Lucas to work on his strength and conditioning, and so he was made manager of the team.
At a recent home meet, however, Lucas’ coaches said they would like him to partake in a competitive match – exciting the youngster, who had always wanted to wear a singlet, but making his parents nervous.
When coaches approached Dalton, who is lighter in weight than some of his teammates, the Mid-Prairie student had little hesitation in taking on the match – but no-one could have expected what came next.
Watching the events unfold left Jill “speechless,” and at the conclusion of the match, Dalton helped the referee raise Lucas to his feet and lift the victor’s hand.
Since the match, Lucas has not stopped watching his victory back, forming lasting friendship with Dalton.
Dalton’s mum, Sonya, added: “I was in tears – happy tears for Lucas, who was grinning from ear to ear and pride for the caring young man I have raised.
“I felt awe as he showed no hesitation in wanting to help make Lucas’ dream come true.
“He took Lucas’ hand and led him onto the mat as if they were long time friends.
“He feels others should be included if possible and wants to be everyone’s friend.
“I hope others will see it’s okay to wear your heart on your sleeve, make new friends, and show no hesitation in performing acts of kindness, big or small, with the class and grace of my sweet 12-year-old boy.
“Also never let anyone tell you you can’t do something!
“Lucas is a hero – he fought and wouldn’t take no for an answer and did the unthinkable.
“Just like everyone does that steps out onto the mat, win or lose, they are all heroes for trying!”