Bellows Falls wrestling: a rare and intense education

I appreciated this great article on a small coterie of young “workers,” whose chosen afternoon job is not books or handing over food at a counter but, instead, learning the physical and mental skills requisite for getting opponents' shoulders to a mat. What other teenage boys around Windham County regularly do cartwheels and somersaults and handsprings?

Also great: two mature men as coaches, sometimes working one on one with 10 young men and always monitoring everyone's moves toward improvement.

What schoolroom teacher has this luxury of two hours of daily attentiveness from a self-willed group of learners? What a rare and intense education, there in the Bellows Falls Union High School cafeteria, these students of an ancient sport are having.

And congratulations to Coaches Swisher and Viens giving a portion of their lives to this kind of learning or self-improvement. And to guest columnist James McCarthy for sharing his knowledge of this arduous kind of education, or sport, with its lessons in pride and discipline. And to the team for coming in seventh in standing at the state tournament (out of 22 Vermont schools), even though this Bellow Falls-Hartford team's numbers are small and some weight classes might be empty. Indeed, one team member, Kyle Record '15, came in second in the state, in the 182-pound weight class.

The article was graced also by a team photograph displaying young men, or students, of varying ages and sizes but all equal there on the benches, as comrades and “workout partners,” and in their practice room pairs displaying a mutual dependence on one another.

Thanks also to The Commons for making this unusual Windham County school activity known to a wider public.

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