A few weeks ago a local high school athlete died in a Spring Break accident. He was a great athlete, fine student, well-liked friend and son and he had earned a college athletic scholarship. So many people could not believe the news. How could such a thing happen? I was one of those mourners. What a tragedy!
In the days that followed, my wife and I constantly talked about the incident. (My wife and I are in this together, trying to build fine young men and fine young women, what a great woman!) Suddenly, it dawned on us that this type of tragedy is not an isolated incident. I don’t mean there are even more Spring Break accidents, where teenagers get injured or even killed.
But instead, I mean that far more teenagers are dying every day. These teenagers are often not the celebrated teen who apparently has it all together. They are the neglected teens, the sons of divorced parents or absent fathers, they are the neglected teens who live in poverty-stricken areas full of hopelessness, they are the orphans who are in gangs, shooting at each other every day, the teens that buy, sell and use drugs for the money and the high.
At the high school where I teach history and coach wrestling, teens are dying. Probably not the violent, tragic death mentioned above but a slow, quiet death, nonetheless. My boys’ senses are being dulled every day, watching hours of TV and movies every day. (I think the national average is over 6 hours a day!) They play hours of video games each day. They listen to their Ipods ALL DAY LONG! On top of this, they are constantly texting WHILE they listen to their Ipods! The pornography that is available to them is overwhelming. Most are in a stupor, a trance. They are of the world and in the world and they think this is what life is all about.
At Winton Woods, we are trying to save our boys through the wrestling team. The mission includes building a championship caliber wrestling team, one that is competitive against the finest teams in the state; actively contributing to the welfare of our community through community service; and forming virtuous young men through an involved, mentoring-oriented character program. It is hard work!! Chasing young men down every day, chiding them to do the right thing in the classroom, in the wrestling room, at home and in the community when so many voices are telling them to live selfishly is a constant up-hill battle. But it can be done….and we are going to do it…we ARE doing it. So many people have helped, saving young men from death at our school. Donors have given money, and resources. People have volunteered their time. Prayers have been said on our behalf. God is in charge and He wants this to happen. He has shown us how in the past and He will continue to show us in the future what to do to save these boys lives.
Winton Woods is not the only place where God wants this to happen. Communities across the country are filled with thousands of teenage boys that are dying a slow death. You as a coach can do something about it. You as a parent can do something about it. You as a store manager can do something about it. You as an American citizen can do something about it. You as an adult can do something about it; Get involved, support a program, give some of your time, share a skill, whatever. BUT DO SOMETHING! The battle for our youth is on, the question is, have you joined the battle?
Winton Woods Wrestling
“For we do not wrestle against flesh alone but against the cosmic powers over this present darkness.” Ephesians 6-12