After eight years of competitive wrestling, 12-year old Gavin Cox of Farmington finally won a match. For any boy this would be a milestone, but for Gavin, who has had cerebral palsy since birth, this was a moment to truly savor.
Gavin, wrestling for the Heights Middle School, won when he was able to get his opponent, Alex Rodriquez of the Hermosa Middle School, in a cradle, and then pinned him.
“It felt really great. It made me happy to get someone in a pin,” Gavin said about his success.
Coach Matt Shrock of the Hermosa Middle School was proud of what his player Rodriquez did and the lesson his entire team learned.
“Rodriguez stepped on the mat unsure of how it would turn out,” he said. “He probably lost sleep over that match the night before, but he will never lose sleep over that match again. He showed a lot of integrity maybe other kids wouldn’t, and he will always know it is not just about winning and losing.”
Gavin also knows well it’s not all about winning, or losing. When he was nine months old doctors told Gavin’s parents that he would most likely not be able to walk without surgery, and he could easily be wheelchair bound his entire life. But at 4 years old Gavin wanted to do what his older brothers were doing, so he kept up with wrestling. He says he loves the sport because he likes the physical contact wrestling entails, and it also helps him channel his anger.
“For him to be on the mat and to do the things he does is pretty amazing. It is huge for him to get out there and participate, even though he is different and moves different than other kids,” said his mother, Leslie Cox. “It is three or four times harder for him to walk and move than anyone else. He just wants to be like everyone else.”