This post is more of a feel good post than you might typically see here. There is a growing sentiment, popularly uttered by the “old timers” that ends in varying degrees of scorn of the attitudes and/or entitled natured of our beloved group of young people known as “millennials”. I received an email from one these millennials last night that provoked some thought. I was forced to ponder, in a chicken or the egg type of way, whether the author was simply an exception to the millennial stereotype or whether perhaps the values we espouse in wrestling may have taken hold and warded off those “evil” millennial thought processes. I didn’t come to a conclusion other than to be impressed beyond my literary capability at a young man who would make the offer he made, not because he was volunteered, but because he saw the value in giving back.
I don’t know the Pagliarulo family or AJ personally. What I know of AJ is what I have observed on the mat in 2 seasons of High School wrestling. I certainly recall mentioning his name more than once in blog posts, typically being impressed with his toughness and tenacious style. I come away from the receipt of his email with another layer of appreciation for his character. I know there are probably countless stories of similar acts by wrestlers in our state but this touched me directly. AJ is not only an elite wrestler in NH, but clearly a young man of extremely high character. I commend his parents and coaches for the job they have done instilling these values in AJ and he for accepting the message and practicing those values in a real and tangible way.
AJ’s letter is posted below. I highly encourage you to read it. Any other wrestlers and/or teams that would like to accept AJ/Bedfords challenge can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org