Patterson Mill Wrestling Hosts Annual Special Practice

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With the MPSSAA winter athletic season fast approaching, teams all around the state of Maryland are getting together to practice and prepare for the season that awaits. Patterson Mill wrestling is one of those teams. The Huskies are a mix of experience and youth this season, boasting a strong senior class that will anchor the team, as well as a big group of ninth graders who are in their first year of wrestling. The team graduated nine seniors last year though, meaning they have some holes to fill.

Despite having plenty of preparation to do on the mats before their season starts, Patterson Mill still took the time yesterday to welcome students from Maryland School for the Blind for an annual practice the two groups do together.

"We've been doing this for over five years," Patterson Mill head coach Ryan Arist said. "Every year we look forward to it as the Patterson Mill students learn as much from the experience as the Maryland School for the Blind students learn about wrestling"

When Maryland School for the Blind first contacted Patterson Mill about doing a practice together, Arist jumped at the chance to host the group, seeing it as a teachable moment for his wrestlers. The practice has definitely had the desired effect, with the 2015 version of it being a big success.

"Wrestling today helped me understand the different ways you can overcome a disability," senior captain Colin McDonald said.

His fellow captain, Juan Bustamente, agrees.

"It made me appreciate the little things in life," Bustamente said.

Arist structures the practice just like a normal one, except the Huskies are paired with students from Maryland School for the Blind throughout their different drills. Patterson Mill's wrestlers go through the different moves with the students and teach them about the proper ways to wrestle.

At the end of the practice, Patterson Mill's students get to learn a little bit about the other students' world, by wrestling each other with blindfolds on.

"It showed me that no disability can stop someone from doing something that they love to do," senior David Single said.

For Arist, he views the practice as a good chance for his students to grow as people, as well as learn lessons they can use both on and off the wrestling mat.

"I hope they just learn to appreciate what they have and understand there are different challenges other people can have, and work through, on a daily basis," Arist said.
November 24th, 2015By: Wick Eisenberg

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