Jared Lamb, A Special Boy With A Very Special StoryPosted: Updated:
Tioga, N.Y. – “I pinned the kid in Elmira” said Tioga wrestler Austin Lamb.
A moment the Lamb family, friends, coaches and teammates will never forget. On Saturday, December 8, sixteen year old Jared Lamb won his very first varsity wrestling meet.
"He came up to me and said, aren't you so stinkin proud of me? said Jared’s mother, Julie Lamb. “I said I am, because that's what I always tell him, I'm so stinkin proud of you.”
But it’s the story behind the win that will send chills down your spine.
Jared was born with autism, but he and his family have never allowed it to stop him from working hard and living the life he desires.
Before wrestling, Jared joined Special Olympics when he was three years old and it has played dividends in his confidence, social life and everything in between. Tioga varsity wrestling has only been apart of Jared’s life for the last two years, when he joined the team as a freshman.
“That moment was huge” said Jared’s older brother and teammate, Austin Lamb. “I've watched him grow over the years and he's worked hard for everything and definitely deserved the moment.”
Julie Lamb video taped the entire match from the stands, with tears in her eyes. Proud tears, of course. But she wasn’t the only one who beamed with pride. Jared’s big brother, biggest supporter and protector, did the same thing. Austin, a defending state champion watched from the corner of the mat with pride and admiration.
"He's my inspiration” said Austin. “He works so hard, regardless of his disability and doesn't want to be treated any different than any normal person."
However, that inspiration is reciprocated from both the Lamb brothers and is felt throughout the entire Tioga wrestling team.
"He played football because he wanted to be with Austin and he wrestles because he wants to be on the same team as Austin" said wrestling head coach Kris Harrington.
The two have been inseparable since the moment they were born. Hand in hand, braving the storms of life together. Austin leading and Jared following.
"Austin is always encouraging Jared" said teammate John Worthing. "If he does something wrong, he'll show him what to do. He's an awesome big brother."
Now although the two share the same bedroom and walk through the same halls, they walk through completely different school halls. While Austin is at Tioga high school, Jared learns at the Oak Tree Program by Boces, in Johnson City. But, by the end of the day, Jared, Austin and their teammates all come together as one.
"I think that's what makes this so great, because if he's not working, he gets yelled at and when he works hard he gets praised" said Harrington. "There's no difference between him and anyone else."
"I have an expectation for him to go out and win when he wrestles" said Tioga's assistant wrestling coach, Ryan MacWhinnie. "I know he can, he's capable and knows what he's supposed to do.
But just like any mother, Julie Lamb worries, but knowing that her son is surrounded by coaches and teammates who view him as an inspiration, instead of different, has made all the difference, for Jared.
"That's helped in so many ways. I Never wanted anyone to treat him different." said Julie. He's to do everything everyone else does, don't go easy on him. Treat him like everyone else, I always say to the boys."
"Those boys, they really took that, they don't treat him special, they love to pick on him, teach him things, but they have so much fun with him. They really enjoy him and that's what its all about."
In July 2018, Jared competed in the USA Special Olympics games in Seattle and was then selected to be on team USA for the International Special Olympics. Jared will be going to Abu Dhabi to compete, in March.