GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Grand Haven middle-schooler Max Baykowski is completely blind. And he’s wrestling on the school's wrestling team. And he’s winning some matches.
“He always does three things: he does what’s best, he does what’s right, and he always has a positive attitude,” coach Mark Boersma said. "I can’t ask for anything more from any of my students who are wrestlers."
This year, with the encouragement of his math teacher, Boersma, who also coaches the wrestling team, Max is doing what no one knew he could.
“Not really no, I did not think I would be wrestling," Max admits. "It was something pretty new for me to do."
His mom, Kelly, never expected this either. She says being a part of the wrestling team helps Max in more ways than one. He’s a part of a team for the first time. He’s playing sports. It has helped his social life. It has helped him gain strength.
“It’s a little surreal, just because it wasn’t something I ever envisioned him doing,” Kelly said.
Max competes entirely based on feel, which, Max's mentors told him is not a disadvantage. If anything, they say it’s an advantage. He and his opponents maintain “constant contact” throughout the entire match, "because I’m blind and get to tell where they are all the time,” Max said.
Wrestling is a tough sport. But it’s made Max tougher. He says loves every second of it. “I agreed to try it out, and I really like it. Like it’s been hard sometimes, but I like haven’t even thought once of quitting."