Wrestling breeds tough people but there are people who would argue that this week’s DCW MVP didn’t need any time on the mat to fortify the strength within.
Shawn Abraham is a junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School who happens to be blind. He believes people who watch him wrestle assume some things about the sport that he hopes he’s proving wrong.
“It seems like if you're blind people think it must be harder to do sports or anything else so I guess I do have to adapt to things that people just take for granted but that's something I do automatically,” said Abraham.
Roosevelt High Wrestling Coach Sean Schmaltz said he was floored in one of his first conversations with Abraham, when the high schooler told his coach he was learning how to use a crosswalk.
“He came in from day one he said don't treat me any different because I'm blind,” said Schmaltz.
Abraham is not focused on wins and losses when wrestling but on finding an escape from his everyday routine.
“It’s really a physical release,” said Abraham of wrestling. “I'm in the Science and Technology program here so I have to work a lot.”
Abraham feels like one reason he’s drawn to the sport is because it’s not that far removed from the classroom.
“A lot of wrestling is really about the mental aspect of it,” said Abraham. “You have to be mentally dominant and you have to work really hard.”
Abraham said he’s only reminded of his disadvantage when other people bring it up. Abraham’s coach believes that’s part of what makes him special with or without wrestling.
“In my eyes he already had that toughness,” said Schmaltz. “He’s a very independent young man, very bright and someone who has a bright future ahead of him.”