Let it rest

Patrick Newell

Working for a daily newspaper, I am privy to what will appear on the pages before stories and news items go to print. Some time this week, the following “30 Seconds” entry will likely appear:
“For the record, in order to be a state-level wrestler, you have to win the sections.” –– Man from Oxford.
Unless you read each of our pages closely, including the obituaries, you may have no idea what the man from Oxford is referring to. I know exactly why this man was compelled to make an anonymous clarification,
Earlier this month, a young man from Oxford died unexpectedly and tragically in an accident. The 20-year-old graduated from Oxford Academy a couple of years ago, and wrestling was one of his extracurricular activities. In this young man’s obituary, he was described as a state-level wrestler.
The man from Oxford is right in the obvious or literal definition of a state-level wrestler. The recently-deceased young man did not win a sectional championship during his high school wrestling career.
I am of the mind to cut some slack here. A state-level wrestler can mean several things, and under a more general definition of the term, this deceased Oxford graduate’s participation in wrestling may indeed meet my basic criteria.
For instance: Did this young man compete in scholastic tournaments that included wrestlers from all parts of the state? Did he participate in offseason tournaments that showcased wrestlers from all parts of New York? Did he, by chance, compete in the Empire State Games or any national qualifiers during his years as a wrestler?
Since Oxford hosts an annual tournament that invites teams from all parts of New York, I know this young man meets at least one of the criteria I set forth. This man’s family is grieving their loss, and it’s not time to nit-pick the semantics of an obituary. Let the young man rest in peace.