Burnt Hills Wrestling helped Doug Bennett become a part of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake community.
That community came together to help the Bennett family Sunday as they remembered Doug at a memorial service. The 20-year-old BH-BL grad died in an automobile accident March 3 in North Dakota.
“I had parents come up to me and say they had kids who graduated and came back to watch Doug wrestle,” said Doug’s father, Douglas Bennett.
“Doug was a very passionate wrestler, and he cared very much about his family and his teammates,” said BH-BL wrestling coach Steve Jones. “He’d do anything to help them out.”
Bennett’s personality was bigger than his 135-pound frame. Off the wrestling mat, Jones said that Bennett was quick with a joke to keep his teammates’ spirits up.
“I’d like to say he liked mischief,” said Jones. “He could make anybody laugh when they were down.”
One memory that sticks in the minds of Jones and Douglas Bennett was the night of the annual BH-BL wrestling banquet in 2010, when Doug was a senior.
“We do a thing where the senior wrestlers pass their neckties down to the juniors,” said Jones. “Well, Doug forgot his necktie. So when it was his turn, he simply said, ‘I forgot my necktie, so I’ll give this one the shirt off my back.’ And he did just that.”
“He had his tie on the back of the couch as we were getting ready to leave, and we were running a little behind,” said Bennett. “In the rush to get out, he left his tie behind.”
The Bennett family moved from Idaho to the BH-BL School District in 2006. Bennett said that he wanted his two oldest children – Doug and older sister Hali, who was a wrestling team manager – involved in school sports to help them with their transition to a new high school.