Moms Talk: Wrestling—for Boys AND Girls?

What is fair in male/female sports these days?

Did you catch the story recently on the boy wrestler who gave up his shot at the state championship because he would not wrestle a girl?  The 16-year-old boy is Joel Northrup and the 14-year-old girl is Cassy Herkleman. Both are high school wrestlers from Iowa pitted against each other in the first round of the Iowa State wrestling tournament.

Joel walked off the mat and forfeited his chance at the state title because he would not wrestle with a girl. In an interview with Fox News, he said that he made this decision based on his moral beliefs. He did not believe it was right to wrestle a girl and engage in the compromising holds that wrestling entails. He said that he was choosing to honor the girl and her future husband by refusing to wrestle with her.

Some have questioned his decision stating that if he really wanted to respect this girl, he would have faced her in the wrestling tournament. Joel’s father, Jamie, told the Des Moines Register, "We believe in the elevation and respect of women, and we don't think that wrestling a woman is the right thing to do. Body slamming and takedowns, full contact sport, is not how to do that."

What do you think about this?  With girls making advances in almost every sport offered in high school, do you think it is appropriate for girls and boys to compete in highly physical sports?  Do you think girls should be allowed to play on predominantly male sports teams such as football in high school?  Was Joel really respecting Cassy by his decision?

Norbert Proust March 02, 2011 at 09:33 PM
The gentlemanly thing to do would be to defer personal preferences and respect the young woman's wishes before foisting one's own upon her. An honest discussion between the two athletes might have engendered empathy for a common spirit of honest competition, and overcome the barrier of cultural prejudice. If not, at least the young lady who was snubbed would be accorded an intellectual venue in which to compete, and an insight into why she would be treated in such a manner.
Rebecca Cleary March 03, 2011 at 12:03 AM
I was really impressed with him when I heard him interviewed. I think his decision to not wrestle a girl is admirable. His main point was that the holds and body slams were just not appropriate for him to be performing on a girl or her on him. He stood behind his beliefs and that is certainly his right. To wrestle her would be compromising his standards and I don't think anyone should be forced to do that. I would be very proud of my sons if they made the same decision.
Debbie Terry March 07, 2011 at 10:13 PM
When will men stop deciding what is "right" for women. The question - "should girls be allowed" should never be used. It is demeaning. Who decides what girls and women can and can not do? The question is - who is responsible for raising boys to believe it is embarassing to "lose" to a girl? Cassy Herkleman is an athlete. Congratulations to her. Bottom line is - she won. He lost.
ChessiePk March 09, 2011 at 02:05 PM
I think there should be a separation of girls and boys in this sport. I commend the young man for not wanting to put this girl in a compromising position. Quite frankly, I don't know why a girl would want to wrestle in the first place. There is too much opportunity for a girl to get hurt. As for other sports, they are kept separate...gymnastics, lacrosse, football, etc. Certainly the time has not come for girls to be wrestling boys.


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