Now I’ve heard it all. Joel Northrup, an Iowa high school wrestler defaulted in his scheduled match against a girl, claiming his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to partake in the festivities.
Now, his has nothing to do with a boy and a girl in tights rolling around together in an intimate way, but Northrup’s problem is the violence involved in the sport.
“Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times,” said Northrup, “As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.”
As a result, Cassy Herkelman, a freshman in high school, would become the first girl to win a match in an Iowa State tournament match in the 112 pound weight class.
So, this is a tough one. Wrestling is fighting. Pound for pound, men are typically stronger than women. Especially those who strive to be strong. I can point out a million examples of this. And in this case, Northrup is a sophomore with a 35-4 record, scheduled against a 20-13 freshman. So even the skills and experience weren’t evenly matched.
This is going to be a very unpopular opinion, but wrestling is a form of fighting. There’s no ball or steering wheel, this is a battle of pure physical strength. Technique, of course, is key, but wrestlers are specifically known for their superior strength. Many, if not most of today’s UFC fighters come from high school and college wrestling backgrounds, many even having not been very well-accomplished before dominating in professional MMA fighting. And if we’re going to allow men and women to wrestle one another, are we also going to allow them to fight one another? I hope not.
I also happen to believe that men and women shouldn’t fight. This isn’t saying that there aren’t many, many women who could kick the shit out of me, because there are. It’s saying that at that level, all things being equal (skill, weight, etc), men usually win in a sport like wrestling. Urijah Faber weighs 145 pounds and I doubt there’s a 145 pound woman on the planet who could stop him. Maybe I’m wrong.
I am all for women in sports, and I’m even for women competing against men, in some cases. But I can also see a man being completely against fighting a woman.
Wrestling is a violent sport, and while it is a woman’s choice to decide whether or not to defy the odds and fight against men, the man should also have a choice. Her desire to fight him doesn’t outweigh his desire not to fight her. He has rights, too.
When I wrestle with my girlfriend, she goes all out. She gives it everything she has and offers very little concern about whether or not she’s giving me too much. I, on the other hand, in addition to defending myself, am trying not to hurt her.
If I was wrestling with my friends (which I don’t do anymore because it lost its appeal long ago), there would be no holding back.
My point is simply that I am built to not hurt a woman, even if she is punching the shit out of me. Not all men are like that, but many are. If that makes us sexist pigs, so be it. I also have all the organized religious training of my sock drawer, so I don’t believe religion is what this is about, even though that seems to pop out as the issue. It’s a little more than that. This is a kid who believes it’s not okay to get violent with women. Yay!!!
Forget how he learned it. I don’t care. It could have been on the back of a Frosted Flakes box with a little maze and when you get to the center it says, “Don’t hit girls! Even if they want you to!”
This is about a kid with a strong moral compass and the conviction to sacrificing something he loves for what he believes, and is doing it in a non-violent way where the only person who gets hurt is ultimately Joel Northrup. Cassy Herkelman got a record that will stand forever, a record she likely wouldn’t have had if they actually wrestled. I’m sure not the way she wanted it, but I’m sure he didn’t want to forfeit and be eliminated.
I’m not saying that women will never be able to compete against men in physical strength, but it’s going to take some evolution. Men have been competing in sports for thousands of years, and for thousands of years before that we were throwing rocks at each other. It’s in our DNA. We’re bred for it.
Women have only been heavily involved in athletics or even war in the last twenty years. As more women continue to push the limits of their physical abilities, future generations will become physically stronger. It’s already happening. And hopefully cattle steroids will also do their part. I saw a thirteen year old girl the other day that looked like she ate Dolph Lundgren. Give it a hundred years and she’ll be the norm.
Listen, ladies, you use more of your brains than we do. That’s way better. Since ancient times, we’ve built our muscles to compensate for our stupidity with brute strength. That’s why we bust down doors when we can’t figure out how to open them. Why we wander around aimlessly, frustrated, refusing to ask for directions until we’re completely lost. It’s why we hit each other with stuff. Hell, the whole reason we invented wrestling was because it seemed like a good alternative to hitting each other with stuff. It was probably a woman’s idea. And yet? We still hit each other with stuff.
What I’m trying to say is, dammit, you’re already superior to us in just about every way. Do you have to beat us up, too?