Should Boys Wrestle Girls?

A not so classic boy meets girl on a wrestling mat story. Boy (Joel Northrup) qualifies for Iowa state wrestling tournament. So does girl (Cassy Herkelman). Boy and girl are scheduled to compete against each other first round. Boy respectfully decides not to wrestle girl and defaults the match. The world is now in an uproar.

Joel explained his decision to default to Cassy, one of the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history, by saying:

As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner.”

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times.”

As the Associated Press reported, Joel “refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament . . . relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling with a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.”

Cassy’s father, Bill Herkelman, responded to Joel’s decision by saying,

“I sincerely respect the decision of the Northrup family especially since it was made on  the  biggest stage in wrestling. I have heard nothing but good things about the Northrup family and hope Joel does very well the remainder of the tourney.”

Joel’s father is a minister at Believers in Grace Fellowship, an independent Pentecostal church in Marion. Their pastor, Bill Randles stated,

“We believe in the elevation and respect of woman and we don’t think that wrestling a  woman is the right thing to do. Body slamming and takedowns, that full contact sport is not how to do that.”

Should Joel be applauded for standing up for his religious beliefs and trying to respect a woman by not wrestling her? OR Should Joel have decided to show Cassy respect by wrestling her based on her skills, not her gender?

What do YOU think?


11 thoughts on “Should Boys Wrestle Girls?

  1. I commend Joel for his decision which was not an easy one, since it goes against the culture of our day. He acted in an honorable way, acknowledging that men and women are different and should be treated accordingly. May we have more young men of his character who are willing to step up to the plate and stand for that which is good, prudent and honorable.

  2. I certainly support his decision–and like the respect that others seemed to treat him with for standing up for his convictions, and the fact that he had another chance to still complete.

    I’d be curious what kind of religious concerns he had–competing against girls in any kind of sport? or touching and grabbing a girl in the kinds of places you do in wrestling? I think I would be most uncomfortable with the latter.

  3. Joel should definitely be applauded! I understand that people might say he didn’t respect her enough based on her skills. But seriously, you can’t be more of a man, that Joel has been! Besides, he did explain that it was his religious beliefs, and I fully support him. God bless his good soul!

  4. He should definitely be applauded! To say he should have wrestled her because of her skills smacks of the feminism our generation has swallowed hook, line, and sinker. Kudos for taking a tough stand for conviction on such a public stage!

  5. Joel deserves a nod for doing what he felt right. A local high school kid quit the whole season when he was faced with the same decision. Joel wrestled on.

    And I guess that’s the point of sports, more than anything else. Once you sign up to compete, you go. Remember Chris Everet and nice she was while carving up her competition on the courts? Sports have rules that unleash aggressive behavior.

    The two wrestlers signed up, got to a decision, and showed the sort of respect toward one another you hope to see. It’s a win-win for them both, but only one of the wins count on the mat.

    The worst offender from the media parade is Rick Reilly, a famous sports writer, and wrestling dummy for a girl wrestler demonstrating a takedown.

    Final answer: Joel did the only thing he could do, and I praise him for it, but I also give Cassy credit for not caving in such a manly environment.

  6. I believe Joel did the right thing. Had his reason been because he thought it was below himself to wrestle a girl, that would have been wrong, but because he chose to not wrestle her out of respect for her, that was the right decision.

  7. I applaud Joel for his decision. I feel he has shown his respect for women in a very classy and dignified way, especially for someone of his age. As a an independent women who has participated in athletics all of my life, I appreciate the improvements competing against men can bring to a female athlete’s game. However, with wrestling being a one-on-one full contact sport, so many other issues can arise. I am proud he was able to stand up for his beliefs. Imagine what the world would be like if men and women of all ages would stand up for their belief in the Word of God!

  8. I think he should be applauded for staying true to himself. Of course he did not wrestle for his school and go to the championship to default, that takes true conviction and I cannot be angry or disappointed about it. Many websites that I have come across said he was being “sexist.” I think for someone like me in my 20?s it’s nice to know that there are real, genuine, and sincere young gentlemen who will forfeit a championship for the sake of respecting women. Two thumbs up for him!

  9. Hey, my hubby and I really like your blog. 🙂 We’re both bloggers ourselves, and he insisted that I message you. Great job!

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