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Senior Contributor

Wrestling

I wanted to share this video of one of my classmates' daughters. She is the first girl to ever qualify to wrestle at the Iowa State High School Tournament, and she's wrestling there this morning. She's a beautiful girl and is doing an amazing job at doing so well in a male-dominated sport. Seeing her and her dad hug at the end of the video is so sweet.

 

Cassy Herkelman qualifies for state tournament

 

What are your thoughts on girls wrestling, or playing football, or participating in other traditionally male sports?

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wrestling

Update: Cassy is advancing to the next round because the boy she was scheduled to wrestle this morning forfeited the match. Tomorrow morning, she is set to wrestle someone from Indianola, the hometown of both of her parents (and me). Exciting!

 

Here's an article that was written about the possible forfeit:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/wrestle/2011-02-16-girl-wrestler_N.htm

 

It's kind of a hard thing! It's too bad for the boy who forfeited that he didn't get to wrestle in the tournament, which he earned, because of his and his family's beliefs. Still, I wouldn't want to take anything away from Cassy ... she has worked so hard and is really dedicated.

 

My boys wrestled in pee-wee wrestling for a few years, and although there were girls at their meets, they were never matched up against a girl. You tell you boys to never ever lay their hands on a girl, but when they get on the mat, that goes out the window. Interested to hear what you all think!

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Re: Wrestling

I saw that.  It would be hard for a young man who has his priorities in a row.  You don't want to teach anyone to be agressive with girls.  My son's best bud, won 1A 171 yesterday.  The young man is a very hard worker, milked cows for several years and now works at a hog farm whenever he has free time.  And he is only a junior in high school.  We have all been watching him for several years, knowing that he could make it to state. (and his mom is one of my best friends!).  He has shown some pretty impressive moves over the years.  Made us all laugh!  the young lady has the same last name as my grandparents.  i asked my mom this morning if she would be related. I am sure she is in one way or another. 

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Re: Wrestling

I tried to access the video link, but it says it has been removed because it violates youtube's rules. 

It was really interesting to me to see this story, since wrestling is a martial art in and of itself...many elements of groundwork like jujitsu are encompassed in olympic style wrestling.  I love watching women who are well-trained in martial arts practice them. 

We have a way of giving each other the "Girl Power" salute when we train together.  It is an awesome feeling to be moving across the floor with a row or two of high-ranked females alongside you.  When I have travelled to tournaments in the past, I've always encouraged other females to keep practicing and acting as role models for girls to follow in the art.  I'd be in the front row cheering for this young woman. 

Given my background in TKD, I would differ with the point about a male with "certain values" not being able to compete against a female.  While I do not actively spar with men competitively, I have mixed it up with a lot of them in the do jhang.  It is always fun...aggressiveness it terms of harming a woman is not really a factor. 

There is pretty intimate body contact at times, though, but it is not sexual in nature.  I think this is  BS position for a male to take...they do not make it sexual when they wrestle another male, do they?    I am tempted to say he did not wan t to risk being beaten by a girl.  If the league sanctions her participation, and he wrestles in the league, that is a rule he agreed to accept when he took up the sport.  Players do not get to pick and choose the rules they do and do not want to abide by in their play. 

We did not have enough girls to play weekend pickup games in any sport when I was young, so all of our independent recreational play (there was no recreation department back then) was mixed-gender.  It made us better athletes when we went up against girls who had only played against and with other girls...especially so when we finally went to five-man basketball in my sophomore year. 

We already had the timing and mindset to run fast breaks and such that the teams - who had only played by  girls' former six-man rules, with some of the players restricted to each half of the court - had difficulty adapting to.  We'd been playing five-man rules for fun for years by then, and tore those girls apart.  Another advantage was on man-to-man defense.  We could shut the other team's offense down pretty quickly.  Do not get me started on stealing bases in softball....

So, I would say that, in general, playing a sport with men tends to make women better at the sport.

There is one huge diffference for females now as opposed to back then:Title IX provides for more equal sports opportunities for females and males.  I thnk that unless a separate team/league opportunity is provided for females, the male teams have to become open to all for tryouts...but I was long graduated when this legislation passed. 

No coach is going to put a team on the floor intending to lose.  If a female is deemed the best at her weight class or position on a team, then she should get to play.  I think we perceive some sports as "too rough," but there is no more aggressive sport the women's church softball...take my word for it!

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Re: Wrestling

Occasionally ... very rarely ... Kay and I disagree.  I think we are at one of those times.  Having raised 2 girls and a boy I would not have wanted any of them in a mixed sex match.  This was discusssed on another forum I frequent (http://talk.newagtalk.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=215087&mid=1619924#M1619924) and I think a comment there expresses my feelings as well as anything I could write:

Most of what people are focusing on is the inappropriateness of what may take place during the match. Matches are not always won by simply grappling for position. Often times the winner in a variety of ways forces the loser to submit by the amount of pain that they inflict. As a society I would think we should question the logic of asking a young man to inflict pain on a young woman for sport. What type of message does that send?

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Re: Wrestling

Here is a quote from the young man who forfeited:

 

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan [Black] and their accomplishments," Northrup said in a statement given to the media following his official forfeit. "However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and 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."

 

Cassy's dad, who is a class-act guy and was a year behind me in school, had this to say:

 

"My understanding is that they've got strict convictions [as a family], and I respect them," Bill Herkelman told the Register. "I don't have any ill will toward them and I don't think it's any kind of boycott about [Cassy Herkelman] being a girl."

 

I am happy to see that everyone is being respectful of each other's decisions in this.

 

This morning, Cassy is scheduled to wrestle a boy from Indianola ... my hometown will be a winner either way!

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Re: Wrestling

I have very strong opinions on this issue.  I believe the young man was put in a completely no-win situation....at least of the surface.

 

If he wrestles her and wins then it is not a "good win" because it was against a girl.  If he wrestles her and loses, then he "lost to a girl".  If he forfeits because of his beliefs, then his motives are questioned...."he was afraid to lose to a girl"...  If he forfeits he loses an opportunity to compete for a title that he has worked hard for.  If he wrestles her when he does not feel it is appropriate, then he compromises his values.  Where is the justice for him?

 

While the young lady has every right to pursue her dream without her motives being questioned, so too should he have the right to forfeit without having his motives questioned.  By the luck of the draw, this young man is forced into a situation that I would not want my sons facing.  At what point does one person's rights take priority over another's? 

 

Our Christian faith teaches us that men and women are equal in dignity and respect but different by nature.  Boys are not allowed to compete in all-girls sports due to an unfair advantage in size and strength.  Girls should not be allowed to compete in all boys sports for the same reason.  This young man obviously had concerns about his ability to compete fairly without compromising his belief in those teachings. 

 

I take the young man's reason given at face value.  I trust that this was a difficult decision for him and I believe him and praise him for standing up for his convictions.  I would be proud of my sons for making the same decision if that is where their conscience guided them.   

 

I said in the beginning that it appears that his situation was no-win on the surface.  On a deeper level he did score a victory, one that many people recognize.  He stood up for his values.  In this day and age, that is a remendous victory.  I respect him for that. 

 

 

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Re: Wrestling

Mike, I understand your point, but respectfully disagree. It is a sexist point of view to limit a female or a male because of some pre-supposed ruleset.  

I've caused pain in a female opponents.  For one example, the third time I kicked one in the head within a two-minute match, it moved her helmet around halfway across her face.  That does not account for the body blows to her hogu in that same round.  

We were both told when we stepped into the competition space that day - and this was an AAU-sanctioned tournament - that black belt blows MUST inflict obvious forceful penetration to the body, or impact movement if kicked to the head.  You do not score unless you kick pretty damned hard. 

I've had bruises through my gear many times in the past five years...pain is part of the marital arts territory.  One of them actually caused me to have to repeat a mammogram a couple of years ago, which I discussed at length with the radiologist.  There is a concern when  woman (especially one in her fifties) shows up with bruises, that she may be an abused woman.  He did not have that worry for me after we met and talked. 

When a woman steps into a martial arts arena, she is ready to take her blows.  If she can stand the pain, she can win the match.  If she submits to it, she loses.  it is that simple to me.  The sport is supposed to be structured so that it is safe.   If not, no one ought to be engaged in it, at least not as a minor.   I think the pain infliction argument is a red herring here.   

As the mother of both make and female offspring, I have to ask this: Why is it deemed any more apporpriate to subject a person to pain simply because he is a male?  How is this more socially acceptable?  We are either enlightened or we are not....

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Re: Wrestling

I do not "lack respect' for this young man.  Many of us make very costly sacrifices for our beliefs and values in life, so perhaps this is a good growth experience.  Giving up a shot at a title is a small price to pay for a deeply-held value. 

Here are some "devil's advocate" questions for this situation:

Is there then some implication that we ought not to respect a young man who does wrestle against a female? 

She has obviously gone up against more than a few to get this far in her scholastic career.  Would you say that any or all of those boys were lacking in good values? 

Should the schools be forced to offer an equal wrestling program for females, or none at all? 

In most cases, there is a men's team and a women's team in the same or a similar sport in the same season, except for football.  As long as that is the case, I can see no cause for kids to cross the gender line...but what do you do when there is no comparable program for a gifted kid of either gender? 

Just for the sake of discussion...not arguing any point, just asking. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wrestling

Cassy lost her match this morning, 5-1, but a friend who was there said she wrestled really well. I think she wrestles again later today.

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