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Boys wrestling girls?

*I put this on our church blog, but post it here since I think the linked articles are worth spreading around.

Some of us are going to face this. You may have heard about the homeschool boy in Iowa that, though he was a favored contender for a championship, decided not to continue in the tournament because he was being asked to wrestle with a girl. It became national news. Even some Christian writers are saying that he should have wrestled the girl. I am more inclined to agree with Al Mohler and John Piper on this topic. We have to stop the insanity and we have to be willing to lose first place if need be. Read what these men had to say. And, Dads, let’s be prepared to take a stand if the opportunity ever arises.

Boys Wrestling Girls — A Clash of Worlds and Worldviews by Al Mohler. Here’s a segment:

In Rick Reilly’s world, and in accord with his worldview, it makes sense to say, “Body slams and takedowns and gouges in the eye and elbows in the ribs are exactly how to respect Cassy Herkelman.”

In Joel Northrup’s world, and in accord with his worldview, that statement is nothing less than insanity.

I, for one, am proud to know of a boy and a family who refuse to consider girls and women as proper opponents on a wrestling mat — opponents to be bloodied, gouged, and slammed. Joel Northrup may have defaulted a match, but he refused to sacrifice his Christian conscience for a moment of earthly glory.

The general direction of the culture is clear: we are moving out of Joel Northrup’s world into Rick Reilly’s world. Along the way, something immeasurably more important than a wrestling match is about to be defaulted.

Over My Dead Body, Son by John Piper. And here’s a segment of his piece:

I just watched a wrestling instructional video on line, illustrating some basic moves for the takedown and pin. These two guys are pressing and pulling on each other with unfettered and total contact. And it isn’t soft. It’s what we do not allow our sons to do to girls.

Okay, dads, here’s what you tell your son. You say, “There will be no belittling comments about her being ‘a girl.’ There will be no sexual slurs. If you get matched with her, you simply say to the judges, ‘Sir, I won’t wrestle a girl. My parents have taught me not to touch a girl that way. I think it would dishonor her. I hope you will match me with a guy. If not, I am willing to be disqualified. It’s that important.’”

Be a leader, dad. Your sons need you. The peer pressure is huge. They need manly restraints. They know this is wrong. But then they look around, and the groundswell of conformity seems irresistible. It will take a real man, a real father, to say to his son. “Not on my watch, son. We don’t fight women. I have not raised you that way.”


3 Responses

  1. Don’t we raise sons not to treat other boys that way, too? The gender issue is a little less clear to me. If we overcome objections that boys shouldn’t fight boys with “It’s a sport,” then does that set a rule that boys should not compete with girls in any sport? Or is it just the physical nature of this particular sport? What about soccer? Football? Ultimate frisbee? Is there a fuzzy line somewhere between table tennis and ultimate fighting?

    Personally, I find wrestling as a sport repulsive anyway. But it’s not really a gender thing to me.

  2. There is a fuzzy line in some of these things. I, for one, find Ultimate Fighting and cage fighting to be wrong, but wrestling is not really about hurting the opponent. I just commented to some pastor friends who were discussing this online that I kind of wish they had used the sexual contact argument instead of the “chivalry” argument. I think even hard-core feminists might be a bit awkward defending the idea that a guy might grab a “lady part” during the wrestling. Notice the woman that Mohler quoted who was critical of the young man but conceded that this was a potential difficulty. In that sense, I think it’s a gender problem because of the nature of how the game is played. It would be different if it were a tennis competition.

  3. Ah, I would agree with that. The sexual contact argument makes sense. You’re right; the chivalry argument is weaker.

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