Joel Northrum, the sophomore wrestler, said,
Wrestling is a combat sport, and at times it gets violent, and you get put in moves and holds that are comprising [sic]. I just don’t believe it's right that a boy and a girl should, in this manner, wrestle.Joel's father Jamie Northrum added,
Even though there’s no specific Scripture that addresses wrestling with girls, there is the biblical Christian principle of treating women with respect and dignity, and not looking at them as objects to be defeated on the wrestling mat to be, in some cases, groped or slammed.This is nothing but a bunch of horse hooey if you ask me.
This is the worst sort of sexual discrimination. His opponent, Cassy Herkelman, had worked hard and competed fairly to get to the Iowa state championship. That's an impressive achievement for any student, male or female. And Ms. Herkelman had a right to be treated fairly by her opponents, to be given the a chance to win or to be defeated, just like any other competitor.
What Joel Northrum did wasn't respectful. He took away Ms. Herkelman's rights. He took away her right to be treated fairly and equally. He took away her right to see if she was really the best in her sport. Winning a match by forfeit is no victory at all. It's a hollow victory. What Joel Northrum did was an insult to all women everywhere.
My family had a somewhat tongue-in-cheek discussion about this on Facebook, and one of the contributors (who is a woman retired from a law-enforcement career) wrote, "This link might provide some insight on what is expected of women in real live training exercises once they get out of school if they opt to pick certain professions...I believe school is preparation for real life."
The link is to this article: Using Defensive Tactics to Subdue Bigger, Stronger Suspects. Many modern young women are contemplating careers in police work, the military, firefighting and other jobs that require physical contact and physical strength. A high-school wrestling match is just a microcosm of what will happen in the real world. If high-school girls and boys are denied the opportunity to engage in these real-life situations, we all lose.
If the Northrups' Christian values say they shouldn't treat women as equals, then I have little respect for their values.
But all that aside, I have to tell you my real opinion. It sounds to me like this kid just didn't want to risk being bested by a girl. He'd never live it down. And this was a girl who had already made it to the STATE championship and through enough preliminary matches to be matched up with him. He knew it would be a real contest. I can't help but wonder if the kid's excuse was just a smokescreen to cover the fact that he was afraid.
And by the way, all the guys in my family decided we wouldn't care to face Ms. Herkelman on the mat. She'd probably kick our asses!