The Thinking 

A Wrestling Champion Seizes the Day

February 17, 2011




HERE IS a news story that will make your day. This really happened in America.

An Iowa high school wrestling champ bowed out of a state competition today because he refused to wrestle with a girl. Joel Northrup, who is homeschooled, forfeited the match with Cassie Herkelman. He stated:

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. 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 of the high school sports in Iowa.

Brad C. writes:

There are so many things one could say about this. The first thing that came to my mind: this honorable student is forced to give up an opportunity to exhibit athletic excellence in wrestling, a distinctly male pursuit, rather than grapple with and physically dominate a female, which every well-bred man should abhor. This young man has been robbed of an opportunity to . . . well . . . be a man!

Laura writes:

He has fought and won.

Kilroy M. writes:

 How is this good news? The girl “won” the match. Yes, it’s because he forfeited, but she gets the prize. Sickening. It’s emblematic of the Lie in which we live.

Laura writes:

He should never have been placed in this situation to begin with but given that he was, he did the right thing and made it more likely that other young men will object too. Do you think it would have been better news if he had wrestled her and won?

Paul writes:

It is too bad that many of us fail to seize the day as that young man did. I could seize the day but don’t because I am afraid of losing my excellent job, certainly something more important than what that young man gave up. 

Still, it was a huge sacrifice for him. I am a former wrestler from the top high school division. Like him, I was near the top of the division, coming near a state championship the prior year. But I suffered from serious injury (the most influential) and girls. In importance to the participants, a state championship in the top wrestling division is like the Olympics or the Superbowl or a college football national championship is to a fan. Yet those comparisons only hint at the personal, lifelong importance of confidence one takes from hard-fought victories. Major victories for fans are great experiences for sports fans like myself, but they are transitory. 

I would not have done what he did and would not do so today, if I were his age. It would have been so easy for him to take her down and end the match in seconds. But I am not as bright or as thoughtful as this young man is. Maybe one day, as the signers of the Declaration did, I will need to sacrifice my job, future, and fortune.



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