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Posts Tagged ‘wrestling’

Did I get carried away with too many blogs about girls and wrestling?  Just when I was beginning to think so, I received a surprising e-mail from a man I’ve never met.  This gentleman (I’ll call him Bill) has a PhD in biology.   Apparently he pays close attention to any and all discussions of boys and girls on the mat.  Somehow, he found ezerwoman.

It’s important that you hear from this gentleman, not only because he agrees that “equal” does not mean “the same,” or that he encourages me to continue mentoring Biblical manhood and womanhood, but because he proves that Christians help build bridges for the benefit of the human race when we ask questions that help people think.  When we enter into dialogue on moral and ethical issues.  When we appeal to what was once called “common sense.”

This gentleman wrote,  “I am an arrant agnostic — a self-styled poet-philosopher-canary-priest-with my spiritual roots in nature.  But I could not agree more vigorously with your objections to the decadence — as in Roman — of allowing (or more accurately) of forcing boys to wrestle girls.  I have been following this issue for at least ten years.”

It was obvious that Bill had carefully studied the most physically intimate of all contact sports.  He offered many sane and sensible reasons why boy/girl wrestling is a terrible idea.  He is concerned that civilization is wounded by such foolishness.  He wrote,  “I believe in self-sacrifice for others, in kindness, in consideration for others before myself.  I remember the mantra of our YMCA boys’ camp:  God first, others second, me third.  Today, as we watch boys and girls in violent combat on wrestling mats, that mantra seems to have become ‘Me first, me second, me first.'”

Then, he really caught my attention.  “The values you mention in your blogs are simply ignored in our modern culture,” wrote Bill.   “Even as an agnostic biologist, I think your Christian values are essential to any civilization that wants to live above the animal level of material-sensual gratification.”

I thanked Bill for taking the time to write me.  He responded with a second e-mail, explaining that he had become a writer after leaving the scientific community.  But, after some time passed, he wanted to get back in touch with biologists.  For a few months, he subscribed to the blog of an evolutionist.  Bill found the site “instructional in professional matters,” but disappointing in its Christian bashing.  “Christianity was dismissed as sheer stupidity without any redeeming value.” Bill explained to me that he felt “uncomfortable in this steady current of arrogant meanness,” so he unsubscribed.  He didn’t agree with such hatred being poured upon an institution (Christianity) “that embraced all of life, from birth to death, from reason to faith, from beauty and goodness to ugliness and evil.”

Then, wrote Bill, “this wrestling incident occurred, and because the young man cited his Christian faith, it catapulted the small, cloistered world of wrestling into the national spotlight and presented to view the grotesque, distorted values that have evolved there.  It seems like a microcosm of society at large and the moral decadence we have enshrined as moral good.  And against all this, the best aspects of Christianity began to emerge from the smoke — the dignity, the calm, the pure, measured decency of 2000 years of Christian ‘evolution’ (can’t help myself!).  Anyhow, just wanted to express this to you.”

Thank you,  Bill.   You remind me that Christianity is needed in this hurting world as much today as yesterday.  I’m so sorry that we Christians do such a poor job of following Jesus Christ and are more easily influenced by false teachings.

But, I am encouraged to stay the course by a secular biologist who sees that good and evil, right and wrong, morality and decadence really do exist.  Each rises from a core belief.  Each has a consequence.

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The debate over boys and girls in contact sports continues.  With ears open, I hear good sense and hope for civilization in the comments of both men and women.  Here, as I promised, are some of those comments —

  • As a former high school wrestling coach, I see it this way.  If we are teaching young men to be pure until marriage, then wrestling a teenage girl (woman) is not appropriate or helpful.  Many wrestling holds require close contact with the opponent’s crotch or hips close together.  Tight holds across the chest or laying chest to chest are common.  If done in a high school hallway, it is considered groping, even if consensual.  If done without consent, it is sexual assault.  Putting on a pair of wrestling shoes doesn’t eradicate the moral overtones of the situation.
  • I know a girl wrestler who is well-endowed.  The boys enjoyed wrestling her.  She admitted that she liked the attention and ended up sleeping with a few of the boys.  In the name of equality, the system actually “used her” and made her more vulnerable.
  • My experience as an athletic trainer brings me to this: Outsiders looking in can say, “Boys!  Turn off your hormones,” or “You just don’t want to get beat by a girl!”  But, the fact is, boys are put in a very uncomfortable position when matched in a contact sport with a girl.  Also, girls are led to think they’re better than they really (physically) are because when a boy wrestles a girl he doesn’t wrestle the way he would against another boy.
  • Why do people think that boys and girls need to do the same things?  Or, if they do the same things, why do they need to do them together or in a competitive way?  Do parents really think that a boy wrestling a girl has no influence on his (or her) thinking?
  • Boys learn lessons from sports that help them later in life professionally in business and in working relationships with other men.   They learn what it means to work as a team.  Women participating with men in contact sports  mess with that camaraderie.
  • I was a tomboy, but I know there are some things we females should and shouldn’t do.  I’m disappointed when I witness situations where people are so absorbed in today’s “accepted” societal practices, but disregard simple things like respect, consideration for others, self-discipline, servitude and so on.  We are caught up in a “I deserve what I want, when I want it” mentality.
  • A reporter commented that Joel Northrup, the Iowa wrestler, was in need of “counseling” because he forfeited a match to a girl.  In reality, young Joel was exhibiting qualities of decency, integrity, and leadership.
  • Whether a person is a Christian or not, nature itself is not in favor of boy-girl wrestling.  The entire purpose of aggressive male sports is defeated when females participate.  Male sports with girls become games.  Games are fine for social events, but not for wrestling (or the military, for that matter).
  • Freedom requires that good men and women will stand up for what is right.  What is right?  It is found in God’s Word.  There is maturity in choosing right over winning worldly recognition.
  • I am reminded of a story.  A man opened the door for a woman behind him.  The woman snarled, “I suppose you are doing this because I am a lady!”  He replied, “No ma’am.  I’m doing this because I am a gentleman.”
  • There is nothing more liberating, right, and helpful to society than identifying and honoring the male and female differences created by God.

There is good sense… on the mat — and with all issues of life.  It comes when we begin to trust the Creator of male and female.

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Please bear with me.  I’m staying with the topic of boys and girls matching up to wrestle because this issue is indicative of a much deeper problem.   The problem roots deeply into the culture at large.

What is the problem?  We have forgotten — or not believed — who we are as male and female.  We have failed to understand and appreciate God’s equal but different creation of male and female.  Failing to appreciate our very identity and the relationships and responsibilities that come from that identity has a profound affect on marriage, family, the workplace, the military, well — in general — the health of civilization.

The younger generation is not to blame for experimenting with behaviors or wanting to break through barriers.  Young people have always wanted to cross boundaries or do something different from their parents.  It’s the older generation I hold responsible.  When fathers, mothers and grandparents forget what God has done and the hard-learned lessons of experience, then we will probably fail to equip (let alone protect) our children.

The culture is deteriorating.  We are falling to a lower standard of behavior.  And, as so-called adults remove natural boundaries and disregard the uniqueness of male and female, our children will suffer the consequences.  But…

I’m an eternally optimistic person.  Nearly every day, I hear from someone who writes or speaks with the logic and sense that can only come from the Creator of male and female.  In my next post, I hope to share the thoughts of some of those daring and clear-headed thinkers.  In the meantime, let me leave you with this:

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.  Rather train yourself for godliness, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promises for the present life and also for the life to come . . . ” (1 Timothy 4:7-9).

The young wrestler, Joel Northrup, is an example in speech, conduct, and faith (v. 12) not only for his generation, but for mine.

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In Titus 2 Retreats, we consider God’s Word as it applies to current issues that affect modern women.  One of the issues that can stir a little debate is athletic competition between boys and girls.

A few days ago, I commended Joel Northrup of Iowa, the young gentleman who forfeited his match rather than wrestle a girl.  Jim Daley of Focus on the Family also posted a blog.  He received dozens of responses.  One of them is from a mother.  It may serve as an example of how our thinking has been more influenced by the world than by God’s Word.  The mother’s comments are in italics.  My questions — to perhaps help us all think — are in parenthesis.

The mother wrote, “My daughter loves to wrestle.  She is the only girl in a family of three brothers and is very much a tomboy.  Don’t get me wrong, she is totally female and knows how to be and act like a lady. (Q: How does a “lady” act?  Will she knowingly place a gentleman in a position that compromises his convictions?)  She knows how to be rough with boys and take it, knowing full well they can hurt her.” (Q: Does she want to put boys in a position where they can hurt her?  Is it ever o.k. for boys or men to “hurt” girls or women?)

The mother continues, “My daughter wanted to wrestle.  There are no all-girl wrestling teams in our area so she had to join the boys’ team.  The only boy who would even practice with her was a boy that had been part of our family since she was born. (Q: Is there a message from the boys in their reluctance to even practice wrestling with a girl?  How is a Christian boy or young man taught to treat a girl or woman?) 

The mother concluded, “My daughter gave up something she loved because the boys wouldn’t wrestle her.  Is she supposed to refrain from something because it’s a ‘boy’s sport'”? (Q: Isn’t the Christian often called to “give up” something we love because it might be wrong or harmful to others?  Aren’t we called to “refrain from something” that might cause another to lower their standard of behavior or be tempted to sin?)

What, after all, does this mean:

. . . Decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Romans 14:13b).

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Thank you, Joel Northrup, for standing up both for your beliefs and out of respect for a girl.

Joel, a home-schooled sophomore, defaulted on his match with freshman Cassy Herkelman because he doesn’t think boys and girls should compete in the sport.  Joel was a 35-4 wrestler for Linn-Mar High School in Iowa.

“Wrestling is a combat sport,” Joel said, “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 other high school sports in Iowa.”

Joel is a hero in my book.  A “titanic” hero.  A 911 hero.

Cassie joins 6000 other girls competing in wrestling in 2009-10.  Most states require girls to wrestle boys, but California, Hawaii, Washington, and Tennessee sponsor girls-only high school wrestling tournaments.

Girls can compete with boys in a “familiar,” body-slamming, and take-down sport; but, should they?

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