A high school wrestler in Iowa refused to compete against a girl at a state tournament last week because doing so, he said, would have conflicted with his religious beliefs. In defaulting, he gave up the chance to be a champion, but was allowed to compete in consolation rounds with other teammates.
The female competitor was one of the first two girls to make the state wrestling tournament in its 85-year history.
The player who defaulted, himself a standout wrestler, issued the following statement:
“…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 other high school sports in Iowa.”
The violence issue is one thing.
But if I were a parent, I’d have a much bigger problem with my teenage daughter rolling around on the mat with a teenage boy in nothing but wrestling singlets.
Sex education is one thing, but I think that’s a little too much physical contact.
I have nothing wrong with women competing in “men’s sports,” but I think there are some sports where a separation of the sexes still isn’t a bad idea.
What do you think? If you were the parent of either wrestler, would you have any concerns about this? Do you think it’s appropriate for teens of the opposite sex to compete this way?