TODAY'S QUESTION: Would you wrestle someone of the opposite sex?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | 12:56 p.m. CST; updated 4:29 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 22, 2011

COLUMBIA — After going 35-4 this season in Iowa high school wrestling, Joel Northrup forfeited his first match of the state tournament Thursday because he had to wrestle against a girl.

Northrup, a sophomore, said his religious beliefs wouldn't allow him to wrestle Cassy Herkelman, a freshman from Cedar Falls who is one of the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history. Herkelman notched 20 victories during the season.

"Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," Northrup said in a statement released by his high school. "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."

In an article from the Associated Press, Herkelman responded to Northrup's decision. "He had the right to make his own choice, and he made his choice," she said. "It's not like he did what he didn't want to do."

Northrup's decision to default put Herkelman in the quarterfinals in the 112-pound weight class, and it put her name in the record book as the first girl to win an Iowa state tournament match. After that, Herkelman's next two opponents did wrestle against her. She lost both times, ultimately eliminated from the tournament. 

Would you wrestle someone of the opposite sex?

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Michael Williams February 22, 2011 | 3:30 p.m.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Would you wrestle someone of the opposite sex?

Well, my initial reaction was.......DUH! WHICH WAY TO THE JELLO PITS!!!!!!!

But my second reaction, after subsidence of the initial hormone rush, is that the young man made an ok decision for with which I agree. Iowa officials should NOT have allowed this to even be a possibility at the high school level.

But, if both of them go on to wrestle with the professional tag team outfits, have at it! You even get cool names:

Pocahontas and John Smith?

John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe (only if she's blond)?

George and Gracie?

Desi and Lucy?

The possibilities are endless. But not in high school.

(Report Comment)
Michael Schoelz February 22, 2011 | 9:05 p.m.

Why not? What makes high school different? Should there be a girls wrestling team? Who would fund that or how practical would that be? What options are therefore left for a girl that wants to wrestle, or is it just not okay for a girl to wrestle? Are you saying that high school boys would simply fall to their baser urges and only think about sex? How is wrestling guys any different? If it is simply a matter of physicality, then are you saying the girl in question can't understand that violence might be done in the ring? Maybe women are just too frail such that they need a high school boy to remind them of a true moral code? HOORAY HETERO-NORMATIVITY AND MALE CHAUVINISM: THE CHAMPIONS OF NEO-CON CHRISTIAN GENDER RELATIONS. LET THE DEGRADATION OF (IN THIS INSTANCE) SINCERE SPORTSMANSHIP CONTINUE.

btw, if this wasn't clear: way to totally objectify women, dude. "Wrestling women! Why, that's just like sex cause that's what body contact with a woman means!"

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 22, 2011 | 10:05 p.m.

Male chauvinist?

You either don't know me, or you're just guessing. Yes to both, right?

Perhaps you are also in favor of only 1 locker room per school? For both sexes? At the same time? Including your daughters? Or heck, let's let men play on ALL womens' teams? Goose/gander thingie.

Or, perhaps YOU have lines in the sand, too? That are different from mine, but are nonetheless "lines"?

Defend your lines.

As for the "too frail" part. It might interest you to know that I've been a long-time proponent of ALL track and field events competitive for BOTH sexes. I remember when pole vaulting was off limits, and hell, no woman could run a marathon or the 10K. Waaaay to frail. And I know one of the 10 women who proved, at a US Olympics trial years ago, that women could indeed run a quite-fine fact, I'll be officiating with her next weekend at a meet.

Like I said, you don't know me at all.

And I haven't changed my mind about mixing female and male wrestlers, spite of your insults and assumptions and shouting.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 22, 2011 | 11:02 p.m.

MSchoelz: Or perhaps you just like the idea of a high school male taking one of the very few legal opportunities to REALLY wrestle and manhandle a female? Maybe it can be practice for later in life. Maybe that turns you on.

See, I can make stupid assumptions about someone I don't know, too.

You owe me an apology.

(Report Comment)
Michael Schoelz February 23, 2011 | 2:30 a.m.

You are right in your assumption that I don't know you and I'm guessing. But clearly, you misunderstand my point: There are no other options for this girl, there is very little likelihood that a women's wrestling team would find support in public schools. Either she wrestles dudes or she doesn't wrestle at all. She has made a choice to wrestle. Thus, she must wrestle dudes. A male says that he doesn't want to wrestle her: why? He feels that girls in wrestling are inappropriate. You also assert that position. The two of you, and others like you, must now defend how the foundation of this opinion: What is deficient about a girl such that a male cannot wrestle her? At least 20 dudes thought there was nothing wrong with her. To assert that a girl should be elevated above the level of violence that wrestling involves is male-chauvinism. To suggest that the girl can't compete is sexism.

One-lockerroom settings and the like are not the issue here. We are talking about competitive sportsmanship in a public arena where the privacy of the individual is not a concern: The girl in question is okay with the violence and/or being beaten. Since you were clearly thinking about sex when you first posted, I addressed that topic: How is wrestling a girl sexually different from wrestling a gay male (who under your "lines" is allowed to wrestle)? Or maybe you would prefer to be homophobic and sexist? Both are just as repellant in my mind. The wrestler in question says that his belief in the Christian God does not allow him to wrestle a female because it does not allow touching in a "familiar way." This similarly is defeated logically by asking "Why then is familiar touching allowed between males?" Does this obvious question and his implicit answer about his religious belief mean that he thinks homosexuality is more appropriate than heterosexuality? I highly doubt that, nor is it a fair conclusion.

The problem that we are encountering is due to the gender spectrum, something that you obviously don't ascribe to. Gender is socially constructed with lines that are supposed to not be crossed out of tradition and history, despite whether or not they are actually right or wrong. The only thing I'm sorry about is that I didn't write this response first because then maybe you would challenge your own ideas about gender and realize that history is only descriptive and never prescriptive. However, your own crass comments seemed to suggest that your mind was closed anyway and wouldn't matter what I said at all, you would go on believing as you do. So I stand by my "lines."

(Report Comment)
Michael Schoelz February 23, 2011 | 2:33 a.m.

Lastly some points just for bonus: Just because you support women's track and field doesn't mean you support women's rights.

I didn't attack you specifically until the phrase starting with "btw." Your male chauvinism stands because you see one sex as inferior in some way such that a girl cannot wrestle a male when there is no other option.

I get turned on by a mind, not a body.

And I don't owe you anything. I don't even know you, remember?

(Report Comment)
Sam Tyler February 23, 2011 | 8:32 a.m.

As a 14yo - 18yo alpha male jock with all them there raging teenage hormones, you are offering me the opportunity to grapple and grope a fine hard-bodied female with no retaliation?

Well duh!

But wait... If she wins, I'll be forever known as the dude who got beat by a guuurl.

But wait... There's more. We will have the same body mass, both be at our personal best. Statistically, I will win, just because just because of the natural physical differences between males and females.

I don't know, maybe the chance to cop some feel is worth it. But to get "owned" by a gurl.....

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke February 23, 2011 | 8:42 a.m.

I would not let my daughter wrestle boys, some things are still sacred. Can we just have this full-body contact sport segregated for obvious reasons.
Besides she would have an unfair advantage and what do you really win if you can beat a boy.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock February 23, 2011 | 9:05 a.m.

This could be a lawsuit in the making.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 23, 2011 | 9:14 a.m.

MSchoelz says, (1) What is deficient about a girl such that a male cannot wrestle her?, (2) To suggest that the girl can't compete is sexism, and (3) The girl in question is okay with the violence and/or being beaten.

With these three statements, you show that you've completely missed the intellectual broad side of the barn on this topic.

This ISN'T about the girl and her abilities to compete.

It's about the guy.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley February 23, 2011 | 9:28 a.m.

Ohhhh this is a FUNNY topic that is evolving into an even FUNNIER discussion......

I don't think anyone can "win" in this discussion..... LOL.

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Ryan macker February 23, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

My question; what if the male is a gay guy and the female is a lesbian? Then what? (Would be interesting, no?)

For full disclosure, I my self am gay, and I am friends with lesbians.. and they should be rightly feared. They don't take any BS.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 1:12 p.m.

Do you get to throw them out of the ring?

I saw some wrestlers at the Mardi Gras and they were HOT!!!

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley February 23, 2011 | 1:20 p.m.

Some new wrestling techniquies could come from allowing this...

(1) The "Grope and Pin"
(2) The "Butt Grab and Toss"
(3) The "Boob Lock"

I am sure that someone will get creative and invent more....

Caveat: This post was made in the spirit of tasteless humor. The author does not condone the "practices" set forth in ths post.

Ricky Gurley

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 1:31 p.m.

For some reason I keep thinking of the bar in "Dusk to Dawn".

(Report Comment)
Michael Schoelz February 23, 2011 | 3:22 p.m.

@Michael, I think you should try to answer my question: What is inappropriate about the girl such that this guy can't wrestle her? Or put in terms of revolving around the male: Why is it okay for the male to hold the position that wrestling a girl is inappropriate?

Because you are right it is about the guy (in a sense), it's about the implications of his world view. It's about how he understands the female gender. And my point is that this guy has it all wrong. But perhaps I have missed something about the guy that you would like to point out?

@Ellie: If there was the funding for segregated wrestling, yes I think we can agree that that would probably be the best option from a sportsmanship viewpoint. However, I seriously doubt that girls wrestling will ever be funded by our public schools in the near future. Thus we have our problem.

@Ricky, no one wins a discussion. I'm just trying to challenge ideas including my own.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley February 23, 2011 | 3:35 p.m.

People "win" debates all of the time, Michael..... Even in high school.... LOL.

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 23, 2011 | 5:04 p.m.

Michael Schoelz asks:

What is inappropriate about the girl such that this guy can't wrestle her?

Me: Nothing.

MS then asks: Why is it okay for the male to hold the position that wrestling a girl is inappropriate?

Me: He can do whatever he damn well pleases for whatever reason he damn well can think of. Perhaps you wish to force him to wrestle?

As for me, I think it is not a good thing for a young male to use his entire physical force (which wrestling is) on a young female. I think it teaches something that is not good. You started in on me by my stereotypical parody on the ignorant title of this article which, in and of itself, had nothing to do with formal "wrestling". It simply asked, "Would you wrestle with the opposite sex." Well, duh...yeah! Would I wrestle with earnest seriousness, using all my physical force? Hell no! Abusers would, tho...they seem to have learned it from some place along the line. But, one point is that you started in on my stereotype, but then fail to acknowledge some of those young male wrestlers...such a thing MAY NOT be so stereotypical.

INO, you support a situation for which you originally castigated me! Excellent circular logic.

No, fact is you're just a small stick of dynamite with a short fuse who reacts in a very predictable way to something you think is a "slight". Fact is, you made the wrong assumption about WHY I don't think it is appropriate for same-sex wrestling.

I don't care if the female wrestles the male. I care very much if the male wrestles the female.

So, I've answered your questions. My turn:

You felt pity for any young woman who wants to wrestle. After all, where's she gonna do that? Good question.

Now, for my scenario:

MU does not have a male volleyball team. It does have a female volleyball team. Is it ok for a male to play on the team?

Why or why not? What are the reasons "yes or no"?

This is an essay question.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 5:14 p.m.

Is it okay for Mike to wrestle Mike? Can we watch? Does anybody have any red herring to feed them when they need refreshments? Draw us a picture of someone you would like to wrestle. Then draw us a picture of someone you would like to watch wrestle Mike. There are no incorrect answers.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith February 23, 2011 | 5:19 p.m.

After pondering the subject for at least 35 nanoseconds it seems to me that the VENUE where this "match" occurs might be more interesting and exciting (not to mention controversial) than the participants.

I realize the above statement could use more "fleshing out" for purposes of clarification," but regrettably I cannot do that. This is after all a family newspaper. :)

How does that suit you, Rick? (Are we ever going to have another monthly group lunch?)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 23, 2011 | 5:27 p.m.

Yeah, Paul. I was pretty sure you would chime in given your prior and public history of "wrestling" with a elderly woman over a sign.

So, I can understand why you would think it ok for a young male to wrestle with a young female. Good learning experience for later in life, I guess.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley February 23, 2011 | 6:00 p.m.

Ellis, we had one.. I thought you just could not make it. It was done in a hurry, though. Next time I will make sure that we let you know what is going on. There is a Facebook page for it, I think. John can get you to the Facebook page. shoot me your email address privately and I will get you there, if you have a Facebook account, my email is:

On one side we have the "Women's Rights" issue.... Women should be able to do the same things men can do. How do you propose to get around that, Mike?

On the other side, we have the inappropriateness of a female wrestling with a male, due to the very nature of the sport..

There is no "win" here...


Does the female know what is going to happen in a wrestling match? What the object of the match is? That there is going to be what some would consider "inappropriate touching", just because of the very nature of the sport? And I mean without "sexual intentions". If so, and she wants to wrestle, and mom and dad are okay with it, then let her wrestle... After all, it would be HER choice to participate with the blessing of her mother and father.

But what about in college? Then mom and dad come out of the picture, and it is solely her decision. As long as she understands what she is getting into, then let her wrestle. She would be making a conscious decision of her own volition, after fully understanding the nature of this contact sport.

Let her wrestle.

Could end up being a little embarrassing for the guy though... LMAO!

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 6:10 p.m.

Oh mike, it sounds like you aren't gelling today.

You can wrestle with
who is from a local school of Journalism. However, I don't expect you to be able to keep up when the argument get's serious. Your wit is severely outclassed by her excellent grasp of current events as is evident to anyone who has heard her speak. However your perspective is quite similar.

I would like to wrestle with these people who's background is identical to your perfect match.
Or at least one of them.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley February 23, 2011 | 6:22 p.m.

Paul, he is not wearing the right soles in his shoes today... LOL.

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)

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