Opinion | Sexuality

The Argument for Girl-Boy Wrestling

Joel Northrup cited his Christian faith for refusing to wrestle Cassy Herkelman in last week's Iowa state championship. I say his Christian faith should have taken him to the mat.

When my friend posted a link to the story of Joel Northrup—the 16-year-old Iowa wrestler who defaulted rather than wrestle a girl, Cassy Herkelman, in a state tournament last week—I was floored when my athletic, competitive friend said she had "mixed emotions" about his decision. I imagine this friend, had she pursued wrestling and not track and field in high school, would've wanted the opportunity to wrestle. Even if it meant competing against the boys.

My reaction to this story was decidedly unmixed. I think Joel should have wrestled Cassy.

Not that I don't get some of the issues at play here. I understand that teenage boys, as a rule, are stronger than teenage girls. I understand that boys wrestling girls could introduce some sexual awkwardness. I agree that the best-case scenario would be for Cassy to be able to wrestle in an all-girls wrestling conference.

But in this world, best-case scenarios almost never exist. So our job as Christians is to figure out how best to live ...

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