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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Boys Should Not Wrestle Girls

ESPN online is carrying a story about a girl who has bested a number of boys to win the Alaska high school state wrestling championship in her weight class. While it is tempting to join in the kudos for her achievement, it is not so wonderful an accomplishment as it may seem. The prospect of an adolescent boy wrestling with an adolescent girl raises grave questions of propriety. Even the most callous of male wrestlers must have an inkling that some regions of a female opponent's body are inherently off limits, even in a sporting match, even when the girl has consented to the match.

Setting physical improprieties aside, the "girls wrestling boys" phenomenon creates a no-win situation for the boy. If he takes the high road and refuses the match, not only does he forfeit, potentially hurting his team in the process, but he is subject to the criticism, "What, afraid to wrestle a girl?" If he accepts the match, he could win or lose. Upon winning, he hears, "You won, but you beat a girl." Upon losing, worse: "A girl beat you?"

If girls so desire the competition, let them work to organize teams and leagues (if there is sufficient interest, which there probably isn't). Boys wrestling teams should establish simple policies: "We don't wrestle girls." If they forefeit a match here and there, it is a small price to pay for being decent.