Northwest NEWS

April 16, 2001


Mother wants her daughter to have space to grow and the opportunity to learn her limits

I asked myself whether boys wrestling girls is intuitively wrong, and my answer is no. In fact, the only question I have is where has the writer been the last 30 years? I'm sorry if her adolescent son, in the throes of his growing awareness of his sexuality and impending manhood, unchanneled physical energy and strength, doesn't want to wrestle a girl. Maybe he should find a new sport.
   My daughter wrestled in junior high and high school. She was one of very few girls on those wrestling teams. True, I did not encourage her to go out for wrestling because I was afraid she would get hurt (like her two older brothers who wrestled) and I was worried how she would handle attitude such as yours. I shouldn't have worried. Her experience was positive in every respect. The workout she got was more intense than any other sport she'd participated in and she had the full support of every member of her team and coaches. The only negative experiences she had were from a very few opponents - the ones who forfeited the match rather than wrestle a girl.
   They used the same line you did, but I think the better truth is they didn't want to lose to a girl. And some of them did. And believe me, adolescent boys aren't worried about the sexual connotations of wrestling a girl. In those intense few minutes, they're doing everything they can not to get beat. It's the adults who supply them with an acceptable excuse. I would think nowadays boys would be much more worried about grabbing a ". . . (male) body in a potentially intimate place, slam (him) down on the mat, lay on top of the (boy), and then play with their brains by telling them that this is perfectly acceptable."
   The bottom line is, if your son (actually you) can only deal with wrestling and losing to boys, he'd better start learning to deal with it. Girls and women have been dealing with if for centuries. You give my adolescent girl space to grow and learn about her limits, and I'll do the same for boys.
   Susan L. Valenta, Woodinville
   Let's give all athletes the respect they deserve
   This letter is in response to the mother who wishes parents to be responsible and keep girls out of the sport of wrestling. As a mother of four boys (the oldest being in college) I am well aware of the writer's concerns. However, allow me to respectfully disagree.
   A boy and a girl grabbing each other's "body in potentially intimate places" may be a concern for parents. However, a boy and a boy grabbing each other's body may be a concern as well.
   There is also the possibility of contracting skin infections, cauliflower ears, sore muscles, black eyes, scratches, dislocated body parts and broken bones. What about the emotions of your adolescents? Has your child ever been pinned in a match in 10 seconds or less? As a responsible parent, these are only a few of the many concerns that I have.
   Girls have been successfully competing in the predominately male sport of wrestling for years. Yes, maybe it is time to let everyone know this. There are also other facts that the community needs to be aware of.
   Athletes and their parents have many responsibilities to "the team." Athletes are responsible for attending 1 1/2 - 2 hour practices five days a week. They are also responsible for supporting their teammates whether they win or lose. Most important of all, they are responsible for being respectful of their coaches, the scorekeepers, the referees, their teammates and the opposing team.
   It is a simple fact that a forfeit during a wrestling match is six points to the opposing team. This could mean the difference between a win or loss for the entire school. It is my opinion that forfeiting a match because the opponent is a girl is simply a lack of respect.
   Any student who chooses to give up their "free time" to withstand the hard work required to be a responsible athlete in the sport of their choosing needs a fair chance. Let's give them the respect they deserve.
   Jane Brammer, Riverview School District parent
   One vote does make a difference
   I am a 13-year-old 7th grader and I currently attend Tolt Middle School, home of the Thunderbirds.
   Most of you may know me as a 3.8 GPA average student that attends Tolt Middle School, but some of you may also know me as an athlete that loves soccer and is going on her ninth year of playing soccer. I currently play on a select soccer team, which consists of players from Snoqualmie Middle School and Chief Kanim Middle School. Both schools have a field of their own on which to play soccer, football, and track.
   I honestly believe that Tolt Middle School is the only middle school that does not have an athletic facility, which not only holds me back but the other six girls on my soccer team, with whom I go to school and would love to play soccer.
   All these girls are being held back from their dream of excelling in soccer and playing for their Middle School, just because Cedarcrest High School does not have a field of their own and they have to use ours . . . Now we don't get soccer period? Is it just me, or does this seem unfair to you also? (Um . . . just a little bit.)
   I am not only going to help to support the vote for fields in May, I am going to try to get all of you to help me get the stadium our community really needs.
   Many of my friends are involved in school sports such as track, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, and cross-country. I know that my school Leadership Board is doing as much as possible to make this pass, not only for themselves, but for many of your kids, friends, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and many others who will be able to enjoy a field that belongs to their school.
   there is absolutely nothing more exciting than when your first goal or touchdown is scored on your school field, your turf, your pride and joy, where you were brought up and taught to walk.
   So when you get a ballot to place your vote, you just take a moment to think of all those athletes and future athletes that will benefit or not from your decision, because your one vote does make a difference.
   Nikki Pratto, TMS Thunderbird