Northwest NEWS

June 25, 2001

Editorial

Writer would like to hear from fathers, boys

I was a spectator at a few wrestling matches this year and was very surprised to see that girls were allowed to wrestle on a boys' team. As far as I know, our school district does not promote their sports as being co-ed.
   It was brought to my attention the reason for this was there are not enough girls interested to form an all-girls' wrestling team. Understandably there are more girls interested in sports such as softball, basketball, track and soccer so they are able to have their separate teams. So where do we draw the line?
   I believe it is very simple. There are sports that are based more on a competitive nature and then there are sports that are truly based on a physical nature, such as wrestling, and it is absolutely not fair to our children to expect them to compete fairly against the opposite sex when it comes to such a physical sport.
   You cannot tell me for one minute that the boys I watched lose every time against the girls and most of the time they not only lost but were pinned were playing at the same level they would have been playing on if it were another boy. That is so foolish!
   You are asking those boys to physically attack a girl in ways that we would otherwise tell them is absolutely not acceptable, and it ends up being a lose-lose situation for the boy, who if he wins would most likely be criticized but most of all has to face the humiliation of losing.
   I do not understand why any parent would want their children in this situation. I have a daughter and left there thinking to myself there would be no way I would allow her to participate, not because I don't think girls should be allowed to wrestle but because I truly felt bad for the few boys who were matched up with the girls.
   As a parent I am committed to encouraging our children in individual choices they will make, and if my daughter told me she wanted to wrestle next year it would be my responsibility to explain to her that unfortunately there are not enough girls to have a team and because of the physical nature of this sport, it is in her best interest and the boys' wrestling team to choose not to do that sport.
   It's not fair to our boys to place them in a competitive situation where they cannot compete to their greatest ability. Wrestling should be no different than any other sport that the schools offer our children separate teams. If the only reason we are allowing wrestling to be a co-ed sport is there are not enough girls to form their own team, then as parents and teachers we need to ask ourselves if making a decision based on equality for both the sexes is more important than protecting the safety and confidence of our children.
   My argument here is not the competitive nature of this sport but the physical. I believe if I came home and saw my daughter having a one-on-one match of basketball with a guy friend my reaction would be much different than if I came home to find them wrestling on the floor.
   If wrestling is so important to these girls, then their parents should show them how to fight to bring enough girls together, even if it is from different districts, to form one team and encourage them to compete fairly.
   I understand wrestling will now be available for girls in the Olympics and I can guarantee you will not see men wrestling women! Instead there will be a men's team and a women's team! I find it very interesting that all the letters written on this subject have all been from mothers. I would love to hear a father's point of view as well as the boys who have had to wrestle against a girl.
   Lisa Harris, Woodinville