Sports has always been a segregated event, where boys compete for titles for the boys and girls for their own title. It is clearly a tradition as one can see it over here in Europe with soccer, handball, basketball, speedskating, and track and field- just to name a few. Having mixed sporting events, where boys compete with the girls is a foreign word in the European English dictionary, unless it is a private event that is not broadcasted by national media. In the USA, however, it is totally different, as one can see in the Iowa state high school’s wrestling tournament this past weekend. For 85 years the event was an all-boy’s event- that was until two girls, a freshman named Cassy Herkleman of Cedar Falls and Megan Black of Ottumwa, entered the scene and made history and proved that anything is possible in the USA if one makes it happen. While both girls were knocked out early in the tournament, it clearly shows that they and other females in this combative sport can compete in the big times, regardless of whether it is with the same or opposite gender. So a huge round of congratulations to the both of you from an expatriate living in Germany for making history and may it change the landscape in the world of high school sports where anything is possible.
But one small note with regard to the victory on the part of Herkleman in the first round against Lin-Mar’s Joel Northrup due to default on his part. While it is understandable of his reason why he did not want to wrestle a girl for religious reasons- something that even his opponent and her family understands- the one danger to walking away from something like that is the fact that it always comes back to serve as a reminder that one cannot run away forever. Eventually one will meet his match someday, whether it is in the ring or on the street and it will be up to him to use religion as an excuse to walk away or join the dance and learn from the opposite sex. After all, many female wrestling greats, both past and present have taken on and even beaten male opponents. The most notable one is Sara Del Ray, who has been wrestling for over 10 years on an independent circuit and enjoys taking on any opponent that comes her way regardless of gender. One can learn from the likes of Del Ray and use that knowledge for future matches and other encounters that can occur outside the ring. Fortunately Northrup still has two years and enough shots at the state title, just like his opponent Herkleman, who has three years of high school competition left and wants to continue to wrestle after tasting the state competition for the first time. However, is it worth closing the door on opportunities like the title just because wrestling the opposite sex is against one’s religious beliefs or is it worth giving it a try, at least once? In either case, whether you accept or reject the offer, you can never go wrong. And besides, your opponent could eventually be your date, not to mention your partner for life.
A little food for thought from the Files.
Information on Sara Del Ray:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Del_Rey (Sublinks at the end of this link)