Iowa Wrestler Won't Wrestle a Girl Because His Parents Are Raising Him to Be Self-Important

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Feb. 17 2011 10:08 PM

Iowa Wrestler Won't Wrestle a Girl Because His Parents Are Raising Him to Be Self-Important

, a 112-pound high school wrestler in Iowa, decided to lose his first match in the state tournament by default rather than compete against a female opponent,

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. Northrup wrestles, or sometimes chooses to refuse to wrestle, for the

, although he does not attend Linn-Mar High School. He is home-schooled by his parents, but Iowa

in varsity athletics.



Having been given the chance to take part in the Linn-Mar athletic program, Northrup and his parents decided to use the public school as a platform for their beliefs about the role of women. In a statement, Northrup wrote:


"[W]restling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other High School sports in Iowa."

The passive voice—"I have been placed in a situation"—is appropriate, narrowly. Northrup's father,

, said the family helped the son make the decision. (The elder Northrup is reportedly a youth pastor at a

whose main pastor has

; he is also a "volunteer chaplain with the United States Army," where presumably issues about women's exposure to violence and combat never come up.)



One easy way to have avoided the situation would have been for the Northrups to really stand by their beliefs and let high school sports be played by people who go to high school. Out of all the students who attend Linn-Mar, there might be a 112-pounder who would be willing to go to states and wrestle a girl, rather than sticking the team with a default loss.



But entitlement means never having to sacrifice anything. The Northrups were too good or too godly for high school, but they weren't too good for high school sports, until high school sports turned out to include gender equality, at which point they wanted to drop out again. Once the high school athletic system gave him a suitably male

, Joel Northrup went back to being a participant.



It's like the ultra-Orthodox Jewish students who

in the '90s because they wanted to go the university but be segregated from the opposite sex. Either turn your back on the sinful world and its rights for women, or don't. Society isn't an a la carte menu, and the whole human race is not there to be your waiter. If you want to be a wrestler, wrestle your draw.


Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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