If you’re a high school wrestler, odds are good that the closest you’re getting to any contact with females is if one shows up to wrestle you, and that’s pretty unlikely. But hey, boys of Florida, you’re in luck. About 350 girls competed in the state last year, but one Christian school is ruining the fun for everyone by barring its boys from wrestling against girls, even if it costs them a shot at advancing in the district and/or regional tournament.
(This is the best day of this boy’s life so far)
Calvary Christian in Clearwater has instituted a “philosophy” (it’s not a rule yet) that prohibits their boy wrestlers from competing with girls, such as the pictured Taira Salahudtin, who moved on from districts to regionals when a Calvary boy forfeited their match. So what’s Calvary’s deal?
John C. Cotey of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES wonders what Calvary’s motivations are, and why the school has seemingly changed its tune in regard to co-ed wrestling:
“Our philosophy at school is we don’t think that boys should wrestle girls,” said first-year Calvary Christian athletic director Greg Thiel.
“It’s something we may put in the (student rule book) to let kids know we think it is inappropriate,” said Thiel, a former track and field coach at USF for 16 seasons. (Indian Rocks Christian also does not let boys wrestle girls.)
While coach Jim McCann said that in years past these decisions were made by the athlete and his parents, Thiel says that before the district tournament he and the headmaster knew there was a girl in the tournament and decided on this philosophy of inappropriateness.
It’s a private school, so I guess they can do what they want, but what was wrong with the old policy, which let the kids and their parents decide what they think is best?
As Cotey points out, it’s kind of a lose-lose for the boy wrestlers, unless they actually perceive girls like Salahudtin as their equal. If you beat a girl, you look bad for, well, beating up on a girl. Lose to a girl, and you face subsequent embarrassment and taunting. But if you don’t even show up to wrestle a girl? How do you spin that one?
A few states have a separate wrestling division for girls in order to avoid this kind of situation.
Kristen Ianuzzi, who coaches a boys team in Orlando, thinks the whole think is ridiculous:
“I honestly cannot even fathom ruining my chance at regions just because I don’t want to go up against girls,” Ianuzzi said. “I mean, that’s what you’ve been working all year for, right?”
Ianuzzi, an accomplished wrestler who competed nationally, remembers lots of guy forfeiting against her, but never because a school rule prohibited wrestling a girl.
She thinks such rules are “ignorant.”
Another female ex-wrestler who now coaches chimes in with how boys reacted to her:
“I beat lots of guys, and a lot of them cried. It was terrible,” she said. Once, she felt so bad she went over and apologized after reversing a sure defeat into a victorious pin.
Ouch. If you’re that guy, I think the only thing worse than losing to a girl is having her come over and apologize about it afterward. That kid probably didn’t leave his basement for a week after that.
Calvary won’t admit that this is about boys and girls having physical contact, but that seems to be the clear motivation. This is probably one of those schools that doesn’t let boys and girls dance together either. I understand that the touching in wrestling can get a bit, uh, personal, but we’ve all seen high school wrestlers, right? It’s not like they really are going to know what they’re touching anyway.