Standing Strong

Old news, but I wanted to add some positive words into the blogosphere for Iowa homeschooler, Joel Northrup.  As the fifth ranked wrestler in his weight class, the sophomore had a legitimate chance to win the state championship.  But he forfeited his very first match in the tournament.  Was he hurt?  No.  Chicken?  Absolutely not.  While posting a 35-4 record, his opponent had a 20-13 record.  And was two years younger.  The problem then?

His opponent was Cassy Herkelman.  Yes, a girl.

Joel released this statement: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and [Megan Black, the second girl who qualified] and their accomplishments. However, wrestling 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.”

Call me a chauvinist, call me old fashioned.  Joel is absolutely right!  It’s sad that our world has lost any semblance of common sense.  To say that wrestling is a combat sport is putting it lightly.  The holds, moves, grabbing, leveraging, pinning … are people who are criticizing this 16 year old really thinking?  Maybe they are.  With a warped value system.

So props to a young Christian who would sacrifice his own ambitions and glory to hold true to his convictions!  I don’t know him, but I know his faith is real.  And to handle it with the grace that he showed is a wonderful testimony.  He never condemned their participation in the tournament.  It was about his faith and conscience and a righteous understanding of what is appropriate and what is not. 

By the way, Herkelman was quickly eliminated from the tournament by losing her next two matches.  Sorry, but that makes me very happy.

Now to form some convictions about those wrestling uniforms … yikes!


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