Wrestling is a sport as old as time. Whether it be a high school wrestling team or a professional one, countless Americans entertain themselves with the lively action. However, in recent decades, a controversy surrounding wrestling has stirred up. Coed wrestling, or coed teams, involves opposite sexes participating in a competition or being on the same team. Is mixed wrestling right and fair?
On one side of the argument, it is argued that many of the boundaries that have been set between males and females in wrestling and sports in general are cultural or social. Giving women equal opportunities as men has been a long uphill battle, and mixed sports is often thought as yet another fight to be fought. By separating sports into male and female divisions, there is room for concern that a mindset that females are inferior will be created as a consequence. Others argue that it is vital to destroy the stereotype that wrestling is a masculine sport, which may be preventing girls across the country from joining the sport out of fear that they will lose respect among their peers.
On the other side of the argument, many feel coed wrestling is unfair and uncomfortable. In 2011, sixteen year old Joel Northrup refused to wrestle Cassy Herkelman, who was a freshman at the time, resulting in her victory by default. According to an ABC News article, he refused the fight because of his beliefs that it would be disrespectful to engage in extremely physical sports like wrestling with someone of the opposite sex. This sparked quite the national debate over whether such actions were fair or not. Another commonly argued point against coed wrestling is that females are put at a disadvantage when competing with males. Many studies have shown that almost all men are biologically predisposed to have more upper body strength than their female counterparts. One of these studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that 89% of adult men were stronger than 89% of adult women who participated in the test.
As it currently stands, Corvallis High School has a coed wrestling team, allowing both girls and boys to participate in the sport on the same team. However, the ratio between male and female wrestlers is extremely disproportionate; as of this school year, it is expected to be at 35 boys and two girls. The two girls are Rose Martines and Ana Bechtel, who are in their senior and sophomore year, respectively. One of the two, Rose, stated in an interview that she felt as though the issue typically was not a lack of interest, but because of “parents who [did] not want them to.” Rose is entering her second year of being on the team. In her first year, she was the only girl on the team and the main coach had never coached a girl before. Despite the unfamiliarity and some hesitation around the situation, she felt that the male members of the team were kind and understanding.
In conclusion, both sides of this topic have valid points and arguments. It may simply be that each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and neither is truly the better option. Ultimately, it comes down to a question of whether or not equality should be valued as the highest and greatest thing a society can achieve. Until we answer that difficult question, arguments such as this will forever continue to occur.