During the state high school wrestling championship in Pennsylvania this weekend, a Catholic high school forfeited an important match because one of their boys would have had to go up against a girl from another school. As a result of the forfeit, Notre Dame-Green Pond lost the match and missed out on a higher placement.
Does anyone feel bad for them?
Nick Fierro of The Morning Call explains that Notre Dame’s opponent in that match was Aaliyana Mateo of Saucon Valley High School. She’s obviously good enough to be on the team but she had never pinned a boy in a match, which gave her opponent a leg up. When they forfeited, though, she won six points for her team — enough to tilt the team’s results in her favor.
Notre Dame coach Matt Veres had to go somewhere to spit it out.
After speaking to his team briefly following the loss, Veres bolted from Hershey’s Giant Center, all but sprinted to his sport utility vehicle and appeared to drive away before circling back to sit by himself and decompress while waiting curbside for his team.
Veres did graciously roll down his window for an interview request but had no comment on the rule. At the same time, he said: “The 106 bout was pretty much the deciding factor in the match.”
The rule in question is one that says girls can compete in wrestling since there’s no separate division for them. The Saucon Valley coach rightly defended his team by saying they weren’t “taking advantage” of anyone. If they wanted to do that, they would’ve “thrown 14 girls out there.” Instead, they picked the best possible team to go up against everyone else in the state, and if Catholic schools can’t handle wrestling a girl, it’s their damn fault.
He’s right about that. Much like acting, it’s entirely possible to set aside your cooties and just be a professional. You’re not committing a sin by wrestling a girl instead of a boy. But if the Catholic Church wants to pretend otherwise, then they are free to forfeit as many matches as they want. Their loss.
We saw something similar a year ago when a Christian student in Colorado gave up two matches against girls and cost himself a state championship. I don’t begrudge his decision, but I didn’t feel bad for him either. He made the decision; he had to accept the consequences. The girls shouldn’t feel bad because his ideas are ridiculous. If anything, we should feel bad for the girls because they didn’t get a chance to defend their skills on the wrestling mat. All they wanted was that opportunity.
It’s the same thing in Pennsylvania. The state is right to allow girls to compete in the sport, and the Catholic schools are within their rights not to fight them. But no one should waste any time feeling bad for the Catholic students. Instead of being mature, they’re acting like this is some sort of religious discrimination. It’s not. If they refuse to fight in a sport that’s all about fighting, they shouldn’t be rewarded for it.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)