July 19, 2018 at 12:38 pm #10696
Just wanted to post a quick message about girls wrestling folkstyle in our state.
First, I want to say how proud I am of our Georgia girls and want to offer thanks to every coach, partner, and supporter of Georgia Girls Wrestling. We had a great showing at Fargo and I am hopeful that there are future World and Olympic Team members in our midst.
The reason for my post is a plea, however, to let our girls wrestle versus the boys during the folkstyle season. “They are already allowed to wrestle,” you are thinking. It’s true they are. But as a coach of one of those Georgia girls I can’t tell you how disappointed she was last season that she had more forfeits to her than any other wrestler on our team, which included two state champs. Even during the summer wrestling duals, coaches forfeited rather than allow their boys to wrestle her.
I get it. I do. There are absolutely times when as a coach I might forfeit a guaranteed loss to prevent a momentum swing. But there are teams that would send less than average wrestlers out versus our wrestlers who were undefeated multiple-time state champs, but would forfeit to our 106lb, state-qualifying, but not state placing female wrestler. When asked why they wouldn’t “allow” their wrestler to wrestle, so many coaches responded that they didn’t want their wrestler to get discouraged, or, “my boys ain’t wrestling THAT girl,” implying that if our girl was a fish they would have no problem letting their wrestler compete against ours. Because the same coaches would send wrestlers out against our proven male hammers, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the coaches do not feel our wrestler is deserving of the match because she is a girl.
So, first, please understand that our female wrestlers train. With boys. All the time. By choice. Our female wrestlers that break the starting Varsity or JV lineups have earned their spots by wrestling against boys. Our female wrestlers lead wrestling lifestyles. They often represent the best of our sport as they are often outmatched in strength, are often the underdog, and yet continue to battle practice after practice, tournament after tournament. Most wrestling coaches I know understand that this constant struggle is the definition of what it means to “be a wrestler.” So imagine their disappointment when they train all week, some twice a day, make weight, get home late on Friday nights and get up early on Saturday mornings, travel on long bus rides, weigh-in last most times, after every single other kid from every team has weighed-in, and then get no matches to test themselves because others don’t believe they have earned the right to toe the line.
My hope is that if our girl or any other girl breaks the varsity lineup they will be given the chance to compete. I don’t know if our girl will break our lineup again this year. But she isn’t a Georgia State Placer. She didn’t win our area or our sectional. She’s just a wrestler. I hope as we get ready for another incredible season that if and when she toes the line, she will look across the tape and see a wrestler who trained just as hard as she did, and who wants to compete and win just as badly as she does.
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