Words By: Monica Allen, Founder/Owner of Sisters on the Mat and huge promoter of women’s wrestling.
One of my #1 pet peeves as a coach in womens wrestling is when I hear, “my girl wrestles boys because they are tougher” or “they give my girl a better match.”
1. Ok, maybe. But you are teaching your daughter that boys are better than girls. You are teaching your daughter that they are too good to wrestle girls. You are teaching your daughter that it’s ok to lose to boys but it’s not ok to lose to girls. And that last statement, that you are teaching your daughter, exactly what you dont want boys to think about your own daughter.
2. There will be a point in your daughter’s career, that it is no longer in her best interest to wrestle boys. There is a time in your daughter’s career that they will come to and they will want to quit. A Time where they will have to persevere. That time comes around puberty. At that point, what will you do? You need to sit and think on that one for a bit. Do they have good female role models in their life now? While you are only letting them wrestle boys? Do they have good solid female teammates, when those boys decide wrestling girls is awkward? Or when your own daughter becomes uncomfortable wrestling boys? In the state of Texas and growing states we are lucky that our girls can experience whatever their heart desires.
3. I have watched a girl grow up in youth wrestling ONLY wrestling boys, the first national tournament I took her too, she thought she was going to kill some girls in her 70lb weight class, only to go 2 and out to some bad ass girls. She was not ok. Not only did she throw a fit because she lost to girls, but she threatened to quit. I watched her lose to boys and shrug her shoulders! She was taught it was ok to lose to boys, because, quite simply, they are boys. She was taught that she was better than other girls she wrestled, but never was allowed to wrestle them or had the opportunity until I showed her. I had to retrain her brain in the wrestling room for years!!! Even in HS, she had an issue with losing to girls. I couldn’t change what she grew up in or the environment that she was surrounded by.
4. If you only allow your daughter to wrestle in co-ed divisions, you dont support the growth of womens wrestling. PERIOD. You are only for yourself and your kid. Which is fine, I get that, but that is not the mission of wrestling or women’s wrestling. Be part of the bigger picture. Be part of the growth. Dont be part of the ignorance.
5. Maybe you go out and dominate your girls division and “have no competition” one weekend. But what you did by paying that entry fee and supporting that girls division is far bigger than “getting better competition.” You just helped ensure that there might be another girls division at the next tournament or the next year. You just encouraged the competition to come back and wrestle again, you just gave your daughter more role models to look up to, more girls to inspire, more friends to meet up with in the hallways at the tournament and to hang out with matside. You just contributed to the wrestling community.