Heaven Fitch of Uwharrie Charter school made history last weekend at the 1A division of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association wrestling tournament. Fitch, who entered the tournament with a 54-4 record, won the eight-person bracket of the 106-weight class. She was the lone female in the weight class.
Over my years of coaching wrestling, I have trained girls and had wrestlers on my teams compete against girls. One girl wrestler I remember was the captain of her high school team. Twice she qualified for the Virginia 2A tournament. We never beat Sarah in a dual meet.
What Heaven Fitch accomplished was due. For years girls have been allowed to compete in the sport of wrestling. Some, like Sarah, are solid wrestlers and athletes, but the body fat issue usually kept females at a disadvantage. Now, Fitch has broken what some call another glass ceiling.
My issue is not with Fitch or any other female wrestling against males. If they want to, great. Let them make weight and walk out on the mat. What I am opposed to is the false belief that, by doing this, we are creating a level playing field for athletes, our students.
For instance: If any of the seven boys in Fitch’s weight class wanted to play volleyball but his school had not male team, but did field a girl team, would he be welcomed onto the court? Another example is the hair requirement so our military academies: Do females have their heads shaved like the males?
Allowing girls to compete against boys is fine, but turn that table and create the level field we say we have by allowing boys to compete against girls when no other option is present. And, cut everybody’s hair.