The World Never Gets It

It truly is a shame how easy it is for any idiot to sit behind a computer and prove to the world just how low their intelligence level is. 

Just when I thought there was starting to be decent sports reporting out there, ESPN’s Rick Reilly proves me wrong.  I know, I know. I said before, getting my theology from ESPN is like getting my politics from the Dixie Chicks, but this man has stooped to a new level of scumbag.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on him.  Maybe ESPN has its own version of the Special Olympics for writers and this guy got published just for showing up, but then again that would be an insult to handicapped people the world over.  This guy would probably ridicule a quadriplegic for not being able to dribble a basketball. 

I guess my expectations where a little high for a guy who’s new big book is about his two year search for the “worlds dumbest competition.”

I guess now I’ll tell you how I really feel about it. 

I am sure all of you know the firestorm Joel Northrup started when he decided that his convictions were worth more than a state title in wrestling.  Joel graciously bowed out of the first round of the tournament, instead of wrestling female Cassy Herkelman. 

I have know Joel for many years now and know that this is not the first time he has decided not to wrestle a girl.  But, before there wasn’t a state title at stake.  I wish I were in a position so I could talk to Joel and tell him what it meant to me personally for him to take this stand. 

Having been on a similar stage myself, I can imagine how hard it may have been for Joel to walk to the scorer’s table and tell them that he withdrew from the match. If you looked carefully at the photos taken at the event, you may notice one detail that has slipped past most people. When Joel withdrew he had enough respect for the sport and for Cassy to completely dress out as though he were going to walk out on the mat and wrestle.

Joel did not make a snap decision and it wasn’t a surprise to him who he was supposed to wrestle, yet he was completely geared up just to walk over and withdraw. 

Every major news outlet around the country quickly picked up the story and ran with it.  While most of the comments on message boards covering the story were positive, yesterday, ESPN allowed Mr. Reilly to show the world just how clueless they are about what really transpired. 

Do yourself a favor and don’t even read the article. It will make blood shoot from your eyes and you’ll end up kicking the family cat.  I’ll do the best I can to make it through the article again and tell you why the world will never understand why young men like Joel take the stands that they do.

Reilly spends about the first half of the article telling us how tough Cassy is and that she doesn’t need anybody protecting her, let alone Joel.

He acknowledges that most of Iowa and the Herkelmans respected Joel for his decision, whether they agreed with it or not.  But then he asks, “Why?”

He continues, “Does any wrong-headed decision suddenly become right when defended with religious conviction? In this age, don’t we know better? If my God told me to poke the elderly with sharp sticks, would that make it morally acceptable to others?”

The only thing I would find morally acceptable from this guy is if he poked himself with a sharp stick. 

The world, and Reilly included, thinks they know better, but to let them in on a little secret, Joel was the only one who did get it.  It’s not Joel’s fault that someone raised a girl and turned her into a boy.  When the rest of the world sees a boy, Joel sees a girl.  He sees the truth, not what the world is telling him. 

Cassy’s own father doesn’t see it.  “She’s my son,” says her dad, Bill. “She’s always been my son. Since she could walk, she’s always been the tomboy, busting stuff up, walkin’ through glass with her bare feet.”

But don’t let me get away from Reilly’s downhill slide into Dirtbag City.  He points out that Joel didn’t refuse to wrestle Cassy for sexual reasons, he and his father, Jamie, cited the physicality of the engagement. 

Reilly continues, “That’s where the Northrups are so wrong. Body slams and takedowns and gouges in the eye and elbows in the ribs are exactly how to respect Cassy Herkelman. This is what she lives for. She can elevate herself, thanks.”

No matter how hard it tries, world can’t pull the wool over Joel’s eyes.  He understands that this world will try and tell you that something evil is good.  If Joel “respected” Cassy in the hallway of any public school he would be arrested. 

If you haven’t broken your computer screen yet, hold on cause it gets worse. Reilly is going for a record, “If the Northrups really wanted to ‘respect’ women, they should’ve encouraged their son to face her. When he didn’t, it created a national media hurricane with Cassy in the eye of it. She was surrounded by 20 of us Friday not for how she wrestled (she wound up being eliminated two matches later) but for how she didn’t.”

Joel didn’t put her in that position. Her parents put her in that position by getting her into wrestling when she was in just second grade.  I am sure Cassy’s parents are great people and Cassy isn’t going to suffer any long term ill effects from all this, but yet again this world wants to blame everybody else for the situations they put themselves into.  Joel just happen to be the one who had enough guts to tell them all that what she was doing was wrong.

It wasn’t anything personal, it was just the truth.  I have heard that hell hath no fury greater than a woman scorned, but try telling anyone in this world that they are solely responsible for the situations they put themselves into and watch out.  How dare someone say that what Cassy was doing was anything but right.

Reilly can’t even see that maybe he and the 19 other bloodsuckers could have left her alone until after she was done wrestling.  No, it was Joel’s fault they couldn’t leave her alone.

Hang on people, I know it’s rough, but we are almost home and I don’t want to deprive Reilly of his shot at the title as the world’s biggest sleaze-ball.  He continues, “I don’t feel as bad for Cassy as I do for Joel. He was the fifth-ranked wrestler in the state at 112 pounds. He was 35-4. He had a chance to win the whole thing. In Iowa, that means a lifetime of people buying you lunch. It’s corn-state royalty. To give all that up to protect a girl who loathes being protected? What a waste of a dream.”

First of all, sometimes you have to protect people from themselves.  Secondly, Joel knows there is a better crown out there waiting for him.  Someone he knows is waiting to give him an eternal crown and tell him “Well done thy good and faithful servant!”  Those words would beat hearing you named announced a thousand times as a state champion.  There is more at stake here than a piece of metal.  Yet again, there are few people who can understand this.

Joel ended up losing a heartbreaker in overtime to be removed from the tournament, and Reilly can’t help but get a little personal as he crosses the finish line, “Neither he, nor his coaches, nor his dad, had any comment. He was reportedly on his way back home to Marion, Iowa, where his mom was about to deliver her eighth child. For the kid’s sake, I hope it’s a boy.”

And there you have it folks. Reilly wins going away. 

I tell you what Joel, this world is going mad.  There are idiots everywhere, and when you take a stand for Jesus they are going to hate you.  So please do me a favor, hold that new little baby close and teach him to be as strong as you are.  Don’t let him listen to this world.  I can only pray that my own boys understand what a great man you are and that they will try and follow the great example you set for them.  I only wish I were able to fully relate to you how proud I am of you.  Trust me when I say that there are people the world over that are taking strength from the stand you made. 

As for you Reilly, if you ever write a book about the “World’s Worst Writers” give me a call. I got your number one right here.


About fanningtheflamesagain

Too many times in life we don't speak up. We don't want to rock the boat. We keep quiet because we think we are in the minority. I never seemed to have this issue. I generally wish I would have kept my mouth shut, but I just can't. Thanks though for stopping by and taking a moment to see my side of the story. May it not be far from what God would have me to say.
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6 Responses to The World Never Gets It

  1. Erik says:

    Matt I love you brother. As for Joel… what an awesome stand. Now the world can see that there are young men who love Jesus!

  2. Great article Matt! Thanks for your support and prayers. Keep fighting the good fight in Afghanistan. Your our hero!

  3. Kenneth Myers says:

    Gee Matt, don’t pull any punches. Tell us what you REILLY think! (No typo) Anna was bragging on you and I can see why now! Commenting about Rick Reilly should be a cathartic exercise for you. (Ha ha) Anyway, stay faithful and true and do your job over there and PLEASE come home this summer.

  4. Wonderful post, Matt. You saw in my blog that I, too, have been reflecting on the obvious fact that the world just doesn’t understand Joel’s decision. I was so angry when I read Reilly’s article. Not only is he completely wrong, but he has apparently forgotten that this is a 15-year old boy he’s ruthlessly, albeit wrongly, attacking. Real classy, huh?

  5. Robert Julson says:

    Matt, I never knew you to be so witty. While I didn’t read the Reilly article, thank you for the summary. That is all I need. You are right. The world doesn’t get it. That’s why we have so much stuff going on now. They just don’t get it. Thinking themselves wise, they became fools.

    The world has it wrong on Joel. That young man is a hero. He forsook the short term goal of a metal and as Reilly predicts, a free lunch for a lifetime, for the long term goal of a pure heart, fellowship with the King, and the right to eat at His table for eternity.

    You are so right. The world is looking for a free lunch now. Joel made the right choice. He is looking for eternity.

    Keep up the good work over there.

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