These Days Aren’t Over

I continue to be appalled at our society day in and day out. And it continues to hit closer and closer to home — especially when your residence is in the D.C./Metropolitan area. This time the story takes place at Arundel High School. The scene is a wrestling match, 103-pounders to be exact, going at it. Suddenly, you realize that one of the wrestlers doesn’t look quite like what you expected — in fact, he doesn’t look like a he at all! The simple reason? It’s a girl — a girl who is one of Maryland’s top 103-pound wrestlers.

[Nicole] Woody has broken barriers at the Maryland high school level and owns an expanding trophy case of national and international championships. She’s also in a prime position to compete for a spot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and/or the 2012 London Games.

“All you have to do is watch one of her matches,” Arundel Athletic Director Bernie Walter said. “She’s a feminine young woman who’s an outstanding wrestler.”

Woody started wrestling at age 9 at the suggestion of her mother — yes, her mother. Mary Woody, whose family has deep wrestling roots, was thrilled with the discipline the sport taught her older son William, a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They excel in whatever they do,” Mary said of wrestlers. “I just knew that if it was good for him, it was good for her.”

Nicole was a natural. In her first dual match, she pinned her opponent in 10 seconds.

“And he quit,” Mary said, with a hint of pride. “She’s done that to a couple kids.”

Before long, Woody started wrestling year-round and climbing up the ranks. In 2002, she won the U.S. Girls’ Wrestling Association National Belt Folkstyle championship, which preceded three more USGWA national titles.

Currently the USGWA’s top-ranked 100-pounder, she is hoping to become the first girl to win four titles at the annual Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D., this summer. Last August, she was the only American to win a title (97 pounds) at the Junior World Championships in Guatemala City. She has also competed in Austria, Canada and Russia. (

But those wins were against girls, which isn’t any fun.

“Because of wrestling [boys] and the intensity with the coaches,” she said, “they make practice harder and work me harder.”

With a career varsity record of 66-18 that has come almost exclusively against boys, Woody enters this weekend’s state championships as a legitimate contender at the lowest weight class. And after arriving at Arundel three years ago as a previously home-schooled 16-year-old freshman, she’ll graduate with honors this spring.

“She works harder than any boy we’ve got in the room,” Arundel coach Bill Royer said. “She travels more than any boy we’ve got in the room. It’s not a male-female issue. She’s a wrestler, she wants to be a champion, and she’s succeeding in that.”

Woody is making a habit of making history. In 2005, she and former Western Tech wrestler Jade Hendricks became the first Maryland public school girls to qualify for the state tournament (Woody went 0-2). Last season, she joined Helen Maroulis of Montgomery County’s Magruder as the first females to win a state match. On Feb. 17, she became the first girl to win an Anne Arundel County title after pinning South River’s Curtis Taylor with 18 seconds left in the 103-pound final. And on Saturday, she became the state’s first female regional champion after beating Centennial’s Jack Western, 2-0, in the 4A/3A East Region final.

“Nicole has a lot of respect throughout the state. My impression of her is higher after that match,” South River coach John Klessinger said of the county final.

She has been featured in Sports Illustrated twice, Time Magazine, USA Today and Wrestling USA Magazine.

“Nicole is a pioneer at this sport,” Royer said. “My daughter wants to wrestle now. She follows Nicole around. It’s neat what she’s doing and the interest she draws to the sport.”

But that’s not what I want to let you see. It’s this that puts me over the edge.

Woody, though, is not a crusader for womanhood. She’s not out to prove anything. She’s just a girl whose personality long ago embraced both femininity and physical competition.

“I just always liked working hard, and then when you come out [of competition], you just feel so much better about yourself,” she said.

Local reaction to her has been mixed. Every so often, she runs into teams that forfeit a match rather than send a boy out to face her. Is it a not-so-subtle statement from a sexist coach? Is he simply trying to shield his boy from the perceived shame of losing to a girl? Either way, Royer has had enough.

“This embarrassment thing has got to end somewhere,” he said. “It’s not just her. Some teams, it doesn’t matter who the girl is, they won’t wrestle her. It’s just their principle. Those days should be over.” (Emphasis Mine).

Two years ago, the media attention surrounding Woody and the jealousy it spawned among some teammates and parents forced Royer to call a clear-the-air team meeting. One of boys eventually transferred schools. Since then, the situation within the team “hasn’t been great, but it’s been OK,” Royer said.

Having a female teammate “can be good, and it can be bad,” Arundel 140-pound junior Jordan Hernandez said. “The good thing is, you think it’s going to be easy, but the bad thing could be if you get beat by her, you feel really horrible. She’s cool and everything. … I give her mad props for going to states as a girl.”

Some of Woody’s own relatives object to her wrestling, according to her mother. Still, Woody presses on, unflinchingly. She said she has never felt ostracized by her teammates. Disrespectful opponents are easier to deal with.

“I can’t remember specifically, but I remember getting upset about something last year and then beating the crap out of somebody,” she said, laughing.

Those days should be over? I thought these days were over. What’s wrong with the picture of a guy pinning down a girl on a mat?

“What if, for religious reasons, people said they were not going to wrestle African Americans, or wrestle people of different religions?” asked Nancy Hogshead-Makar, legal adviser for the Women’s Sports Foundation and a gold medalist in swimming at the 1984 Olympics. “When you put it in those terms, you can see how the person who is not able to compete is being harmed.”

We are talking about gender, not race.

The final word comes from Albert Mohler: “Putting adolescent boys in the position of wrestling adolescent girls undermines and violates the natural and necessary responsibility of men and boys to protect girls and women–not to wrestle them to the ground.” Exactly. Did I just hear the words “different by design?”

Different By Design: Summary

I don’t believe I am completely done with this series, but I always find it helpful to stop for at least one moment, and look back at what we’ve discussed.

  • Different By Design Part 1: We begin the journey.
  • Different By Design Part 2: The journey continues.
  • A Philosophical Break: We take a look at how some attempt to fix the problem of men becoming feminized.
  • Manliness Isn’t Always Next to Godliness: I respond to the response to A Philosophical Break.
  • Excellent: Proverbs 31: We take a look at the Proverbs 31 woman.
  • From here on, I will have to decide what to do. My plan is to dive into godly manhood much more deeply than I have. For now, check out One Way Purpose for his ongoing series on godly manhood.

    Excellent: Proverbs 31

    Biblical womanhood is a topic that many months ago I attempted to take a look at, and sadly failed. It never made it past “draft” on my website, as my thoughts were disconnected, my theology was somewhat (if not completely) shaky, and the post remained completely unfit for publication. I hope to avoid that in the following look at biblical womanhood aided by the Bible, and our good friend Dr. John MacArthur who has helped us down the road of understanding the relationship of man and woman.

    As Christians, we are given the mandate from Paul, or rather a command to have the older women teach the younger women to be “workers at home.” That’s a tough pill to swallow in our day and age. It’s something people do not want to hear, and many times label themselves as the exceptions when they are not. I hope that all will prayerfully evaluate their situation, and do what they can to pursue Paul’s teaching.

    Now this is a whole new discussion for another time, and it certainly will be discussed at some point. But I think I’ve summed things up. Paul has commanded women to be taught to be “workers at home.” There are certainly exceptions, and I clearly understand that. But we cannot ignore Scripture in the least.

    What I really want to take a look at is what the excellent wife looks like, specifically looking at Proverbs 31.

    What is an excellent wife? Well, Dr. MacArthur describes the woman in light of the meaning of the Hebrew for “excellent” which means “force” or “strength.” A proper interpretation of the text would lead one to understand that this is a woman who is “strong spiritually, morally, mentally, and physically. This woman makes a difference in society.”

    “Her worth is far above jewels,” says the author of the Proverbs 31, King Lemuel.

    “Typically men seek a wife for all the wrong reasons,” says MacArthur, “looks, accomplishments, style, success, money, or education. They ought to look for a woman with virtue, strength of character, spiritual excellence, and internal godliness.” I would have to agree with Dr. MacArthur. Looking at the text, we see six specific qualities that characterize the “excellent wife” that men ought to be looking for: character, devotion, generosity, influence, effectiveness, and excellence.


    The character of a wife is the first of six qualities that we will be looking at when understanding fully what the excellent wife looks like. King Lemuel speaks of the excellent wife as such.

    “The heart of her husband trusts in her,” says verse 11. In this verse we see clearly that husband knows his wife is trustworthy, and is “confident in her faithfulness, integrity, discretion, and care for all his interests (MacArthur).” The result of this trust will be “no lack of gain” because of her superb stewardship. “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Who cannot wish for a companion who does you good and not evil. A wife who is working in her husbands best interest, strengthening him, supporting him, and never speaking evil of him or harming his character in any way, be it in public or private. This devotion and beautiful character never fades.

    The husband continues to reap the benefits as he is “known in the gates, when he sites among the elders of the land.” What exactly does this mean?

    “That means he is esteemed and respected by his peers, in part because she created a world for him in which he could be everything God wanted him to be.” She is a selfless servant who loves serving her husband. That is a huge task, and not one that is widely accepted in our society. Instead, all of us are encouraged to be our own boss, to rule our own lives, and to submit to no one. This is certainly not what we as Christians should be living as, but rather we should be living as humble servants — whether we be a husband or a wife. I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when the two are married, they become one, therefore giving themselves over to the other. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and the wife is to live and love as the church lives for and loves Christ. This relationship is to illustrate His love for the church.

    “God invented romance and pursuit and the promise of undying love between a man and a woman so that throughout our lives we could catch a faint glimmer of the intense love Christ has for those He died to save,” Josh Harris notes in Stop Dating the Church, “What passion He has for the church!” [2]

    A strong “amen” to that. This relationship is astounding, and we must understand the context in light of the Gospel.


    This woman is a woman of strong devotion to her family. She is one who cares for the needs of her family, be it clothing or food, and does it with care and skill. She does not do it without thought and preparation, but is a skilled planner and manager of her home. Verse 15 also states that she “rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens.” John MacArthur notes that in those days the family would keep a small lamp burning throughout the night. In order to keep the lamp burning, someone had to wake up in the middle of the night to place more oil in the lamp. The wife would take this responsibility in order to allow her family to sleep. When she was done with that, she didn’t head back to bed, but instead went to preparing the meal for the day. Her sacrifice and devotion are great.

    “Feminists and others who claim that the role of a homemaker is demeaning to women never understood Proverbs 31. A homemaker has to combine elements of an economist, administrator, and business manager to analyze available products, exercise wisdom and foresight to make intelligent purchases, and assign tasks to her household labor force. At the same time she has to fulfill her responsibilities as a wife to her husband and provide loving care to all her children,” MacArthur reminds us. Not only this, but she is an entrepreneur (v. 16) and a woman who is strong and has much energy — which seems to be essential to this ultimate job. And in the end, she is satisfied and fulfilled. She is prepared (v. 21) and chooses to be a woman of “graceful simplicity.” (v. 22) She is “grateful for the external beauty with which God has blessed her” so “she dresses in such a way that will show off her beauty to her husband.” Yet she does not overdo it, and remains graceful and simple.


    Not only does this woman care for the needs of her own family, but is one who “stretches her hands to the needy” by personally reaching out to them in their distress. This is astounding! She cares not only for her own family, but for those she comes in contact with. Such humility and grace are hard to find in our world pervaded by feminism, as well as the general thought pattern that we deserve all we have–and there is no reason to share it with others. If only we all were like this woman — yet sadly, we as human beings continue to fall short.


    This woman is not shut up in her house, unable to affect the world in any way. Her spiritual character is strong, and she maintains a high quality life. She works with her children, raising them in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4) and works to manage her home in order that her husband can be a man of God. She “opens her mouth in wisdom” says verse 26. The “teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Her words are gracious, edifying, and mitering to those who hear her. She is shaping and molding the next generation — something so important, we cannot give enough gratitude for their work.


    “She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” She overcomes the temptations of laziness and understands that “true fulfillment” as MacArthur reminds us “can only come from a supreme effort.” When her children grow older, the fruits of her labor will be reaped as she is blessed in her old age. Not only that, but her husband will tell her that she is the best of all women — her ultimate reward.


    “A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised,” says King Lemuel, “Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

    “When a man fears and loves God, he’s in the best circumstances,” says Dr. MacArthur. “And if he thinks she is beautiful at first, she’ll become more beautiful to him with every passing year.” She is an excellent wife. What more can I say except that this does not stop here? The husband must do his part of the job, or Proverbs 31 is only a nice Hebrew proverb. The excellent husband must support his excellent wife. Let us all strive to be excellent in all we do.

    [1] “Onward Women” Dec. 4, 1989, 85.
    [2] Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris pg. 30.

    The Results of Sin

    Right Wing News did an interview with Dr. Helen, wife of the infamous Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, on “Why Kids Kill.” I have to say, it’s an intriquing interview going into the minds of those young men and women who have “gone bad.” I think all of us have wondered the reasons for this, yet it is interesting to see how the world answers these tough questions of the roots of sin.

    We all know the bottom line, but I encourage those who are interested to read and come back here to post their thoughts. For others, you need to check out some material on the doctrine of sin which is so important to our Christian faith. All of this helps us understand why the gospel is such good news. All of us deserve death and punishment just as much as these kids, yet Christ, through his death on the cross which satisfied God’s wrath, allows us to be redeemed through repentance and faith. It’s so important to understand that. For more, check ou the top posts on the sidebar.

    *Update* : Speaking of this.