There’s always a large degree of respect to be earned for sticking by your beliefs or sacrificing something in the name of your faith.
Brendan Johnston, a former high school wrestler from Colorado, knows all about that. Back in 2018, he reportedly forfeited no less than two state tournament matches that were supposed to take place against girls.
In doing so, he effectively ended his high school career in the sport, citing his religious and personal beliefs as his reason for refusing to accept the matches.
The subject of pitting adult males versus adult females in physical competition is one that’s perhaps discussed more often these days than ever before.
Of course, for the most part, people believe that it’s unfair to make men and women go head to head. The two sexes are so different in many ways, not least biologically, and so the playing field isn’t even from the get-go.
In any case, 18-year-old Brendan Johnson took umbrage to the idea of wrestling against Jaslynn Gallegos of Skyview High in the first round of a state tournament in 2018. Brendan, then a senior at the Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, opted not to fight Angel Rios from Valley High in his third-round consolation match either.
Speaking to KDVR, Brendan, who is Christian, said: “It’s so physical, physically close. I don’t think that’s really appropriate with a young lady. It’s also very aggressive and I’m not really, I guess, comfortable with that.”
He continued: “There is something that I really do find problematic about the idea of wrestling with a girl, and a part of that does come from my faith and my belief.
“And a part of that does come from how I was raised to treat women as well as maybe from different experiences and things.
“I don’t think that I am looking at them as not equal. I am saying that they are women and that is different than being men because I do believe that men and women are different and we are made differently.
“But I still believe that women are of equal value to men. I don’t think that seeing men and women as different [opposes] the idea of equality.”
As a result of Brendan’s decision not to wrestle the two girls, he placed sixth, while Angel and Jaslynn placed fourth and fifth respectively.
Jaslynn, however, was disappointed by Brendan opting out of a potential match. Speaking to the Washington Post at the time, she said: “This whole time that I’ve wrestled, it’s just me trying to prove a point that I am just a wrestler.
“And so the fact that my gender is something that kind of holds me back still is just a little nerve-racking, but I respect his decision. It’s fine.
“My whole thing is that I’m not a girl wrestler; I’m just a wrestler. So it kind of doesn’t hurt my feelings, but I do kind of take it to heart.”
See more on Brendan’s big call here: