West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

Sports have the potential to develop a positive human spirit in our youth. They prepare them for the joys and sorrows, the victories and defeats, and the successes and failures that life will offer them as adults. These human experiences are what make us unique amongst God's earthly creatures.

With the above in mind, allow me to retell by memory a story I read many, many years ago inspired, I believe, by Michel Nigel.

The Angel and the Four Seekers

One Christmas morning a heavenly angel was looking down on earth and was awed by its beauty. Without God's permission, this angel decides to visit earth to get a closer look at God's creation. The angel spent several hours enjoying the splendor of its snow-covered mountains, the brilliant colors of its animal and plant life, and the glistening blue waters of the oceans.

But what most intrigued the angel is humankind, and the many emotions they are confronted with in their lives. The angel witnessed the many aspects of human nature, the good and the evil. The angel felt nothing but love (and a tinge of envy) for these children of God, who faced the hardships of mortal living with dignity and tenacity.

While walking down one well-traveled path, the angel met four seekers who all had dreams. Although over-stepping his bounds, the angel felt compassion for those men and decided to grant each of them one wish.

The angel told the seekers who it was and that it wanted to help them on their individual journeys toward truth by granting each one his greatest desire. With a glowing joy in his countenance, the angel asked the first seeker what he desired the most.

"I want to have total purity of thought, and not be tempted by human desires that often cause turmoil and strife." The angel was disturbed by his request and retorted, "Are you sure?" "Yes, that's what I want!" As the angel granted his wish, the first seeker disappeared and a marble likeness of him appeared on a nearby mountain. Only a statue is pure of thought.

A bit disturbed by the first seeker's desire, the angel asked the second seeker what he wanted most for himself. The seeker responded, "I want to have complete peace of mind, with no worries to distract my quest for truth." "Is that what you want?" replied the angel, a bit disappointed. "Absolutely!" At that very moment, the second seeker was transformed into a cow. Only a cow chewing his cud in a field is totally content in this world.

The angel began to lose his celestial radiance as he asked the third seeker what he desired most in life. The seeker quickly replied, "I want to be perfect. With perfection, I will be free of human error that affects all mankind." Deeply saddened, the angel granted his request. Instantly, the third seeker disappeared, for nothing on earth is perfect.

Distressed by the wishes of the first three seekers, the angel reluctantly asked the fourth seeker to express his ultimate desire. "Nothing," said the fourth seeker. Nothing, but to totally experience all the delights and trials of being human. Very pleased with the request, the angel hugged the fourth seeker as he jubilantly granted the final seeker's desire to be completely human.

That afternoon, as the angel returned to heaven, it received an undignified swift kick on the derriere that drove it, face down, against the golden pathway.

"You messed with the works, today, without my permission," God admonished the angel. "Yes I did, Heavenly Father, but I gave each of them what they asked for and justly deserved." "That, you did," said God as He then granted the angel what it longed for after tampering with the works.

That very moment on earth, in a humble farmhouse, a child was born. His father, the fourth seeker, looked down upon his son and wife with joy in his eyes.

Yes, as mortal beings, we must realize "the struggle is the glory." Athletics can start us in that direction. When we learn to accept the struggle - the winning and the losing -- only then do we realize the glory (and the gift) of being human.

The Takedown

The objective of wrestling is to pin one's opponent, and a takedown is usually the first step toward this goal. Statistics, for decades, demonstrate that the wrestler who successfully executives the first takedown in a match wins the bout 85 to 90 percent of the time.

What is a takedown?

To set up a takedown, the wrestlers must be working from the neutral or standing position, a situation where neither wrestler has control.

A takedown is scored when one of the wrestlers gains control over his opponent. The determining factor is causing his opponent's supporting points other than his feet - knees, thighs, buttocks, or hands - to come in contact with the mat under control beyond reaction time (as judged by the official). Supporting points are defined as the area or areas in which most of the wrestler's body weight is carried. A wrestler can be awarded a takedown as long as he or his adversary is in-bounds. Remember, the line around the wrestling area is out-of-bounds.

It is also important to understand that a takedown can now be awarded if the scoring wrestler's feet are in-bounds and touching the mat.

The wrestler who scores the takedown is awarded two match points for the maneuver.

Note, the double-leg takedown, single-leg takedown, fireman's carry, arm drag, snap-down and pancake are just a few types of takedown moves.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A shoots a double-leg takedown on Wrestler B. At the completion of the takedown, Wrestler B is completely out-of-bounds and only Wrestler A's feet are in-bounds on the mat. Would Wrestler A still be credited with a takedown?

A: Yes. Since both of Wrestler A's feet remained in-bound, he is considered in-bounds and can score the takedown.

OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior

Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Barnesville's Bud Hines. The 160-pound Shamrock was crowned champion last week at the highly-competitive Barnesville Invitational. To take home the gold, Bud had to defeat last year's defending champion from Claymont. Hine's record thus far this season is 5-1.

Last year at 152-pounds, Bud Hines garnished a record of 38-12. His accomplishments included a third place finish at the Ron Mauck OVAC Tournament. He also placed at the Ohio Sectionals and Districts, with a strong 6th place finish at the Ohio State Championships.

Congratulations are extended to Barnesville's Bud Hines - this week's OVAC Wrestling Warrior!

The Wrestling Drill Book Update

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Ohio Valley wrestling enthusiasts so much for their tremendous support of the book. To date, over 150 books have been purchased Valley-wide. Initial reports from the marketing director of Human Kinetics Publishers is that The Wrestling Drill Book is doing well on the national and international markets as well.

Over the holidays, books can be purchased at my two book signings which will be held at The Wheeling Park Domino's Duals on Thursday, December 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., and at the St. Clairsville Best Value Tournament on Friday, Decmber 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.

I am looking forward to meeting more wrestling fans from both sides of the Ohio River this week.

Mat Message
"Fear of becoming a 'has-been' keeps so many people from becoming anything."
-- Eric Hoffer


(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
Return to the West Virginia Mat Thoughts Index Page
Return to the WV-Mat front page