West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker
National Wrestling Hall of Famer

Book Review

Periodically, I am asked to review a new book on wrestling. Wrestling Spoken Here is the newest wrestling-oriented book on the market today. After reading it, I must say it is based on the positive attributes of wrestling in specific, and all sports in general.

Allow me to share with you the many themes of this mat sport saga.

The main character, Robbie Renfro, was a high school student who had no real hopes and dreams in life, and most importantly, no confidence in himself. Moreover, he was from a lower middle-class family, whose father was tired of his mundane job, a racist, an alcoholic . . . and felt defeated by life.

Then Robbie was introduced to wrestling and not only did he have a personal transformation, but his family was changed by the experience as well. Milt Sherman's book, Wrestling Spoken Here, gives a realistic view of the trials and triumphs of competing in the world's oldest sport. The workouts, the competitive action, the personal emotions are true for anyone who has ever set foot on a mat. I know because I experienced it firsthand.

So many people perceive wrestling as an individual sport without any "team-oriented" ideals. Mr. Sherman discounts this premise by demonstrating the cohesiveness of all the team members participating in the Arthur L. Canady High School wrestling program.

Another subject the author addresses is "bullying." This phenomenon has become a very prevalent concern in our contemporary schools. His protagonist must face this challenge, along with the rigors of in-season wrestling. You will enjoy the outcome if you're a fan of human justice.

Wrestling Spoken Here is a story that gets to the heart of the teenage psyche. It is a "coming of age" period in an adolescent's life when he is striving for his own identity. And it's a world that is filled with confusion and self-doubt. Robbie Renfro deals with these juvenile conflicts and others on his journey toward manhood. Wrestling Spoken Here is a "feel good" novel that anyone who has ever been involved in athletics will appreciate and definitely enjoy reading. I give it two thumbs up.

Author/Book contact Information: The price of the book is $19.50 and can be purchased via the author at the following address:

Milt Sherman
128 Harrell Street
Greenville, NC 27858
If you would like to preview the book and purchase it on-line, the website is www.lulu.com/wrestlingspokenhere. To correspond with the author by e-mail, go to miltsherman@hotmail.com.

Technical Violations
(Part One)

There are seven technical violations in wrestling. Today we will discuss the first three technical violations. All but one technical violation (Incorrect Starting Position or False Starts) are penalized via the progressive penalty chart in the following manner:
" First Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Second Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Third Offense: Two Match points for the opponent
" Fourth Offense: Disqualification

Let's now take a look at the first three technical violations: Leaving the Mat Proper, Intentionally Going Out-of-bounds, and Grasping of Clothing.

Leaving the Mat Proper
No wrestler may walk off the mat to spit in the waste can, for water, for legal medication, etc. without first receiving permission from the official.

Intentionally Going Out-of-bounds
Neither wrestler may intentionally go out-of-bounds when the match is in progress to avoid wrestling his opponent for any reason. There is one exception; If an opponent has scored near-fall points, the bottom man may scoot out-of-bounds on purpose.

Grasping of Clothing
A contestant may grab nothing but his opponent while wrestling. Should a wrestler grasp his adversary's uniform in an attempt to prevent him from scoring, any points his opponent obtains will be awarded plus the appropriate penalty point(s). Note, if the referee feels that the bottom man can not score due to the top man grabbing his uniform, the referee may stop the match and award the appropriate penalty point(s). Be reminded, should a wrestler accidently get his fingers or hand caught in his opponent's singlet, no penalty will be indicated and the referee may have to take an official's time out rectify the situation.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler puts Wrestler B on his back in a high bridge for three seconds. Wrestler B then uses his feet to push both wrestlers out-of-bounds. Is this a technical violation?
A: No. This is not a technical violation because Wrestler A would have earned two points for the near-fall situation.

The Road to States

Next weekend begins the "road to states" on both sides of the Ohio River. I want to wish all our OVAC wrestlers the best of everything as they begin sectionals in Ohio and regionals in West Virginia. I know they will all make us Valley mat sport fans very proud. Good luck wrestlers, and remember - "Keep movin' on the mats!"

Mat Message
"I would rather have a good education and no money than a fortune and be ignorant."
- George Armstrong Custer
Last in his class of 1861 at West Point

(His courage was nonpareil, but his failure is what we remember. "The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones " - Shakespeare.

General Custer was an outstanding soldier, a dedicated husband, and a good man. His remains rest in peace at West Point.)

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
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