West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Building a Child's Character

Folks, we must never forget that the prime objective of life and any sport is to build men and women of character. And it begins at home.

Unfortunately, we often do not find such character in professional sports. I don't think I have to reiterate the recent events that have transpired on and off the pro courts and playing fields. In some cases, the collegiate ranks also lack "character-oriented" experiences.

Consider Lou Holtz, who retired from college football after a last game that left a bitter taste in his mouth. If I were Lou, I would have simply thanked the team for making my final game so memorable and walked out of the locker room, flushing my coaching whistle down the toilet.

Are there any more heroes left?

Yes there are, and many have stepped up to the plate time and time again. Those important heroes are the "parents," who are solely responsible for developing a child's positive character values. A child's value base is fairly well established by age seven. So, it truly is the parents' job. Sad to say, I have often witnessed parent-failure in building their child's character. You need only observe some parents at any of their children's athletic contests (including cheerleading); they're not hard to find. The result: their children begin to imitate their inappropriate behavior as they mature.

For a civilized society, we often display less than civilized behavior. The rage that some people demonstrate in their lives, as well as in the athletic realm, would make a beast of the wild blush.

The following is a "Monkey's Point of View" regarding man. It's food for thought.

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree,
Discussing things as they're said to be,
Said one to the others, "Now listen you two,
There's a certain rumor that can't be true.

That man descended from our noble race,
The very idea is quite a disgrace.
No monkey ever deserted his wife,
Starved the babies or ruined her life.

And you've never known a mother monk,
To leave her babies with others who sunk;
Or pass them off - from one to another,
Till they scarcely know who is their mother.

No fence is around my coconut tree;
Starvation would force you to steal from me.
Here's another thing a monk won't do,
Go out at night and get himself stewed.

He would not use a gun, club or knife,
To take some other monkey's life.
Yes! Man descended - the ornery cuss; But, brothers, he didn't descend from us!"
- Author Unknown

There are many, many great parents out there who are true heroes and builders of character. Those are the ones whose children, when they work through their growing pains, wear their parents' names on their backs, not some distant professional athlete who doesn't know how to act.

Hopefully, you have been blessed to be one of those parents.

Mat Message
"The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have."
-- Ring Lardner

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