West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Comical Rules Experiences

Each year in October I conduct my annual wrestling clinics for coaches and officials. During the sessions, I explain rule changes, clarify how to handle various unusual situations, and answer all questions. I enjoy them very much and would now like to share three humorous incidents with you.

The Carter-Welker Show
When I was appointed as rules interpreter in 1989, Warren Carter was the assistant executive secretary of the WVSSAC in charge of wrestling. Thus, we made many trips together for three years. While driving across the state, we had many in-depth conversations in reference to sports, politics, family, education, and life in general. I also told him about all my adventures as a wrestler, coach, and official. One of my anecdotes was so interesting that Warren and I developed a brief comedy routine for the clinics. The skit went something like this:
Warren would begin by saying, "I am so proud of all our wrestling coaches throughout the state. They epitomize the best qualities of good sportsmanship."
I would then remark, "Yes, Warren! We have not had a coach kicked out of a state wrestling tournament -- and the hospitality room -- since 1976."
Warren would respond, "Who was that, Dr. Welker?"
I would simply reply, "ME!"

The Snowbird Clinic
On my clinic treks, I have to spend two weekends away from home. One of our clinic sites is Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley. In 1993, the seession at the school was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. That night it was snowing and very cold. Hereís what happen.

I arrive at 6:45 and went to the door we all usually entered for the clinic. There were about 20 coaches and referees waiting outside. The entrance was locked and there were no lights on. At 7:00 p.m. (starting time) there were 40 session participants waiting outside, but the home school coach whose job it was to let in had not shown up. What were we going to do? Reschedule the clinic -- no way!

I conducted the rules meeting in the snow. It was the shortest clinic I ever gave. But there wasnít anyone who complained. In fact, they cheered! (I wonder why?)

As it turned out, the home school coach thought it was the following weekend, and was so embarrassed. After I stopped laughing, I told him not to worry because it was surely a clinic I would never forget.

The Twenty-Dollar Tip
Those who know me have often dubbed me miserly and cheap. First of all, this character description is totally unfounded. I am a frugal person who doesnít spend unwisely. Thatís way the tale you are about read hurts so deeply.

Ray Marling, an officiating friend of mine, was kind enough to keep me company at my Charleston area clinics. When I finished my last clinic that evening, Ray and I decided to get something to eat. Ray stopped at Taco Bell, but I wanted a Big Mac. After he received his meal, Ray drove me to McDonalds. He gave the teenage girl at the window my order. It came too $3.98. I handed Ray a twenty dollar bill, the only currency in my wallet. When he handed the girl the money for the food, Ray graciously said (and Iíll remember those words forever), "Keep the change, honey?"

I barely caught the smile on the girlís contenance as Ray quickly sped out of the fast-food lot. I was numb with shock, but I accepted Rayís charitable gesture, and slept a solid hour that night.

To our officiating friends and many other acquaintences, Ray is presently a legend. Looking back at the incident, I think I really was planning to give the adolescent that tip. What do you think?

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