West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

Down But Not Out

I have not stepped onto a wrestling mat since Friday, Dec. 10 but it has been an excused absence. Allow me to explain.

I hadn't been feeling well all day on Dec. 10. I felt like I was starting to come down with a cold and was dealin.g with some other physical maladies, as well. But I wanted to officiate my 25th Wendy's Brooke Classic.

I hadn't missed a single one since 1980 and a little bit of pain and discomfort wasn't going to stop me now. At least, that's what I told myself. After officiating only three matches, I stepped off the mat.

I walked over to Brooke High athletic director Dave Cucarese and told him that, no matter how strong my spirit was, my flesh was too weak to allow me to continue. If I tried to "tough'' it out, it wouldn't help my physical problems and it certainly wouldn't have been fair to the wrestlers in this highly competitive tournament. Fortunately, Dave was able to find a replacement. As for me, I found my way to the emergency room.

That was where I learned I needed hernia surgery, which meant no officiating until the end of January or early February. I must admit I wasn't all that excited by the diagnosis but on Dec. 27 - Merry Christmas! - the surgery was successfully performed by Dr. David A. Ghaphery. I have nothing but the highest praise for Dr. Ghaphery and his professional staff. During my convalescence at home, my wife Peggy was very supportive and made a great homebound nurse. Nevertheless, I began feeling sorry for myself since I was looking at more than a month without officiating. I went to the bookshelf in search of comfort and found the following inspirational poem that lifted me out of my melancholy.

Think Positive!
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don't
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't
You can almost bet you won't
If you think you'll loss, you've lost
For out in this world, we find
Success is deep in a person's will
It's all in your state of mind

If you think you're outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise
You need to be sure of yourself
Before you can win the prize

Battles in life are not always won
By the stronger or faster man
And sooner or later the person who wins
Is the one who THINKS he can!

-Author unknown

To all you Ohio Valley coaches out there - and with apologies to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: I'LL BE BACK!
Whether you like it or not.
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Updated March 25, 1999