West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on "The Emperor Moth and Struggle"

One of the greatest by-products of our grand sport is learning the importance of "self-reliance." As coaches and parents of dedicated wrestlers, we have often been tempted to lessen the hardships our matmen/sons have had to endure during the physical pains of conditioning, the psychological torments of weight watching, and the pressures of competition. I salute all who have not succumbed to this temptation. By allowing a wrestler to face the obstacles of his sport alone, you help to develop a stronger individual who will grow up better prepared to face the daily struggles of life. I believe that the following true account vividly conveys this message far better than this writer ever could.

"The Emperor Moth"

A man found a cocoon of an Emperor Moth and took it home so he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. One day a small opening appeared. The man sat and watched the moth for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. To the man it appeared as if the moth had gotten as far as it could in breaking out of the cocoon and was stuck. So out of sincere kindness, the man decided to help the moth. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon so that the moth could get out. Soon the moth emerged, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth, expecting that in time the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would simultaneously contract to its proper size. Neither happened. In fact, that little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.


The man in his unwitting kindness and haste did not understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. Thus, the moth would be ready for flight once it gallantly achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Just as the moth could only achieve freedom and flight as a result of struggling, we often need to struggle to become all we were intended to be. Sometimes we wish that God would remove our struggles and take away all the obstacles; but just as the man crippled the Emperor Moth, so we would be crippled if God did that for us. God doesn't take away our problems and difficulties, but He promises to be with us in the midst of them and to use them to restore us, molding us into better and stronger human beings.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Ken Demuth for sharing this inspirational story with me, and ultimately with you.

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Updated February 16, 1998