West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Wrestling, Life and Fairness

Life is not always fair. However, if there is an athletic contest that exemplifies the closest proximity to this elusive commodity known as fairness, it has got to be wrestling!

To begin with, what other sport offers boys of various shapes and sizes the opportunity to compete on the varsity level and gain state and national recognition. Secondly, the first team wrestlers are not picked or selected by the coaches. They have to earn their positions on the squad through the process of practice "wrestle-offs" for every weight class. I can not think of a more valid approach for determining varsity performers. Thirdly, even in competition, the official-to-wrestler ratio is much better than other sports (football, basketball, hockey, etc.). For the mat sport, there is usually one referee overseeing only two wrestlers. Furthermore, during tournament action, there is often two officials for each match.

Thus, inequities are kept to a minimum in wrestling. Now don't get me wrong; errors do occur, even in the best of circumstances. But then people are humans (including referees), and everybody makes mistakes at times. Nonetheless, wrestling is that one pure sport which comes closest to that important value referred to as "fairness."

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Updated September 22, 1998