West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on True Heroes

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1994 Edition) defines the term hero as follows:

"Hero or Heroine" -- a man or woman admired for his or her achievements and personal qualities.

I am concerned about some of the so-called societal and athletic heroes of which American's youth are exposed to today. But what saddens me more is the fact that many of our youngsters have to go far beyond their own neighborhoods to find people they idolize.

I can honestly say that all the heroes I have had throughout my life were individuals I knew personally. To my fortune, I had the opportunity to observe my role models in action -- both in word and deed. They say home is where the heart is. Let me take that a step further; it's also where the true heroes and heroines are. My icons were my mother and father, grandmother and grandfather. Yeah, I know, corny; but the truth. And guess what, the hometown idols grew. First there were my elementary and high school teachers and coaches; men and women who continued to mold my character and personality. I could name names, but it's only important that I know and revere them. To you, they would have no relevance.

Then I moved to the Ohio Valley in 1970, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Guess what, more heroes and heroines. Now I can name names because many will remember.

As a young teacher in the early 1970s, I had the privilege to work with my local pedagogical heroine, Lynn Holderman. Ms. Holderman's former students will never forget her because Lynn was truly a master educator. I learned so much from Lynn Holderman, a sincere care-giver to children. A celebrated teacher who always stressed academic excellence, she also had total control of her classes. All her proteges loved her.

As for area wrestling personalities who influenced me, George Kovalick, Bill Hinegardner, Ron Mauck, John Vrotsos, and Bill Van Horne (a premiere wrestling writer) immediately come to my mind. They were, and still are, my Ohio Valley sports heroes.

Yes, I was very fortunate throughout my entire life. I had the luxury of knowing and learning first-hand from all my heroes and heroines.

My advice to contemporary adolescents is watch less TV, spend less time on the computer, and begin listening more carefully to those who care about you and your future. Then, and only then, will you understand the "right stuff" that true heroes and heroines are made of. In reality, they're much, much closer than you could ever imagine.

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