West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

…on Life's Regrets

Life can be full of regrets.

We all have made many mistakes in our lives -- from our childhood to adulthood. Some were big; some were small.

There were those errors of our youth that we would rather not tell God, if he did not already know. All we can do is ask for forgiveness, go from there, and not repeat the same acts of stupidity.

Since third grade, my life evolved and then revolved around the mat sport. From elementary to high school, all my thoughts dealt with wrestling, not academics. Boy, did I pay for it dearly in college.

Then I was blessed. My senior year in college I was reunited with my high school sweetheart, Peggy Jean. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, other than my parents and grandparents. Peggy Jean was the impetus behind me redirecting my life in a positive way.

It was my loving parents and grandparents who taught me how to become a man. From that point on, it was my wife Peggy Jean who taught me how to devote my adult life to our marriage, our children, and my students in the classroom and on the wrestling mats.

To digress a bit, I have received very few letters over the years from individuals who suggested I not write about family experiences. Each time, I was reminded of something I learned in my undergraduate composition class at Pitt. Write about what you know and personal experiences. I think I'll stick with my astute professor's advice.

With that said, I want to again thank my wife of 35 years for her love, wisdom, and support throughout our marriage. During my 10 years of coaching the mat sport, Peggy Jean was the perfect mat mentor's wife. She knew how to build me up when I was down, and never allowed me to become "too full of myself" when successes in coaching came my way. She always kept me on my toes, and still does.

Now back to my regrets. In my entire life, I did have one personal athletic disappointment. It was my last wrestling match in high school, which was the 1965 112-pound Pennsylvania state championship finals at Penn State.

I had my opponent beat, starting from the down position in the third period. Having easily escaped earlier in the match, all I had to do was escape one more time, and the match was mine.

As it turned out, I hesitated, was held down the entire third period, and ultimately lost the bout by riding time. It was a disheartening defeat, and all my fault.

In retrospect, I realize how fortunate I have been throughout my lifetime if that was my only major regret. Who do I have to thank? Of course, God and family.

So, folks, ignoring any criticisms (past or future), I will never regret sharing with my readers personal family chronicles that are inspirational in nature.

Have a good day. And don't ever forget to hug your mom, dad, spouse and children.

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