This week's column is probably going to upset a few wrestling people who do not know what it was like for wrestlers in former years. The subject: "Not making weight for a match."
Any time a wrestler comes to a dual meet or tournament and weighs in, there is no excuse for not making weight. If he were too sick or injured, then he should not have showed up and tried to make weight. Let me tell you a lesson I learned many years ago.
Back in my hometown there was a sophomore wrestler who was undefeated during the regular season, a shining star in a very successful mat program. He won sectionals with ease and was destined to win states before his scholastic career was over, and his astute coach knew this.
The night before districts he was two pounds under weight, and the goose hangs high. Unfortunately, at districts weigh-ins, he was four pounds over weight and was disqualified from further competition.
Now this is going to make you hate the coach; the boy did not get his varsity letter that year. Because of this, he was so bitter he never returned to wrestle on the mats again.
Shame on the coach? - Baloney!
So many coaches in various sports will punish the second string athletes to make a point, but not their varsity or "star" members. My coach was not made of such "phony" stuff. He knew all too well when he made that decision that it could (and it ultimately did) cost him and his team a great wrestler.
Listen, we all knew the rule: "If you say you will be down to weight, then you better be there."
The year I won states I was many pounds over weight that Monday before sectionals. My coach said, "Well, maybe you better move up to the next weight class for sectionals." I said, "Coach, I will be on weight for Friday's sectional weigh-ins." He simply retorted, "You better be." I knew what that meant. Even though I was a district champion the year before, and even though I won a prestigious tournament during the season, I knew I would not receive my varsity letter for the year if I were over weight at the sectional weigh-ins.
Of course, I made weight and went on to be a Pennsylvania state champ. But I knew the consequences, up front, and what would be my destiny not making weight.
In my opinion, there are no excuses for not making weight, especially with our new highly-sophisticated weight management program. If you say you are going to wrestle at a certain weight class, be there. It is your responsibility to do so -- for yourself and for your team.
So you wrestlers of this new era who have not made weight one time or another, be thankful it's a gentler, kinder coaching world. But don't be too comfortable regarding your lack of athletic discipline; it will come back to haunt you later.
As a reading teacher for 39 years, there is a sign that I display in my classroom. It reads: "Excuses are like sewers. Every street has one and they all stink."
Let me repeat myself one more time for posterity. If you show up for a meet, there is no excuse for not making weight, period. That's old school, and it produced many, many outstanding individuals in life.
Escapes and Reversals
The wrestler in control or on top is referred to as the offensive wrestler while the wrestler on bottom is the defensive wrestler. Keep in mind, only the defensive wrestler can score an escape or reversal.
The Escape: For the bottom man to score an escape, he must place himself in the neutral position, causing his opponent to lose control. The defensive wrestler may also be awarded an escape going out-of-bounds if his adversary is in-bounds at the completion of the move. The official will indicate one point for the wrestler who earns an escape. The stand-up, forward or granby roll, sit-out turn-in or sit-out turn-out are examples of common escape maneuvers.
The Reversal: The defensive wrestler may procure a reversal by moving from the bottom position, gaining control of his opponent either on the mat or on their feet. Like the escape, a reversal can be obtained crossing the out-of-bounds line if one of the wrestlers is still in-bounds at the completion of the move. The official will indicate two points for a reversal. The switch, side roll, and Peterson roll are examples of common reversal maneuvers. Remember, one match point is given for an escape and two match points are awarded for a reversal.
Q: The bottom man maneuvers to his feet and executes a standing switch, spinning behind and controlling his opponent while both wrestlers were still on their feet. Would the bottom wrestler be credited with an escape or reversal.
A: The referee would award a two-point reversal because the bottom wrestler gained control of his opponent while they were both on their feet.
(Important Note: In the neutral position, if a wrestler employed a takedown move, maneuvering behind his adversary, he would have to bring his opponent to the mat for takedown points to be awarded. Why? It's the rule for takedowns. Go figure.)
OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior
Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Bellaire's Aaron Porter, who is competing at 145 pounds this season as a senior. Porter has a record of 97-42, and could easily break the century mark this weekend at the Shadyside Invitational. The Big Red grappler was a an OVAC Runner-Up last year at 140 pounds. He was also a Sectional Champion and state qualifier. As a student-athlete, Aaron Porter is presently first in his class academically, with a 3.95 grade-point average. Congratulations are extended to Aaron Porter - this week's OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior.
The OVAC Mark Gerrity Wrestling Fan of the Week is CINDY CLEGG, a longtime Bellaire "Big Red" supporter.
The Deaton-Regis Weekly Dual Meet Predictions
Larry Deaton and Jack Regis, two of the Valley's finest mat officials are competing with each other this season, picking the winners of selected weekly matches. This week's dual meets featured matches are Indian Creek at Brooke - 5:00 p.m. (Wednesday) and Beaver Local at Oak Glen - 6:00 p.m. (Wednesday). Deaton picks Indian Creek over Brooke 39-28 and Oak Glen over Beaver Local 39-25. Regis calls Brooke the victor over Indian Creek 31-28 and Beaver Local over Oak Glen 29-26.
"To a friend's house, the road is never long."
(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org)