West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Memories Lost

In the mid-1980s, the West Virginia State Board of Education dictated that a student could not compete in interscholastic athletics with lower than a "C" or "2.0" average. In my opinion, it completely ignored the significance of memories in one's life!

Please keep in mind, I firmly believe that if a student has performed so poorly in the classroom that he would not be able to graduate, then he should not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. But now, consider the following hypothetical situation, which by no means is an isolated or unrealistic one.

Young John Smith comes from a middle-class family. In school, John is a slightly below-average student, but he does not qualify for any special education programs. However, with much individual effort, John manages to earn C's and D's in his major subjects. Furthermore, he has developed a strong work ethic and will probably be very productive in the adult world. While attending junior high school, John Smith was an excellent wrestler (Note: It could be any sport.), with state championship potential. He truly loved the sport of wrestling and would have made many new athletic friends in high school. But regrettably John Smith can not compete because he has a 1.84 average.

Sad to say, with or without athletic involvement, John's grade-point average would never improve enough to make him eligible. Thus, John Smith has lost one of the very positive aspects associated with his educational experiences--the joy of participating in sports! Of course, I am sure that some of you are saying, "So, what! Make the grade or pay!" Well, maybe it's too much of an unfair price to pay.

Personally, I have numerous high school "chums" who are dedicated professionals, businessmen, and blue-collar workers. Furthermore, I few of them graduated from high school by the "skin of their teeth." But when we occasionally get together, no one talks about high school grades, how much each of us is making, or who has the most education. Instead, we usually remininsce about our high school triumphs and shortcomings in athletics.

In summarizing, I know that the majority of my readers will agree that former high school days bring to mind some of the most nostalgic moments in our lives. Unfortunately, because of the above arbitrary "2.0" ruling, many of today's "borderline" students (with athletic prowess) are being denied the opportunity to fully experience the most enjoyable days of their lives. Granted, old, dusty trophies and medals don't put food on the table, but they do bring back fond memories--and that's pretty important, too.

"When time, which steals our years away,
Shall steal our pleasures, too;
The memory of the past will stay,
And half our joys renew."
-- Unknown Author

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Updated December 5, 1998