West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

. . . on Officials and Stalling

"When will wrestling officials ever begin to call stalling the same?

This was a question asked by Pete Wolfe, head wrestling coach at Hughesville (PA) Senior High School. Coach John Vrotsos, veteran head wrestling mentor at St. Clairsville High, also asked me the same question at this year's 50th Annual OVAC Wrestling Championships.

The irony of the above query is the fact that Coach Wolfe's comments were made in 1963 -- 40 years ago!

There is a very important message to be stressed here. Maybe no two wrestling officials will ever indicate stalling in the same manner. Allow me to share some very intriguing statistics with you.

In March of 2000, I composed a stalling survey for all junior and senior high school wrestling coaches in West Virginia. Below are two pertinent survey questions and the coaches' responses to them.

These results do not surprise me at all. Stalling is just too subjective to expect consistency among referees. Officials in other sports experience similar dilemmas as well.

Football has its problems with holding, baseball's difficult call is the balk, and basketball is swamped with numerous judgmental infractions (traveling, etc.) with which officials differ. Gosh, I am glad I don't oversee "roundball."

So what's the answer to these problems of athletic official inconsistencies? Sad to say, there is no solution. But there is hope if you are willing to compromise and accept the reality of human nature. It was answered in the second stalling question of the aforementioned wrestling survey.

All sports possess officials, referees, and umpires who are highly regarded by coaches. What is their secret? Quite simply, it is individual "consistency" in reference to their officiating decisions during the rigors of stiff competition -- and fairness.

That, my loyal readers, is all we can ever ask of any "one" dedicated man or woman who dares to don a whistle and black-and-white striped shirt.

"There are only two races on this planet -- the intelligent and the stupid."
-- John Fowles
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