West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on a Letter to an Official-Father

When my boys wrestled in high school, I received a very kind letter from Harold E. Murray, a wrestling enthusiast from New Cumberland, West Virginia.

As a father of a wrestler, he wanted to know how I felt officiating when my sons were wrestling. Well, now I would like to share the answer with all my readers.

In previous columns, I have often said that being a wrestling parent is a very personal affair. For me, it is no different, except that I can't "cheer" (at least, not openly). I must say it has been very difficult to do at times.

Imagine sitting in the bleachers and watching your son wrestle, without being able to shout and scream for him. Furthermore, imagine the referee making a close call against your son, and again you are unable to voice your disapproval.

Finally, imagine your son winning or losing a very important match, and rarely having the opportunity to congratulate or to console him minutes after the match.

If you can imagine any of the above, then you are beginning to get a better idea of what I go through when my sons wrestle. But don't misunderstand me; I chose to officiate and I have never regretted my decision.

Moreover, my sons understand my position and know that I deeply share both their triumphs and defeats with them. Just like most other parents, I love my children very much and care for their well being.

In closing, I do have one confession to make. As an assistant referee during tournament competition years ago, I have upon occasion furtively glanced toward my sons' mats (quickly, mind you) to see how they were doing.

Yes, it's very trying, at times, being an official and a parent, too.

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