West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Wrestling and Pain

"No Pain...No Gain!"

This is a popular expression in weightlifting circles all over the country. I, however, feel it is a more appropriate saying for wrestling.

If there is no fact of life every wrestler must accept, it has to be the reality of "pain." During practice or in competition, the wrestlers are usually confronted with some form of physical agony. And whether it be a bruised rib, a sore shoulder, a sprained ankle, or stubbed fingers, these young men of the mats have learned to deal with pain.

Then there is the mental anguish of defeat after training long and hard to win. Remember, winning or losing in wrestling is a very personal experience, because it's an individual sport. Each youth must go out on the mat by himself and what he does out there is witnessed by everyone. Oh yes, losing is definitely painful to the contestants. So the wrestler has to prepare himself for possible failure and be strong enough to overcome such adversity.

And finally, what about those grapplers who have to watch their weight? Needless to say, this is another facet of wrestling that many of the participants have to face. Without question, "hunger pangs" can be as distressing as a "sucker punch" to the face, and certaining much more lasting if a wrestler has to diet all season.

Is such pain worth it? Of course, the answer to this question will vary, especially from those who have never stepped on the mats. As for me, I can think of three highlights in my life: my marriage, my children, and being hugged by my older brother after winning my first-and-only state wrestling state championship!

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Updated January 18, 1999