West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on the Power of Prayer

Kirk Douglas, the famous movie star and a former wrestler, found God late in his life. To him, prayer is man's way of personally communicating with the Supreme Being. One of his friends recently suggested to Kirk Douglas that God does not answer all our prayers. Mr. Douglas quickly and confidently asserted, "Oh yes he does, but sometimes the answer is 'No.'" This rebuttal really hit home to me. As always, allow me to explain.

One of my fondest dreams as an ex-wrestler was to someday become a college coach in the mat sport. The door to this vision quest opened in 1973. I was coaching at Wheeling Central Catholic High School when a friend from Pennsylvania called me. I learned that York College (York, PA) was looking for a new wrestling coach. I applied for the position and was offerred an interview. I spent an entire day touring the institution of higher learning, and explaining my thoughts on coaching collegiate wrestlers to the athletic director. I was really impressed with the campus and the school's educational philosophy.

Upon returning home that night (a Wednesday), I received a phone call from the athletic director. He informed me that I was going to be recommended for the position of head wrestling coach and physical education instructor. My dream was coming true. My wife Peggy and I were so excited, and planning our move. Then came the bombshell. On Friday night (two days later) I received a phone call from the York College's athletic director at 10:30 p.m. There was an uncomfortable inflection in his voice when he informed me that I wasn't getting the job. I was devastated.

As it turned out, another applicant for the position was a close friend of the York College president. Of course, the head man's candidate was awarded the coveted coaching assignment. It was my introduction to the real world, and it truly hurt. And to be quite honest, I thought God ignored my prayers. He didn't; He had other plans for me. I was not to leave the Ohio Valley.

Since that 1973 rejection, I have experienced nothing but golden opportunities locally which I never could have imagined. Everything from educational fortuity to mat sport promotion opened up for me. My blessings were the fine people who took me under their wings and restructured my personal goals in life.

So, don't ever think God ignores sincere prayer, be it athletics or any other area of endeavor. Yes, sometimes because of His unconditional and perfect love for you, the answer to your prayer is a definitive "No!"

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