West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Amateur vs. Professional Wrestling

Wrestling is one of the only sports in which there are very few similarities between the amateur and professional ranks.

To be honest, professional wrestling is basically a "show," an exhibition involving highly- skilled stuntmen.

Regrettably, too many uninformed people perceive high school and college wrestling as off- springs of studio "rassling." As a result of this misconception, numerous parents cringe when their son brings home his first pair of wrestling shoes. Well, let me give you some straight facts.

To start with, a multitude of rules have been established in amateur wrestling that stress the safety and and well being of the participants. Holds that can be harmful to the wrestlers in any way are either illegal or stipulated as potentially dangerous and are stopped immediately. Furthermore, even acts of unnecessary roughness can result in disqualification. And finally, since amateur wrestlers must be in top shape to compete, injuries are kept to a minimum.

In contrast, many of the pro grapplers I've seen on TV (accidentally turning to the wrong channel) have appeared a bit overweight if not downright obese.

Now, don't get me wrong. If you're looking for an act with brightly-colored costumes, feigned violence, and a circuslike environment, then the professional wrestling ring is for you.

However, if you are interested in a scientific sport, with artistic value, that has evolved over thousands of years (being part of the ancient Greek Olympic Games), I sincerely recommend the atmosphere of amateur wrestling at all levels of competition.

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Updated June 2, 1997