West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Wrestlers Competing for the Love of the Sport

I have mentioned many times in the past, wrestlers compete for the love of the game. Without question, this fact is true because there are no financial rewards associated with the mat sport. The best these young matmen can hope for is a college scholarship if they are good enough.

Maybe this is not so bad. At least, they will be motivated to study in college since no pro scouts will be trying to entice them into leaving school before graduation. And to me, nothing is more important than a quality education.

Let's consider another thought. Do you really want your son to be a professional athlete in today's sports world? After all, many have become spoiled "prima donnas" by an overabundance of easy money and the inability (or immaturity) to handle it properly--often sadly polluting their bodies and minds with drugs or gambling away much of their fortunes. Oh, they truly have the natural talent to compete in the pro ranks, but frequently not the common sense to accept this gift from God with humility and wisdom. Now in my opinion, integrity and moral values are nowhere to be found in many of today's professional athletes--only avarice. And because of this greed, they ask for outrageous salaries (and get them!)--and some won't even sign autographs for their youthful fans without financial compensation.

Also, our society has certainly lost perspective regarding pro athletics. Afterall, they are only games that children enjoy playing. And professional sports surely are not going to change the destiny of mankind. I believe the following comparisons will help to further strengthen my point.
* If a schoolbus driver (approx. annual salary--$20,000) makes a mistake, forty children could be injured or killed.
* If a commercial airline pilot (approx. annual salary--$100,000) commits an error in judgment, 300 people could fall to their deaths.
* If the President of the United States (approx. annual salary--$250,000) pushes the wrong button, millions of individuals around the globe could be annihilated.
* If Barry Bonds (approx. annual salary--over $7,000,000 ) strikes out, what happens? Barry Bonds strikes out--and nothing else!

Now you tell me. Who has the least responsible position in our society? Though some of you may not appreciate the point I am making, we all know the answer to this question.

Oh yes, wrestlers do not get paid for all their hard work. But what they do learn from the mat sport are positive values that will remain with them throughout their lives. Human characteristics that will assist them in becoming responsible, decent, mature adults. They know that success is not measured in dollars, but in maximum effort--be it physical or intellectual in nature. As for me, I would rather see my sons wrestle for Harvard than play football for Miami!

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Updated November 6, 1997