West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... On Wrestling Officials' Spouses

Todayís column is a salute to the wives of wrestling referees. Furthermore, I think I will be speaking for the spouses of officials in all sports.

My question to these dedicated wives is Why does your husband do it, especially when you consider the mind-set of contemporary spectators?

The answer is that these men have the ability and fortitude to accept the job, hoping to give the wrestlers the fairest playing field possible. As wives, you have to respect them for their integrity and personal resolution.

So what do the wives have to endure? To begin with, attending dual meets and tournaments, they have to listen to fans maligning and belittling their husbands. It doesnít make for an enjoyable night out.

My wife, Peggy, can attest to this phenomenon. Last year, she had to listen to a man casting profane aspersions my way throughout the entire match. To make matters worse, my grandson, Drew, also heard these degradations. In fact, he asked grandma why the man hated grandpa. She told him not to mind. She hasnít been to a meet since then. I wonder why?

What amazes me are the male spectators who seem to have such a keen grasp of wrestling rules-knowledge. Over the last two decades, I have unfortunately had the opportunity (after a match) to converse with these individuals.

Of course, they were not too congenial regarding my officiating abilities. My only suggestion to them was that they, too, join the ranks of wrestling referees--to improve upon the profession. Thatís the last I heard or saw them. In essence, they are those majority of individuals who ďTalk the talk, but canít walk the walk!Ē

The ranks of officials in all sports are dwindling due to such negative perceptions and comments from the fans. My wife hit the nail on the head with the following observation.

No wonder less and less men and women are considering officiating as an avocation. Who would want to put up the demeaning antics of the growing number of obnoxious fans.

For once, I have to wholeheartedly agree with my wifeís interjection.

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