West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on a Personal Perspective on Stalling

Undoubtedly, the most difficult call for wrestling officials to make is stalling. I know it is for me, and I have been involved with the sport for 40 years. The following anecdote should explain why.

I began officiating wrestling in the early seventies, got away from it, and then started up with refereeing again in 1980. I have enjoyed officiating ever since (although, many coaches may have regretted it). However, many of my colleagues think I'm a bit conservative when it comes to signalling stalling. They might have a point, but at least coaches can expect consistency when I indicate stalling. In jest, fellow officials harass me by saying, "If there's a pulse rate, you won't call stalling." They've also commented, "Welker will signal stalling if the wrestler is knocked out, or hiding in the third row of the bleachers." Cheap shots as far as I'm concerned. Naturally, I always laughed at such ludicrous comments, but all that changed in December 1993. What I'm about to tell you is the absolute truth, and I doubt if I'll ever live it down.

During a championship match at the Brooke Classic, Wrestler A took down Wrestler B, who was facing away from me when the takedown occurred. For the next five seconds, I observed Wrestler B laying on his stomach with his elbows tucked against his ribs. Furthermore, the boy made absolutely no attempt to get to his base and try to escape or reverse his opponent. Never in my years of officiating have I ever witnessed such a blatant display of stalling. Thus, I indicated stalling with all the assertiveness I could muster. And believe me, as I previously stated, he wasn't doing a thing. At this point, Wrestler B's coach came running out on the mat, screaming at me. I quickly stopped the match and was about to penalize the coach when I finally realized that his boy wasn't moving...because he was dazed. Apparently, Wrestler B's chin banged against Wrestler A's knee while being taken to the mat.

Fortunately, Wrestler B was able to complete the match. And needless to say, I felt a bit foolish when I told the scorekeeper to erase the stalling call I made. Of course, this incident was brought up at our next officials' meeting, since a couple of my peers witness the whole situation. It was brutal. They made a point to stress to all 40-plus officials in attendance that "Welker will definitely call stalling, especially if the wrestler is comatose!" Yes, "the evil that men do lives after them..." Gosh, sometimes I really loathe the wisdom of Shakespeare.

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Updated December 6, 1997