West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

. . . on Being too Proud

In one of the January of 2003's NFL play-offs, the officials publicly admitted to "blowing" a call in the final seconds of the game. Many believe that they cost one team the win.

The officials, being too sure of themselves the concluding moments of the contest, will have to live with this mistake the rest of their lives. Yours truly also made such a blunder. Allow me to explain.

When I first started officiating wrestling in the early '80s, I thought I knew all the answers to all the rules. In fact, I rarely referred to the rule book during competition, and boasted that I knew the old "overtime criteria' (no longer in use) by heart. This pompous attitude proved to be my downfall in one tournament many years ago.

The fatal mistake occurred in the championship finals. The match ended in a draw. At that time, the participants would then wrestle three overtime periods in order to break the tie. Well, the overtime bout concluded without a winner, so the "overtime criteria" came into play, which I had memorized.

Without hesitation, I raised the winner's hand, or so I thought. I did it with such profound confidence that nobody questioned the decision.

The next morning I received a phone call from the loser's coach, who later watched the video of the match. He determined that I had selected the wrong criterion to determine the winner, but it was now too late to do anything about it. My ego was crushed.

Without question, I had learned a painful lesson regarding arrogance. It was truly a humbling experience, especially when I decided to call the parents to inform them of my terrible mistake.

Of course, I expected mom and dad to read me the riot act; and I was going to listen to it, accepting all the shame I deserved. That did not happen. Instead, they were very, very gracious and accepted my apology.

Yes, my friends, pride does precede the fall. My prideful, hasty decision caused me to raise the wrong wrestler's hand. I'll have to live with that act of stupidity the rest of my life. See to it that you do not fall into the same "ego trap" -- or you'll trip as well.

"The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time."
-- Leo Kennedy

Return to the West Virginia Mat Thoughts Index Page
Return to the WV-Mat front page