West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

. . . on True Friendship

Yours truly first shared the above quotation with readers over 15 years ago. Have my thoughts on this subject changed? Not really.

As I look back on my life, I think of my family members when I think of true friendship. After that, the list can be numbered in the single digits -- and for me, the majority of these few friendships are found in the realm of the wrestling community.

What we often find in our lives is that the amount of friends we have is like the following analogy: "Lots of dollars are to lots of friends as few dollars are to few friends." Count your friends when your broke or down on your luck.

There are friends we thought we had (and really didn't), and those we never knew we had. One such friend of mine was Mark Gerrity, a high school underclassman on the wrestling team. Allow me to share our fellowship with you.

Mark Gerrity was a sophomore on our wrestling squad when I was a senior. What he remembered the most about upperclassman Billy Welker was that I would spend time talking to him, as well as other younger wrestlers on the team during practices. Something he felt other senior team-members were above doing.

I never knew this until Mark and I reconnected in the mid '90s. Since then, I have counted Mark Gerrity as one of my closest friends, and biggest supporters. Sad to say, Mark Gerrity, a combat veteran of two Vietnam tours of duty (Semper Fi, Sgt. Gerrity), finally succumbed to agent orange in February of 2000. I will never forget his friendship we shared.

Ironically, I don't remember being nice Mark Gerrity, or anybody during my junior and senior years on the high school wrestling team. As a matter of fact, I can only recollect being very "moody" from watching my weight, and generally very "miserable" due to the grueling practices our esteemed coaches put us through during each-and-every practice. Go figure.

The bottom line: you never know who your true friends really are in life. But always keep in mind, friendship is a rare commodity; so cherish it!

MAT MESSAGE "There has always been a conflict between my head and heart. In my head, I am a realist; but in my heart, I am a romantic idealist."
-- William A. Welker

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