WEST VIRGINIA MAT THOUGHTS
by Dr. Bill Welker
... on Advice for Young Wrestling Officials
This commentary pertains to wrestling's "Mr. Fall Guy"--the official.
This man has endured more verbal abuse than Fred Sanford's sister-in-law, Esther.
Furthermore, he has been called everything from blind to the male off-spring of Lassie.
It is because of such intimidations that many qualified enthusiasts have chosen not enter the
officiating business. So, let me now give some heavy advice to our younger referees who are
filled with self-confidence, zeal, and a desire to improve the mat sport. If you really want to
succeed, never neglect these "Five Statutes for Competent Officiating:"
The final rule brings to mind a true and unfortunate anecdote. I have a friend who was an
excellent referee. However, he possessed one "tragic flaw"--a zest for officiating perfection.
After each match, he would stay by matside looking for
constructive criticism from the coaches, but receiving only ridicule from the fans. Sad to say,
this official began to take them seriously, and he left the refereeing ranks. Hence, wrestling lost
a fine gentleman, a man of integrity, and an individual whose knowledge of the official's duties
- 1. Your primary concern is the safety of the
- 2. Know your rulebook by heart.
- 3. Remember, wrestling is an event filled with
personal judgment. Make your decision and
- 4. Don't allow the "bleacher officials" to get to
you. There's no place for "rabbit ears" in this
- 5. When a dual meet or tournament has concluded,
conjure up a quick disappearing act.
In sum, live by the aforementioned "Five Statutes for Competent Officiating" and you'll always
enjoy this line of work.
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Updated August 4, 1997