West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Rick Welker

(Visit: www.pinnedmovie.com)


Pinned is a film that gives viewers an in-depth look at the mindset of America's athletic subculture: scholastic "folk-style" wrestling. It focuses on the dedicated work-ethic and lifestyle of two young wrestlers - Matt and Lance, and their quest to achieve the goal of winning a state wrestling championship.

During the course of a grueling wrestling season, we witness the many physical and emotional ordeals that each wrestler must confront. Their struggles in the practice room and during the rigors of competition are nonpareil, while also possessing the self-discipline of "controlling their weight" for each and every meet. Basketball and football players could never begin to understand the legion of sacrifices that wrestlers have to endure.

The documentary vividly demonstrates that wrestling involves the entire family. Mothers lament over their sons "losing weight." Fathers push their sons to strive for athletic perfection; sometimes losing perspective. And one aspect is definitely displayed throughout the film; wrestling is a very "personal" family affair. Whether it's a win or a loss, parents internally experience the same successes and failures as their sons - be it the ecstasy of winning or the gut-wrenching devastation of defeat.

Viewers are made aware of the fact that wrestling coaches are also a unique breed of athletic mentors. Why, because they are dealing with athletes with an extremely unique and deeply competitive psyche. Then there are parents, who occasionally overstep their bounds by telling the coaches how to coach. As all astute coaches know, they must periodically deal with dads who are living their lives through their sons. It is part of what wrestling coaches have to harbor - even with championship programs.

Both Matt and Lance finish their senior year qualifying for states. One does not place, but the other wins. One wrestler came from a school that expected nothing but championships, while the other wrestler's school expected nothing but doing your best. One wrestler was pushed by his parent to win, while the other wrestler's parent was more concerned about his physical and mental well-being.

Pinned is a film that makes you think beyond winning and losing, whether it pertains to wrestling or any other sport. After watching this brilliantly produced athletic documentary, you must ask yourself one question:

Who learned more from his scholastic wrestling experience regarding the positive virtues of succeeding in the adult world - Matt or Lance?

You decide.

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