West Virginia Wrestling

WEST VIRGINIA MAT THOUGHTS

by Dr. Bill Welker

... On The Power of Perseverance

I once wrote a poem that talked about the second and third string athletes who never gave up and never missed practice. The title of the poem is "The Championís Champion."

Unfortunately, what we often see today are athletes quitting sports because they didnít make the varsity squad. To make matters worse, many parents condone such behavior. Allow me to demonstrate to you why such attitudes are contrary to building character and mature adults.

I knew a junior high athlete who went out for the football in seventh and eighth grades. He did have one physical problem though; he only weighed 75 pounds. But that didnít stop him from trying out for defensive middle (or nose) guard. Needless to say, he did not fair out too well in that position. In fact, he wasnít very good at any spot on the squad. During his two years on the middle school squad, he only entered the game if the score was 40 to nothing, either way. Still, he was an inspiration to his teammates. Hereís why.

At the beginning of every practice, the team would depart from the bus and run two laps around the perimeter of the field (approximately one mile). Our boy was always first over the finish line. And the coach often had him lead the warm-up and finish-up exercises, because he never missed a practice session.

On those rare occasions when he did get in the game at his nose guard position, he would be dragged by his much larger opponent until one of his teammates assisted in making the tackle. That was the extend of his glory days on the gridiron, but his coach never forgot him and his perseverance. He often mentioned the young ladís name years later when some talented football player was loafing at practice or during competition.

Does such dedication pay off when at the time it seems so futile? You betcha!

This boyís junior high football coach and I had the extreme pleasure of applauding him at a recent sports banquet. You see, he was being inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for his many achievements as a lightweight wrestler.

Itís funny, he often talks about how amazed he was with some matmen on his team, who came to every practice but never wrestled a varsity match. He says, "If I were them, I think I would have quit... " not realizing that he was one them in football.

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.
-- Louis Pasteur


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