West Virginia Wrestling

WEST VIRGINIA MAT THOUGHTS

by Dr. Bill Welker

On Wrestling, Discipline, and Loyalty

All three of my son wrestled for Wheeling Park High School under the direction and astute tutelage of veteran Head Coach Edward "Buzz" evans. I thank Coach Evans and his entire "Patriot" wrestling staff fo positively molding my sons minds, especially inthe area of "loyalty!"

I am so very proud of, and deeply love, all four of my children Bill (the father of Andrew), Rick, Tiffany (the mother of Nathan), and Dan-E, my youngest son. They are good people, and for that I can thank my wonderful wife, Peggy. She was there raising them when I was coaching or officiating wrestling. She did a great job, and is continuing to do so with our ten grandchildren.

But now I need to talk specifically about Dan-E. And Ricky. Daniel is a U.S. Army Sergeant stationed in Germany, while Staf Sgt. Richard Welker, a former U.S. Marine "DI," is presently serving the Corps in Paris Island as a military paralegal.

Dan E. and his wife Mary Jo have three beautiful children Alaya, Shanen, and Vander. Ricky and Michelle are the loving parents of the "C's" Cory, Chase, Camden, Cheyenne, and Canon.

Wrestling has taught my two sons the importance of hard work, discipline, and dedication to the team. They have internalized these positive traits as productive adults and parents in our society, as well as in their military positions.

To digress a bit, I was a product of the sixties, but by no means an "activist." While numerous University of Pittsburgh classmates were protesting the Vietnam Conflict on the streets of Oakland, I was busy attending classes. After all, my middle-class parents paid their hard-earned dollars for me to study, not to publicly demean the honor of our military men overseas.

Moreover, I had friends (many of them wrestlers) from the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region who were fighting for the sake of someone else's freedom. A freedom that to this day includes less than half of the world's population.

So now two of my sons are in the active service of their country. And wrestling taught them loyalty to their family, friends, community, and country. But even more, they possess a true allegiance that transcends our national borders, to the boundaries of all those who long for individual rights.

Dan-E. has recently received word that his unit will be taking part in the troop rotation to Iraq. When his older brother, Ricky, learned of this, he then requested a transfer to Iraq. As much as it concerns their parents, we support them, knowing they are doing the right thing in attempting to spread worldwide freedom and democracy.

Wrestling, the purist of sports, taught my sons to be individuals dedicated to their fellow man. Thank you, God, for my wonderful boys, Please protect them and all our servicemen stationed on foreign soil.

I am sure there may be some readers who disagree with my family's sentiments regarding the defense of global freedom. That's okay. It is one of America's cherished liberties.

However, you must never forget to thank young men like Dan-E and Ricky, many of whom gave their lives in present and past wars. Because of their devotion to country, we can continue to "freely" voice out thoughts and opinions.


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