InterMat Reads: A Wrestler's Curse

Dr. Bill Welker has plenty to share with the amateur wrestling community.

The former wrestler/coach/official has been generous in sharing his knowledge and experience about the sport over the decades. Welker produced the classic instructional DVD titled The Pancake Takedown Series ... and continues to share his insights into wrestling in ongoing ways, as co-host with his son on The Rick Welker Show radio broadcast, and in his own "Mat Talk" column which appears in every issue of Wrestling USA magazine.

If that weren't enough, Welker has found time to write books about the oldest and greatest sport. authored The Wrestling Drill Book , the classic instructional which earlier this summer earned an award at the 2019 Independent Press Awards Program. Just two years ago, Welker shared his life story on and off the mat in his 2017 memoir, A Sparrow's Spirit, which was declared winner in the sports category by the Beverly Hills Book Awards judges.

Now Welker shares his passion for wrestling with a brand-new novel, A Wrestler's Curse, now available from RoseDog Books.

Meet Bill Welker

Welker -- widely known in the wrestling community as Billy -- was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania -- coal country -- where he was introduced to wrestling in third grade. He won a PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) state title in 1963, following in the footsteps of his older brother Floyd (1959 champ) and a cousin Harold who won his PIAA crown at the Keystone State's very first state championship in 1938. Welker went on to be a teacher for 40 years, as well as serve as a wrestling coach and wrestling official, and was involved in crafting the rules for the sport.

For all his contributions to wrestling, Welker has been welcomed into a number of wrestling Halls of Fame, including the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, and National Wrestling Hall of Fame, West Virginia Chapter.

Meet Jacob Christian, star student-athlete

A Wrestlers Curse tells the story of Jacob Christian, a high-achieving young man in the classroom and in wrestling. On top of that, Jacob was "raised right" by loving, supportive parents who have instilled in him a strong moral compass, a well-developed spiritual sense, and sincere empathy for others.

Oh, and Jacob has been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which the novel describes as "an emotional anomaly that causes one to fixate on personal matters, be it positive or negative."

As A Wrestler's Curse lays out in its opening pages, Jacob's father -- a former wrestler himself -- signed him up for youth wrestling in fifth grade. "Jacob -- having OCD -- took the sport very seriously," according to the novel, absorbing every word of his coaches' instructions, keeping a journal, and being passionate about drilling ... all key ingredients to his success in the sport.

Welker has first-hand experience with OCD.

"I've had OCD all my life," Welker told InterMat. "It's not curable. I'd describe it as being both a blessing and a curse. In terms of a blessing, it helps me make sure to stick with a project until it is completed. As a curse, well ... it can sometimes lead to negative thoughts."

"I was blessed to have had a great therapist who helped me through it."

"Writing is like wrestling"

Bill Welker has been writing about wrestling for 45 years, beginning with the "Mat Talk" column for Wrestling USA magazine. He started work on his first book -- The Wrestling Drill Book -- in 2003. Even though A Wrestler's Curse is his first novel, Welker brings a lot of writing experience -- and wrestling knowledge -- to this new book.

"Writing is like wrestling," said Welker, who now lives in Wheeling, West Virginia. "John Irving (former wrestler and author of the best-selling novel The World According to Garp) said that his wrestling background helped him with his writing. It's like drill work."

"I've always thought that whenever you write about something, you should have a deep knowledge of the subject," according to Welker., who said he did considerable research for A Wrestler's Curse, especially concerning the various gyms and arenas where the wrestling action takes place.

"I really enjoyed writing A Wrestler's Curse. Even though I had the ending figured out before I really started writing it, ideas came to me as I was putting it together, taking the story in different directions."

Take the journey with Jacob Christian…

A Wrestler's Curse takes the reader along the journey of Jacob Christian's life in wrestling and in the classroom as a youngster, high school student, and in college ... taking on the "coming of age" challenges that just about anyone can relate to in their own lives. The outcomes are sometimes amusing, sometimes heartbreaking ... but always genuine, and seemingly true to the main character's strong moral character. All that makes this young adult novel appropriate for most junior high and high school-age readers.

What's more, A Wrestler's Curse is especially compelling for wrestlers and other young athletes. In addition to plenty of realistic, on-the-mat action, the book takes readers inside wrestling rooms and at competitive venues at the high school and college level to deliver a strong you-are-there perspective.

Rob Koll, head wrestling coach at Cornell University, described A Wrestler's Curse as "an inspirational tale on confronting the various aspects of growing up and accepting responsibility for one's actions in life. It is a battle between a boy's human nature and his spiritual beliefs."

Bob Ferraro, founder and executive director of the National High School Coaches Association, weighed in with his thoughts on Welker's novel, saying, "A Wrestler's Curse takes you on a journey on how some obstacles were overcome to achieve goals in both wrestling and life. A must-read for the wrestling community and those who love the thrill of competition."

A Wrestler's Curse is available for purchase via Amazon. Individuals seeking a signed copy of Welker's new novel may email him at


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