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Hot Corner: First impressions go a long way

By Rich Palzewic
Sports editor

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Such was the case when I met with De Pere volleyball coach Stephen Gladwell and the ladies on his team.

From my perspective, I had mixed results, but it had nothing to do with the quality of Gladwell and the girls – it was entirely from my doing.

I had never met coach or any of the team members for that matter, but I could tell immediately that they were a nice group. I met with them before a recent practice for a preview and to inform them that The Press was moving into De Pere. They genuinely seemed excited about the move and the introduction video I was planning to do.

When I said “It’s nice to meet you,” they all responded in unison, “It’s nice to meet you, too.”

That’s a great group of ladies. I would reckon that Gladwell didn’t have them practice that before I showed up.

After a two-minute spiel on what they were to do for the video, I lined the girls up in a single-file line and started recording with my phone – that’s when my blunder occurred.

I must preface this with the fact that I’ve predominantly covered Bay Port during the last three years for the paper. Yes, I’m making an excuse for myself.

I had practiced in the car on the 20-minute drive to the high school with my daughter on what to say, but apparently, my mouth hadn’t caught up with my brain.

Starting the video, I said, “I’m here with your 2018 Bay Port volleyball team, starting with the sophomores.”

The first young lady, Jazlyn Lohman, gave me a blank stare and a small smile – others soon had the same confused look on their face. Pretty soon, everyone was laughing, as I realized this was at De Pere High School, not Bay Port. We all had a good laugh, and I apologized profusely. I’m sure I turned six shades of red and hung my head, too.

After the commotion had settled down, I started recording again, and this time got it right by saying, “your 2018 De Pere volleyball team.”

After Lohman and the second sophomore, Brianna Geurts said what they were supposed to, a maintenance worker on the other side of the gym sounded like they were using a jackhammer, so we had to stop – and laugh – again.

We finally got it right on the third try.

It wasn’t quite the beginning I was looking for, but maybe with a few game stories and senior spotlights, everyone will forgive me.

Here’s to a great year ahead for the 2018 De Pere and Bay Port High School volleyball teams.

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