Thursday, January 8, 2009

Akron's Chris "Beanie" Wells classy at initial interview

Most of us were told growing up that we should "treat others as we'd like to be treated" or "always make a good first impression." That comes to mind with today's headlines about Akron's Chris Well.

As a reporter, I can usually remember my first impression of a lot of folks. Politicians, community leaders, and athletes for sure.

LeBron James? Very polite high school kid the first time I interviewed him at St. V. He just about broke my hand because he slapped it so hard. Wonderful to talk with.

Sandy Alomar? Great guy .. made me feel very at ease in the locker room by getting me a chair so we could sit and talk. Couldn't have made it easier for me.

Albert Belle? Absolute foul-mouth jerk ... a story that I can't even repeat here.

Get the picture?

First time I met Ohio State's star running back, who today announced he was going to the NFL, he was an absolute gentleman.

We got word in the newsroom that Wells had been selected for an national all-star game, so I took a photographer and we stopped by Garfield High School unannounced to see if we could get a moment with Chris.

Wells was in the middle of a workout .. and having already signed with Ohio State, he certainly could have blown me off or just made me wait. Other lesser players have done that.

Instead, Wells was cordial, polite, and called me "sir" several times. I remember that he was more than happy to give me as much time as I needed, which turned into just a few minutes, but nevertheless, he made a great first impression.

A few weeks later, I was with my kids at the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls, and Wells was there working out. I made a point of telling my middle son, Jake, that the guy lifting weights over there was Chris Wells and he was going to be a big star in college football. A short time later, we passed wells in the hallways, and Chris smiled and said hello.

First impressions .. they say a lot more about someone than their talent can ever project on the field.

1 comment:

vanillacokehead said...

Have my own story about meeting LeBron James.

He was a senior at SVSM - and was signing autographs at Chapel Hill Mall one weekend afternoon.

Talked with him briefly and got a good chuckle from him when I told him, "Even though I went to Walsh, I'm a fan of yours".

(When I went to Walsh in the early 80s, SVSM was their biggest rival; now many around here say it's Hoban).