The current players laughed and hooted at the questionable hairstyles, the enormously clunky kneepads and the horribly unfashionable uniforms of the teams of the past.
But the Germantown girls volleyball team cheered enthusiastically almost every time a picture of coach Diane Harrod came up on the DVD presentation that was part of a reception honoring her 30 years of work at the school.
The presentation was held Oct. 7 following the Warhawks North Shore Conference dual meet championship-clinching win over Grafton and was put together by Harrod's daughter, Kim Harrod Wendt, (former team MVP for her mother).
It came up on a screen that was festooned with yellow and blue balloons and signs on the adjacent pillars that read: "Congrats, Coach Harrod." There was a spread of food that would have rivaled that of any that followed a Major League Baseball game and enough goodwill to cause the negotiators at the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to break into an impromptu display of hugs and high fives.
This just goes to show, that if you hang around long enough and win five or 10 or 14 (as is the case) conference titles, you'll get a party thrown for you.
But in the eyes of a lot of people, it was much more than just a party.
"I'm in the process of hiring coaches," Warhawks Athletic Director Jack Klebesadel said, "and I guarantee you, there probably won't be one of them that makes it to 30 years or have her dedication, will or passion."
"I didn't hear anything about any rumors of retirement (which is a good thing), but we'd like to honor her anyway. They say pictures are worth a 1,000 words, so let's watch her legacy unfold."
And that's when the DVD presentation began.
"Whenever I talk to her (about volleyball), I still hear the same passion, the same energy," said Wendt afterwards. "It's always there." She herself is a coach at Racine Prairie and a teacher in the Racine Unified School District.
And you could see it in Diane Harrod's face that that much was true.
She wore a wry grin when the Warhawks rolled to a striking 25-2 rout of Grafton in the first game and then she bore an exasperated look of "What's going on, here?" as the team lost focus and banged a series of serves into the net in a sloppy 25-14 second game triumph.
Afterward, she happily hugged everyone in sight at the reception, careful not to crush her lovely yellow corsage that she had pinned to her lapel, while her husband and partner in coaching all these years, Bill, was happily shaking hands with all the alumni, parents and coaches.
Bill himself transcends a lot of history at Germantown. Not only has he worked with his wife for decades as her assistant, but he also spent time on the football staff with retiring 42-year veteran Phil Datka, who will have a ceremony of his own following Friday night's football game with Grafton.
To show that it remains just business as usual with these two, Bill could be seen doing a little sweep-up work on the court before the match started.
But the night was about his wife, and she was happy to take center stage.
Not retiring yet
Much to Klebesadel and the players' relief, Diane dispelled any retirement rumors.
"It's been a great year for us because we have a real team," she said, "I enjoy it. I really still do, and I really don't know when I'll retire. It's a year by year thing and depends a lot on the health of my mother, my kids and my family.
"I'll stay as long as the kids are OK with me coaching."
And with that, someone in the crowd called out "We love you, coach."
That much was evident.
30 years and counting
Coach Diane Harrod's career spans 40 years.
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHTS: Harrod's career at Germantown includes 14 conference titles and state tournament berths in 1990, 1992 and 2005. Prior to that, she coached at Milwaukee Madison and led the Green Knights to back-to-back berths at state in 1977 and 1978. Madison won the WIAA Division 1 title in 1977 and was second in 1978, each time flipping positions with Neenah.
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