New van for a No. 1 fan
WORTHINGTON -- Roger Geertsema, the Worthington gymnastics program's "number one fan," was presented with a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette this Christmas by Mick's Repair in gratitude for his hard work, dedication and passion for the program. A regul...
WORTHINGTON - Roger Geertsema, the Worthington gymnastics program’s “number one fan,” was presented with a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette this Christmas by Mick’s Repair in gratitude for his hard work, dedication and passion for the program.
A regular day during the gymnastics season for Geertsema starts early at 8 a.m. at the Armory. He cleans everything from the previous day, and then takes a short lunch break. After that, he returns and continues preparing the Armory for the gymnastics girls.
“I’m a jack of all trades,” he said while describing everything he does, from vacuuming to announcing the meets to rooting on the girls during their practices.
His day ends at 6 p.m. after cheering on the girls during their practice and helping with whatever he can, but his spirit and fervor for the sport has no end.
Geertsema recalled when he was first introduced to the gymnastics program 28 years ago as a sports reporter. At first he was doubtful of the program, and “there was no one around” at the Auditorium - the former home of the program - during the meets.
His doubt soon vanished. “My love for this sport caught fire,” Geertsema said with a smile. He has been the program’s number one fan ever since.
Geertsema has seen the gymnastics program grow since 1988. He gives most of the credit to current coach Joni Reitmeier.
“She was a student at Worthington and, oh, she has build up that program so much,” he said. Today, about 155 girls and five boys are participating in gymnastics.
Geertsema holds the gymnastics team very near to his heart. He suffered a stroke in 2001, and he said the highlight of his recovery was the gymnastics team visiting him at the hospital.
Mick Eggers, owner of Mick’s Repair, met Geertsema through the gymnastics program five years ago.
“My two sons have daughters in gymnastics and we met Roger,” Eggers said. “I know he does an awful lot for the gymnastics program.”
Eggers could see that passion and love, and thought of a life-changing idea while he and sons Kelly and Tyler were working on Geertsema’s old 1985 Dodge Caravan in December.
Geertsema’s old van contained many complications - including a bad door and a battery that would drain often - that were deemed unsafe.
“We were in the process of getting a different van for the shop (and thought) Roger could use the shop’s old van,” Eggers said.
Eggers and his sons cleaned the shop’s van, took off the stickers and added new tires before giving it to Roger, who didn’t have a clue about the generous gift.
“Joni called me up and asked if I could look at something for her. She picked me up and we drove (to Mick’s Repair),” Geertsema said.
Upon arriving at the shop, a few of the gymnastics girls were there and exclaimed “Merry Christmas, Roger.”
Geertsema recalls being confused as to why everyone was smiling and celebrating him, and then he was told the reason why.
“The blue van was sparkling clean, and I was speechless,” he said, smiling.
It was the day before Christmas Eve, and Geertsema couldn’t have asked for anything better.
“They are amazing people, and I’ve said that more than once,” he said.
“You know it’s nice to help somebody great like that out. It worked out for us, and it worked out for him,” Eggers said.
Geertsema can now continue to do what he loves while driving a new and safe vehicle.
“I have 27 miles on it today, and it’s super nice,” he said with a chuckle.