My Favorite Athlete: Lynn Karijn Geertman
It could well be that you’ve never heard of Lynn Geertman and never knew she was a great athlete. That’s why I thought it was time to write this article about her, because I think she was a great athlete.
Why my Favorite Athlete? Well, for one thing: she is our daughter and I’m very proud of her on what she has accomplished in her Softball career. Secondly she played in the Dutch National Softball Team for several years, so that makes her a Top-Athlete in my eyes.
I probably won’t get all the facts in sequence as they occurred, because I never kept a scrapbook on her achievements. I was part of the beginning, bringing her and her sister to the training every week, but as soon as she left home, it was a bit of a far away from my bed show if you understand what I mean. I followed her career from a distance.
Copyright all photos en text, if not mentioned otherwise: Titia Geertman
Lynn Geertman’s Softball Career started in 1988
Lynn was a late-bloomer so to speak
It all started in 1988 when Lynn – at the age of 14 years old – went on a holiday trip with a befriended couple and their son and daughter. Those people lived in Haarlem, up North in The Netherlands and they played softball for fun and that was Lynn’s first encounter with this sport. We had never heard of Softball before and neither had Lynn.
When they returned home, our friend Rob told us that Lynn was a “natural” and that we should investigate if she could play in a club somewhere. Lynn was very enthousiastic about this sport, so we asked around. We live in (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen) has no real big cities, but in a town some 26km from where we lived, we found the only Softball club in this area, Het Zeeuwse Honk This club had started a junior softball team a decade before and they were glad our girls (yes Lynn’s sister Iske joined too) decided to play ball with them.
Lynn’s trainer with Het Zeeuwse Honk was Huub Mercé
Do you need a new Baseball Bat?
You need a baseball bat in order to play baseball.
Driving my girls to and fro Softball training
So now Lynn had a club where she could play Softball, but the problem was the distance. It’s about a 25 minutes drive from house to club and in our area there’s hardly any public transport like busses. If they had to take the bus, they would arrive 30 minutes too late and they had to leave 30 minutes before the end of the training in order to get home, because the last bus which left 30 minutes after training, stopped about half way, so that was no option.
The only option was that I, mom, drove them to their training each week and so I did. I had to wait there till they were finished and then we drove back home. I did that for about 2/3 years I think. Then we got the eldest daughter a motorbike so they could drive by themselves, but you know how it is….cars are much more convient and faster too, aren’t they.
Lynn and her sister Iske May moving out in 1990
Moving to Haarlem, the ‘home town’ of Softball and Baseball in The Netherlands
In 1990 both girls finished Secundary School (something like Highschool) and were moving out to go study in the big city of Haarlem. Back to their roots, because both were born in Haarlem.
Iske was 19 years old, Lynn however was only 16 years old when she moved out of the house. Young, but she had only one goal and that was playing softball. Her coach Huub said he was out of tricks to teach her more, she needed to take her softball to a higher level.
So both fled the home nest at the same time. They had found rooms in the same house, so I wasn’t too much worried about Lynn because she had her big sister around.
Never did we realize at the time of this first ‘girls moving’ trip, that we had to make these trips a zillion times in the next decades to move the girls from one house to the other. We’re still moving them around when needed, but we have a Ford Transit Van now.
I must say I never had troubles with the kids leaving home at the same time. Although I missed their daily chit chat, I now had my hands free to do the things I wanted to do for a long time.
Lynn playing around with Softball in Haarlem
Different teams, each time a step higher
Lynn started to play softball in Haarlem and has played in different teams during a couple of years. She was a fanatic player, giving all she had, but still being rather young, she often had trouble to control her emotions and it happened more than a few times, that her softball bat and cap took an air trip when things didn’t turn out the way she wanted.
She had to learn to control those emotions and she did at last.
Studying and playing Softball on a high level wasn’t always easy and so Dad drove to Haarlem every time we noticed that she needed one of us, because at that time she was living alone as her sister moved to another city for her studies. I was working at that time and my hubby was a stay at home hubby, so he took most of these ‘comfort’ trips as we used to called them. Most of the time Dad just being there for a couple of days was enough for Lynn.
But she managed fine, switched studies, played softball, having a good time.
Some Action Photos of Lynn Geertman
I don’t think I ever saw Lynn not bruised during her softball career
Softball is not a game for softies
We didn’t see much of Lynn in the years she played the Dutch league, it was softball for her all year ’round with a short summer stop and a short winter stop. If we wanted to see her, we had to go to a game and we sometimes did when it wasn’t too far away.
At one such a game, I couldn’t find Lynn, so I asked around and then it appeared she had been hit by a ball on her eye and was sitting in the dugout. She came over so see me and boy oh boy, I didn’t even recognize my own daugther anymore. Her face was so swollen that her eye was closed, just like if she had just been in the boxing ring getting a knock out punch.
As a toddler and young girl Lynn had always been the one who fell, got injured, got her pants ripped, her knees and elbows open, so the only thing I could come up with to say was: “Oh dear that must hurt terribly, but little has changed since you were born sweetie, I think your birth was the only moment I ever saw you without a bruise somewhere”.
Lynn in the Dutch National Team
Lynn played in the Dutch National Team since 1997
1997: finally the prediction of her first trainer Huub Mercé came true. He always said that when Lynn was going to play softball in Haarlem, she would be in the Dutch National Team in a wink.
Well it wasn’t a wink, it was hard work and putting aside a lot, but she made it and she earned it, a place in the Dutch National Softball team.
That opened a whole new world for her, litterally. She travelled the world a lot, playing European Cups in Belgium, Italy and Tsjechoslovakia (Prague).
Several Training camps in Canada, USA, Australia, Spain, China and World Championships in Japan (1998), Canada (2002) and China (2007). Olympic qualification games where they constantly lost from Italy, until 2007 when they won their ticket to the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijjing.
And that final winning catch was a catch Lynn made. Three Ball, game over! WOW
Ticket to the Olympics of 2008 – The winning catch made by Lynn Geertman
You have to look good, the catch is in the first minute of this video and it was Lynn who catched the ball, which resulted in a ticket to the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. Can I be a proud Mom please?
See also The Dutch Team Celebrating
Yeah!!! We Won – Dutch National Team Softball
Lynn got injured light and severe on several occasions.
I don’t know all the exact years they happened in. The injury in the photo happened in Canada. She had been looking forward to this trip, travelling with the Dutch team and playing International Softball Games. But….I think it was the first game they played, when Lynn got a pitch ball on her finger, splitting it open from top to bottom. Ending up in the Hospital and that was the end of that softball tournament for Lynn. Don’t have to explain how she felt.
Two years later, I think it was Japan or China, don’t know exactly, she called and said: “Mom, it was like Canada happening all over again. Same first game, same inning, same injury”. So that was that.
First really severe injury happened in Prague in 2000. While running from first base to second base, she twisted her leg, resulting in a toring of her posterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her right knee. Game over and months of very intensive physio therapie and walking on crutches. But she came back.In 2003 she injured her (bad) right knee miniscus badly, but she managed to recover from that one too. She’s one tough girl and won’t give up easily.
However the last major mental injury was given to her by her own coach
The Final End of a long Softball Career
So she was choosen in the Dutch National selection for the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Her right knee was playing up a bit and about two months before taking off for a 6 week trainings tour in the USA, Lynn got operated on her knee. She trained as a madman so she could go on this training tour in the USA. In the beginning she trained on her own pace in order to give her knee time to fully recover. Her coach (from the USA) kept saying to Lynn that she definitely wanted her on the team in Beijing. Link to Coverige of USA Trainings Trip
Well, let’s say it didn’t work out quite as it should’ve been. I’m not going into details, but Lynn was ready to go. She got however replaced at the last moment. The real reason was never revealed, but we knew the why exactly, so I’ll leave it at that. Useless to say that her world crumbled down at that moment, but as I said before, she’s a surviver.
Her bio can still be found on the 2008 nbcolympics.com website
You can find her on Lynn on Wikipedia
Well this was my Favorite Athlete’s Story.
You can find Lynn Geertman’s complete Softball Career Bio on the Dutch Softball team website
Lynn in Action
The Aftermath of Lynn’s Top Softball period
She became the coach of a young team for a few years
As someone was wondering what happened afterwards, I mean after what would have been her grand closing finale, I thought to write a little update here.
Lynn stopped being an active softball player, but started to coach a young team in her club Sparks. However after a few years it appears she has inherited one ailment of my family line and that is a decrease of cartilage in our hips. At her young age Lynn is already suffering heavily from that and due to this painful discomfort, she has stopped coaching as of this year.
She’s in constant pain and is now waiting for a hip replacement operation which probably will take place somewhere around May or June. At the age of 39, she’s actually too young for this kind of operation, but there’s no way around.
Update May 15 2013:
Lynn had her hip operation and all went well. She was home within 3 days and is healing quite fast. I’m jealous because I know it will take me a lot more time to recover from my (second) hip operation.
Softball Victory of Lynn’s team Sparks against the US team at the European Cup 2 in 2010 – 7th inning: 6-1 for the US team, just watch and look what happens
Lynn wasn’t playing active softball at that time anymore, due to the fact that her body said: NO MORE after suffering from more than one severe injury, but she never stopped cheering ‘her’ team wherever they have to play the European Cup, mostly in Italy.
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