The East Vision

Kabookie’s brother continues his legacy

Erin Rogers, Staff Writer

One of the faces of the East Grand Rapids community is a man that went by the name of Jimmy Gerken. He was a member of the community that always embodied the pioneer spirit with his positive outlook and lovable personality. The legacy of the Gerken family is something that the East Grand Rapids community holds near and dear to their hearts. Another member of the Gerken family that isn’t as well known is Jimmy’s brother, John.

Athletics is a huge part of the East Grand Rapids culture and  we have been able to develop the program through men like John Gerken.

Jimmy’s brother, John Gerken is the man behind the camera here at East Grand Rapids. Gerken takes pride in filming the football, lacrosse, hockey and lacrosse teams games to upload onto the school’s Hudl account. The film is used to review the game for further improvement and exchanged in preparation for the next game’s competition.  He has been able to capture the many victories and heartbreaking losses of the teams but enjoys every minute of it.

“I really enjoy being involved in the program because the spirit in this community is fantastic and it is something that I love being a part of,” Gerken said.

Gerken has been involved with the program since the early 2000s, back when film exchanges were VCR tapes and had to be done in person. He has been able to develop the technology within the film exchange. Gerken was someone that initiated the online film company, Hudl, into East Grand Rapids.  

“We were the first school in the area to have the program so it took a lot of getting used to, after we figured it out everyone wanted access to it,” Gerken said.

Little by little, schools were buying Hudl for their sports teams because it was much more convenient and everyone was able to access what they needed. The development of Hudl in local schools is credited to Gerken and is something that he still uses today. Gerken sits through countless games in Michigan weather where the heat or the cold for some can be unbearable, but Gerken loves every moment of it.

Mr. Gerken is pulled left and right with games of boys, girls, Junior Varsity, and Varsity sports. He only recently started taking student volunteers to help relieve some of the stress by filming the home games and uploading it themselves. This may relieve some of the stress but, he usually enjoys attending the games himself so he can make sure that the games are being filmed correctly.

“I would have coaches film their own games but, a lot of them just set up the camera, press play, and just walk away from it. That method makes it harder for the coach later to put on Hudl because they have to cut out so much dead time. It also doesn’t allow much focus on the interesting points in the game because it is frozen at the same angle,” Gerken said.

Gerken really puts a lot of thought and time into the athletic program. He has really been able to build the teams with his film and the fact he pioneered the discovery of Hudl. Not, only is he a large part of the athletic program, he still carries on the “pioneer way” with his positive attitude and love for the community.

He plans to be involved with filming as long as he can and has no plans for retiring anytime soon. The Gerken family has truly been a great contribution to the East Grand Rapids community and always set a great example of positivity and a love for our community.

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Kabookie’s brother continues his legacy