Veteran Geerdts makes sports sound good


It is a Friday morning at Garsfontein High School. The RNews team is recording one of its videos for the Rugby World Cup.

Arnold Geerdts is at the helm of affairs and with every quip, quick chat and well-thought-out question everyone feels at ease in no time – from a top Springbok center and a well-known sports psychologist to sponsors and a journalist who would much rather his computer keyboard does the talking for him.

But how else? After all, Geerdts is a professional man of stature, a sports program leader who thrives in front of a TV camera.

It is now more than 40 years since his journalism career began in 1981 at a community newspaper. Since then, he has made pit stops at the SABC and SuperSport, while his voice has been heard in the broadcast of 500 Super Rugby matches, almost 100 rugby tests, a host of major golf tournaments and a bunch of Tour de France races.

Not to mention the times he shared a microphone with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, ex-pres. Nelson Mandela, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player did not share.

At the age of 61, he can look back on a career that can certainly be compared to the Springboks’ forward play in the latest test against the All Blacks: Fearless and on the front foot.

Still, he admits that the nerves are still gnawing at times.

“I have persisted all these years: When the butterflies stop swirling in my stomach, I will, as it were, put the microphone away,” Geerdts told RNews.

For the experienced media man, nerves are not a bad thing; rather, it indicates a willingness to give his best with every interview and program management session. After all, every studio guest and conversation is equally important.

Of course, there was also a humorous mistake.

Shortly after he started working at SuperSport, he was asked to handle the Proteas’ first cricket tour to Australia.

Geerdts – who cut his teeth in broadcasting at the SABC – almost welcomed the viewers to Top Sport rather than to the pay channel, but luckily he was able to sort things out in no time and he was a member of the SuperSport team for 27 years .

His faith and his family are the two biggest pillars on which his career rests.

“My faith in Christ is very important to me and I cherish my family. Spending quality time with them makes me live with love and gratitude.”

He is also a familiar face at some of South Africa’s biggest road races and in addition to his own spectacular top marathon time of 2:29, he has already successfully attempted the Comrades 11 times.

Geerdts keeps a careful record of the kilometers he has trotted in his sneakers and by December he should reach the 200,000 km mark.

But does broadcasting help a little with the running?

“It’s actually the other way around. My Comrades participation helped me to cope with the pressure of broadcasting. If you have successfully tackled a race of 90 km, you see a chance for any challenge.”

RNews will now employ Geerdts to analyze and comment on the World Cup matches. A video of his input on the past weekend’s matchups and what to expect in the coming week will be posted on the news website every Monday.

Who does he think will walk away with the World Cup laurels?

“The Springboks,” is his immediate answer.

After all, Rassie Erasmus is a tired prospect, Siya Kolisi’s return has given the team a boost and they know how to win World Cup matches in France.

And with Arnold Geerdts part of RNews’s World Cup team, every scrum, lineout and pipe session can now also sound good.