When he was fourteen he started to box after the city opened up a boxing school in the Haarlemmer Houttuinen. “In those days, boxing was important. You had to learn how to defend yourself. Every time you went out with your friends, it always ended in a street-fight”, he laughs. The four years that he boxed, Harm had an occasional match in the Olympic Stadium. Then he stopped for a couple of years until he served in the army where he picked it up again.
During one of those matches he met his future wife. This year they celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary together with their two sons. For Harm sports is in his blood and he passed it on to his children. “The Gebbink men thrive on sports”, he adds. In fact, one of his sons is sport civil servant and works for the municipality of Amsterdam and the other founded Only Friends, the organization, which offers 650 children and young people with a physical or mental disability the chance to do sports in a safe environment. Harm’s grandson, who was born with a disability, enjoys playing soccer at Only Friends, and now at 22 his grandson is taking a course to become an instructor. Harm proudly smiles, “its wonderful to see those children enjoy themselves”.
35 Years on a Race Bike
For Harm, sports never stopped. At 77 Harm is the oldest spinner in the Wednesday morning class, and has one of the best conditions. Throughout his life, sports has kept him fit and healthy. When he was 42 (after he stopped soccer), he bought a race bike and has been cycling ever since. It was a good way for him to relax from his demanding job as a representative for a company that sold car parts throughout Europe. He adds, “I’ve been cycling for 35 years and there is no reason to stop now. You are only as old as you think you are”.