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<p>Arguably one of Otterbein basketball's biggest fans, Jerry Bale supports his team at one of the last home games of the season.</p>
Arguably one of Otterbein basketball's biggest fans, Jerry Bale supports his team at one of the last home games of the season.

Otterbein super fan Jerry Bale still a baller at heart

Players and coaches alike say Bales's basketball skills and commitment to the team are impressive

Jerry Bale, otherwise known as "super fan Jerry," is someone who attends home games, practices, and shootarounds for the Otterbein basketball team. 

Bale is not part of the coaching staff, but his love for Otterbein is something that drives him to help the basketball team any way he can. This includes rebounding for the team, giving players wisdom, and inspiring people with his work ethic

Bale was a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan and Ohio State University. His wife was an Otterbein graduate. He felt a passion for Otterbein very quickly and would find ways to sneak into the Otterbein basketball gym to get his shots up for the day. 

One day he was tapped on the shoulder and the then Assistant Athletic Director Connie Richardson gave him a lifetime complimentary pass to the Rike Center for his 70th Birthday. He became a regular at the gym and helped the Otterbein basketball team any way he could. 

Basketball Head Coach Andy Winters said, “He is somebody who when I see him it makes my day seem a little bit better, so I just think he is a friend and he loves Otterbein and because of that I think our basketball program is more about bringing our community together."

Associate Coach Matt Winters used the term “selfless” when talking about Bale.

“Jerry would spend his time rebounding, giving words of encouragement to our players and would always come to our home games and he would be seated right next to our bench so he was one of the guys who would give fist bumps to the players as they walked back to the huddle,” said Winters. 

Players, Brennan Rains and Cam Evans are some of the many people who have developed a relationship with Bale and gave him a framed picture of Rains, Evans, and Bale. “It's also hanging on my living room wall. It means everything to me; it means friendship and acceptance,” Bale said.

On game days Bale wears an Otterbein jersey with the number 12 on it, which means a lot to the relationship of basketball player Brennan Rains. 

“I would say we are good friends, he even will come and rebound for me even though sometimes I don't even ask to do it, he just does it out of the kindness of his heart and that's something I believe we all appreciate on the team,” Rains said. 

Bale has continued to this day to shoot hoops around the Rike Center to serve as an example that really inspires the players on the team. “Jerry even when he is all dressed up, he is back here on the back courts shooting, making mid-range shots, even being able to move around like that and still have a passion for the game to want to keep playing I think that definitely should inspire all of our team,” Evans said. 

As the season comes to an end, Jerry Bale's support for Otterbein men's basketball has left a lasting impact on its players.

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