In the chaotic classroom of C212, a teacher and coach at Buffalo High School, challenges a student to a game of checkers. The student has tried countless times to beat the skilled checkers player that they call their teacher. They sit at an empty table and lay the board out in front of them. The battle has begun. As the game progresses a crowd of onlookers gathers around to watch the two players battle it out. Without either knowing the outcome of the match both knew what was on the line.
For Gerry Bakke it was a matter of pride, to know that he was still the checkers master, for the student, she just wanted the $100. A substantial amount of money, but one that had almost never been cashed out.
“I always said that if someone can beat me once in checkers it was luck, but very few had the skill and determination to beat me twice. For those who beat me twice I would give them $100,” said Gerry Bakke.
After a heated battle, the crowd stood in shocked silence… the student had won triumphantly! For only the second time in the student’s career had she beat Bakke, even after trying to beat Bakke twice for over more than 100 games. “There are rumors that she cheated, and took pieces off the board. I didn’t notice since my vision was going at the time, but I trusted her and let her enjoy her win,” laughed Bakke.
“Very few times have I been beat twice. For those who did beat me I gave them the $100 and congratulated them, but never, and still to this day, have I ever been beaten twice in a row,” he proudly states.
Bakke lived for making relationships with other people. He participated in all kinds of activities and always kept his students involved in and outside the classroom. He lived to teach and did that, not only through school work, but with fun activities like checkers. He taught his kids that almost anyone could be bought off with money and that people would do almost anything for money. He loved to come to school because he knew everyday something new and awesome would happen. He always had fun with his work because he had created those relationships with his students and could share those moments with them.
Since Bakke has retired from teaching, he still lives on his dream of becoming one of the best checker players. Bakke has won many checkers tournaments in the park and continues to play checkers everyday.
“To this day I still play online checkers every day,” exclaimed Bakke.