German fan planned to travel over 4,500 miles for Jimmy G events


Jason Howell

Eastern Kentucky defensive back Johnny Joseph is shoved out of bounds by former Eastern quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a game on Sept. 28, 2013 at O’Brien Field.

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

Jimmy Garappolo’s now canceled return to Eastern’s campus had more than just the campus and the community of Charleston excited.

Anita Reiter, a huge Jimmy G fan, made plans to travel the 4,506 miles from Freiburg, Germany, to Charleston, Ill., to see his jersey retired and attend “An Evening with Jimmy G” that was originally scheduled for April 22.

After the event was canceled on April 4, Reiter had retweeted EIU Athletics’s post and said “Had already purchased a ticket and wanted to travel there from Germany. Hoping it can be rescheduled and that I‘ll be able to attend.”

The cost to attend the fundraising event for a single person was $200.

She told the News that she had no connections with EIU, but had been a big Jimmy G and American football fan for the last few seasons.

“I’m a Jimmy G fan from Germany and I wanted to spend April 22 in Charleston to see the football game with the retiring of No. 10 and I also intended to attend the fundraising dinner in the evening,” Reiter said. “Would have been an exciting and unique opportunity to kind of spend a day with Jimmy G. That would have been worth a plane ticket.”

Reiter said that she knew that EIU was Garappolo’s alma mater and that she was curious to see what it was like in Charleston.

She said she originally found out about the event via Twitter.

“Found out about it here on Twitter,” Reiter said. “There’s a certain Jimmy G fan bubble here and one of those people retweeted the advertising by EIU.”

Reiter said that as she began to learn more about Jimmy, the more she became a fan.

“I’d say I became a fan in the 2019 season,” Reiter said. “That’s also when I became a football fan in general, since it’s not a national sport here in Germany. First thing you notice about Jimmy as a woman is his looks of course, but the more you learn of him via interviews and internet articles, the more you like the person behind those looks. I think he’s a genuinely good and humble guy with a big heart. And, well, he’s just a great football player. Highly underrated in my opinion.”

Reiter said that it was unfortunate that the event was canceled, but she has no hard feelings about it.

“Took me a long time to make the decision to come to Charleston for the Jimmy G events and right when I had decided to do it and had bought a ticket for the fundraising dinner, the events got canceled,” Reiter said. “So that was unfortunate. Gladly, I hadn’t booked any flights yet. I’m sure Jimmy has his reasons for not being available, especially since this off-season is a pretty busy one for him I’m sure. So no hard feelings here. I’ll be glad to plan the trip again in case they reschedule.”

The athletics department put out a release on April 4 stating that the event had been canceled due to Garappolo no longer being able to attend and that those who had purchased tickets would receive a refund.

There is no word on if or when the events will be rescheduled, but the annual spring football game will be played as scheduled at 11 a.m. on April 22.


Kate Stevens can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]