Everyone knows… #4Albert Koster
‘I always get recognised when I come here’
‘You’re sending a photographer? I’ll make sure to get a haircut first’, Albert Koster says over the phone. Everyone who’s ever met him will get the joke: he is bald. His wit is as sharp as his outfit, which consists of a casual shirt and jeans. Even though his full name is Albert, everyone calls him ‘Appie’. ‘It’s just short for Albert, but I think even the transfer papers list my name as Appie.’
Appie has been working at the sports centre for twenty years, but he’s been coming there for as long as he can remember. ‘I practically grew up here.’ His father used to work here before him, and Appie and his friends would often join him at work. ‘This place was like one big playground for us.’
When his father retired, Appie started working at the front desk. Or as he calls it, ‘the sports centre’s bar’, since it’s where everyone goes when they have a question or need something taken care of. ‘At this desk, I’m the problem solver.’
But it was never his intention to work here as long as his father did, who saw the building first being opened and who didn’t leave until his retirement. ‘I figured I’d move on to something else after ten years, but it’s been twenty already.’
When I know I’m right, I’m not afraid to get into it
Even off duty, Appie can be found at ACLO. He spent years shooting, but he was looking for a more active sport, and he’s been playing squash regularly. ‘I always get recognised when I come here to exercise. But it’s free, so I’d be an idiot if I went anywhere else.’
When he was younger, people even came up to him in the city centre. ‘They’d come up to me in the pub asking when their ACLO card would be activated.’
What he likes about students is that they’ll always argue with you when they think they’re right. He’s like that, too. ‘When I know I’m right, I’m not afraid to get into it.’
In addition to his work at the front desk, Appie also helps out with the larger events ACLO organises: The Athena Games, Stef Stuntpiloot, and the ACLO anniversaries. During one anniversary celebration, they broke the world record for pillow fighting at the Grote Markt. ‘All the pillows were from IKEA. But we didn’t even get a discount!’
Just when I think I’ve seen it all, something else happens
For another anniversary celebration, he helped organise a game of mattress dominoes. ‘We’d collected a thousand mattresses. But because of the rain, only three hundred people showed up to the event. But organising it all was really cool, and the dominoes looked amazing.’
These large events have become almost commonplace for him. ‘But once it’s all done, all that’s left is that satisfying feeling that you made it work.’
The ACLO is never boring, says Appie. ‘Just when I think I’ve seen it all, something happens that makes me realise that wonders will never cease.
One time, someone asked for measuring tape to measure the sand on the beach volleyball court, and another time, someone had dressed up as a woman to film in the women’s dressing room.’ Someone also parked a car on the football pitch in the middle of the night once. When the ACLO employees switched on the lights, they found a couple on the centre spot. The two kids were terrified to have been discovered. ‘We told them we were almost done and would turn off the lights again soon’, says Appie, laughing.
While he’s clearly having a good time, he doesn’t think he’ll work at the front desk forever. ‘The next step is a position on the board’, he jokes. ‘The board just doesn’t know about it yet.’
Series | There are some UG employees that everyone knows. The cafeteria worker with the nice laugh, the concierge who can always tell you how to get somewhere.