"Everyone just loved my hair," Geron said. "I loved it as well. All my friends knew me for my hair. It was just another part of me. I just wanted to keep growing it."
Geron spent a lot of time in hair preparation every morning, spending more than a half hour on his hair after washing the flowing mane.
"I took a lot of pride in my hair," Geron said.
But when Geron graduated from Anna L. Klein elementary school last June and decided to enroll at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange and play baseball for the school, he knew his long locks were about to become a part of history.
Geron remembered a suggestion he received from Rob Quinones, his coach in the North Bergen Recreation baseball league.
"We had three kids on the team with long hair," Geron said. "We were on a winning streak, so we didn't want to cut our hair to break our luck because we were superstitious. But when the season was over, Coach [Quinones] told us about this organization that collects hair for sick kids."
The organization is called "Locks of Love," which collects hair that is turned into wigs for cancer-stricken youngsters.
"I figured that if another kid can make good use of my hair, then it was worth it," Geron said. "I thought it was a good idea. At first, I said that I was never going to do it, but after I thought about it, I changed my mind and decided to do it. I knew that I needed to look like a professional in high school and I knew that I had to cut my hair if I wanted to play baseball in high school."
So Geron headed to Jagged Edge on Bergenline Avenue in North Bergen to get his hair sheared.
They had to systematically save the hair in seven-inch pieces in order for it to be donated to "Locks of Love."
Usually, the ones who donate the hair are usually girls, but Geron's locks, down past his shoulders, were long enough for consideration and donation.
"I needed a new look," Geron said. "This was going to be the new Jimmy. It was very tough to go through after not getting my hair cut for more than two years."
Geron's mother was thrilled that her son took the initiative to donate his hair.
"I was very proud, especially of the maturity level he showed," Liz Geron said. "He did it on his own. He has such passion for baseball, so I knew he wanted to play. This was a good thing he did with his hair. It's a good cause, because my father died of cancer."
Geron is getting accustomed to the new look.
"All the girls like it," he noted. "Now, I think I'll keep it short. I feel better about myself, helping some kid out there who is suffering with cancer."
Did Geron's teammates follow through and get their hair cut for the cause as well?
"No, they chickened out," Geron said.
There's a cancer-stricken youngster somewhere who is glad that Jimmy Geron did not.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org