Geometry is the first subject the student really gets a feel for what math can be. It helps us aprreciate the world around us, how things are put together. It can be used aa a vehicle to expand the mind. It is the first time a student can really use the algebra the used. They can feel the excitement of real discovery. It is fantastic to be able to say aha! If we only learned the minimum to get by then we will also produce the minimum. How can a person know what they will need in the future or even what they have an interest in if they don't sample and take chances.
It has been my observation that the ones that want to know 'where are we ever going to use this?' usually don't listen to the explanation and don't really care. They then to be the ones that just plain don't want to do much anyway.
I think the sketch pad uses a whole new approach of being able to discover, which is what I like about Geometry. A person can still do a perpectly good job without it but they will have to do more labor and less thinking.