By Lee Bogle and Sean Nyilassy
Some varsity athletes go through five years of Dinos glory with only stories to tell. Basketball veteran Cory Bekkering has these, but she boasts a few additional badges of pride.
For her determination when faced with adversity and dedication to the game, she was named the 2005 Tracy MacLeod Award recipient for Canadian Interuniversity Sport. And if you knew the chronicles of her last five years, you would understand why.
Bekkering’s rookie year foreshadowed most of her university career. After missing six weeks of play due to a mononucleosis infection, she underwent reconstructive shoulder surgery. Added to these little anti-blessings, her less-than exemplary marks earned her a spot on the dean’s academic probation list.
Did Dinos Head Coach Shawnee Harle believe she would overcome her difficulties to bounce back?
“Absolutely,” she said without a hint of doubt. “[Bekkering] is the toughest and most resilient player I’ve ever coached.”
As things began to look up in her second year when she was removed from academic probation, the evil spirits thwarting her progress took her out at the knees. Following the first regular season game, she wrecked her ACL–and the rest of her season.
When the evil spirits continued to attack in her third season, Bekkering decided to toss them aside. But, two weeks after ignoring a hand injury, she finally told the coaching and medical staff. They discovered three broken bones that required two pins to be surgically inserted into her hand. This resulted in her not being inserted into the lineup for six weeks.
“She played two weeks with a broken hand,” Harle reminisced. “But you couldn’t tell. She was still one of the best players on the floor.”
By her fourth season, Bekkering’s grades had improved to levels worthy of CIS Academic All-Canadian status. Unfortunately, the evil spirits struck again. This time they went for volume, endowing her with a broken toe, a back injury and two sprained ankles. Despite the drawbacks, Bekkering dressed for every conference game, averaging 8.2 points and six rebounds per outing.
This season, even with a screw loose–in her knee–she has again improved her GPA. On top of that injury, the evil spirits have proven that they can persevere almost as well, adding two more sprained ankles and a sprained wrist to her tally. But again she proved her dominance, averaging 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds while dressing for all league games. She ended the season on the top of Canada West’s field goal percentage rankings, scoring on 58 per cent of her attempts. If only we could all be that successful.
“It’s been an honour,” Harle said of coaching Bekkering. “She’s a player that has left a mark not only in this program but in my heart. It will be impossible to replace what she brought to Dinos basketball.
With her five-year tenure at the U of C now over, 22 year-old Bekkering will graduate with a degree from Communications and Culture.