Henry and Ross Bekkering, “Two Brothers, One Passion” – by Fred Roggen

Wederom eentje uit de ‘Oude Doos’, was een leuke ervaring met deze twee sympathieke broers.

 

Ross-Henry

Ross-Henry

I had the change to talk with Henry and Ross Bekkering (203-F-85, agency: Scorers 1st Sportmanagement), two brothers who have a really close relationship. Henry Bekkering (198-F-85, agency: Scorers 1st Sportmanagement, college: E.Washington) started his pro-career last season in Holland, after missing half of the season through an injury, he had a solid second half. Now he has signed a deal with Dutch champion GasTerra Flames. Henry became an internet phenomenon in 2002 when footage of him at a high school dunk competition began to make the rounds onlineHe works with Catholic Family Services mentoring and working with people with disabilities.
Ross Bekkering is a 2.03 m Power Forward with a Canadian and a Dutch passport just graduated from the University of Calgary and is looking forward to starting his pro career. He representing Canada in 2007 and 2009 in the FISU (University Games). He is a fun guy to be around and knows what it means to be a friend and teammate. It is kown that he sets high standards for himself and works hard to reach his goals.
The brothers realize that they are not like other families. The amount of time they spend together exceeds the amount of time most other siblings spend together.
The Bekkering brothers, running this summer a basketball camp for ambitious 14-18 year olds.

So let’s start from the beginning…What were you guys like as kids growing up?
Henry: I was a fairly hyper kid growing up, Ross was definitely more calm. I always had a lot of energy. We come from a big family and we both played a lot of different sports growing up. We had and still have a very close knit family.
Ross: Well I always felt like I was a pretty average kid. I mean looking back I guess our family might have been slightly more hyper and pretty much all the kids had a passion for sports so maybe we weren’t your typical family. In terms of the dynamic between me and Henry, we were very effective at both irritating our other siblings and each other. This resulted in both of us (especially me being the younger brother) being able to take a pounding !

You both are playing ball; do you ever feel competitive?
Ross: Growing up as the younger brother, I mean I was always trying to emulate a lot of things Henry did. This proved to be really difficult as Henry accomplished a lot of tremendous things early on in his life. I was a bit of a late bloomer and as I aged I learned to pave my own way and make my own mark wherever i went. As far as the competitive spirit between us now, it is most definitely present in anything we square off against each other in, but we’ve learned how to handle and manage it in a (somewhat) more mature way haha

Henry: I am always cheering for Ross. I always want him to succeed. We are both extremely competitive, but we also support each other completely. When we play against each other (in anything), I have that common older brother mentality of not letting Ross win. It doesn’t work out for me a lot of the time.

Together playing at the University of Calgary, how was that?
Henry: Playing together for 2 years was amazing! We won a Canada West Championship together and just had a lot of great times I will always remember. I consider Ross my best friend, so it’s pretty special that I had the opportunity to share some amazing times on and off the basketball court with him. I will never forget it.

Ross: To share an experience like that with your brother is something that I truly appreciate and don’t take for granted. I realized how unique it was and we both helped push each other to bring out our best for the team. Would have been great to take home U of C’s first national championship but there is some great memories nonetheless.

henry-bekkering-gasterra-

henry-bekkering-gasterra-

Henry, you missed a lot of games at the beginning of last season because of an injury, but you had a solid second half of the season statistically.
Was it ever tough to just keep going forward?
Every time you have an injury, there is the initial disappointment. I just tried to grind through my rehab and I wanted to make sure that when I came back, I was going to make an impact for the team. Everyone in Nijmegen treated me and supported me amazingly. I’m thankful for that.

Ross, you played in the FISU (University Games), representing Canada in 2007 and 2009. What was that like?
Truly was a surreal experience. Having the opportunity to play FISU in 2007 and go to Bangkok, Thailand, and then to replicate the experience again in 2009 in Belgrade, Serbia, I mean I felt very privileged. Its a huge honour for me to ever represent my country and to be considered among one of the elite for my age group was a great confidence boost. I believe it has helped me to grow as a player, and truly grasp the high level of basketball on the international level. From my experience at the two tournaments, it’s evident that Canada as a nation is right up there with the elite teams around the globe and we just need to take a few more steps to establish ourselves as one of the premier basketball countries.

Ross-Bekkering

Ross-Bekkering

Ross, you graduate from college and begin a new stage in your career as a pro, is your brother an example?
For sure. Henry has been a great example for me with regards to my first year of pro ball. All the difficulties that one has to deal with in playing basketball on the other side of the world for nine months, Henry did alongside handling a serous injury to his leg in which he missed the first half of the season. His resilience and ability to bounce back from something like that is something I can admire and definitely learn a few things from.

Henry, what were the reasons to choose GasTerra Flames?
Gasterra Flames is a great TEAM. They have amazing fans and playing for Groningen means you have an entire city behind you. Coach Marco’s coaching philosophy coincides with what I believe in as a player. I respect that. It’s a great opportunity for me to be part of an already special group and family. I just want to help in any way I can this year.

What does it mean to be Canadian?
Henry: Being Canadian is a blessing. We are from a beautiful, diverse, and free country that I’m definitely proud and lucky to be from.

Ross: Being Canadian to me is both an honour and a privilege. I am very proud to be a citizen of this great country, and will try to represent my country to the best of my abilities in my pro career over in Europe. I think Canadians as a whole have a very welcoming attitude towards people they meet throughout their life and I try to emulate that in my personal dealings as well. I also have a great deal of pride in my Dutch heritage and being a Dutch citizen as well. Dual Citizenship is the best of both worlds !

It seems unusual for a Canadian kid from a small community (Taber) to pick up basketball. What were your basketball influences growing up?
Ross: Our parents were always very supportive of anything we did. They encouraged us to try a lot of things, but I believe basketball ended up winning out because of the love that my older sisters had for the game. As a kid we would follow them around the gym all the time, and growing up to be 6’8”, wel it just seemed like a good fit !
My influences for basketball growing up were most definitely my brother and Michael Jordan. My brother first off because everything he did before me I thought was just incredible and he showed me what it meant to be dedicated and disciplined toward something you wanted to achieve. His work ethic shaped my style as a player. Michael Jordan…well what more can you say. The best player to ever play the game, head and shoulders above the rest (that’s right Kobe fans!), with a focus and mentality that is second to none. The G.O.A.T!
Henry: My entire family played basketball growing up and my Dad played in the Army during his university career. He was definitely my biggest influence. I also had countless teammates and coaches that helped my love for the game to grow.

Ross, you can play with a Dutch passport, did you have already had some offers?
I’ve signed with an agent, and we are in the process of securing a contract for next year. I know there has beens some interest and we are just waiting to decide what the best situation will be for me next year. Can’t wait !

Henry, what gives you the most satisfaction on the basketball court?
Working hard and seeing it pay off. Getting a big dunk or hitting a big shot is also pretty sweet!

Tell us about the influence of sport in your life.
Henry: Sport has provided me with so many unique opportunities and adventures in life. It’s also taught me a vast amount of lessons and life skills that i’ll be able to use when my playing career is over. I’m definitely grateful to be playing and I’m sure i’ll continue to learn a lot.
Ross: Sport is a large part of my identity and has had a huge part in shaping me as a person. It has taught me discipline, teamwork, self confidence, and perseverance among other character traits and all while allowing me to have fun and make some great friends doing it !
Both of you, thanks for doing this interview and wish you a great summer.

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