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Tri-captain returns for senior season
By Ross Weener
Rob Dykstra
Rob Dykstra

Newly engaged and thinking about his future, Rob Dykstra had a tough decision to make—one that had nothing to do with churches, tuxedos or wedding cakes. His choice was whether to come back and play out his final year of eligibility as a Calvin College Knight.

One year later, the tri-captain produced another successful basketball campaign, averaging 8.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Rob’s father, Tom, was a standout basketball player at Wheaton College in the late 1960s. When it came time for Rob to make his decision on a school, he decided to branch out.

“My whole family had gone to Wheaton, and I wanted to have my own experience; not that I couldn’t have had that at Wheaton, but I was looking to create my own tradition. It also didn’t hurt that my girlfriend, now my fiancée, was coming to Calvin.”

At the end of last year, it seemed like the 2002-03 Knight team would be the top contender for the MIAA crown. But after a 16-11 finish, capped with an 81-80 overtime loss to archrival Hope College in the MIAA tournament semifinals, the past season was frustrating, Dykstra admitted.

“We just didn’t come together as a team and play like that for 40 minutes a game. We showed glimpses of being a great team at times, but we just couldn’t string that together. It’s been hard as a leader because you feel responsible for the way the team plays,” he said.

Undersized at the power forward position, standing at 6’4”, Dykstra developed a style of play that gained him respect from teammates and opponents alike.

“I gained a lot of my tenacity from the soccer field, but because I matured late I was almost always undersized,” he said. “So I figured that I would make up for it in other ways like hustling and playing with lots of heart.”

When the Knights won the DIII national championship in 2000, Dykstra was watching from the bench, sidelined by an injury. This experience helped developed him as a leader as well as a player.

“The seniors on that team were very special, and I learned so much from them concerning life and leadership. I was very determined the next season to come out and keep pursuing my dream of playing college basketball,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra is currently serving as a student intern in the Kelloggsville (Mich.) High School athletic department. After graduation, he hopes to start a career in business or school administration.

“I am looking in the area of being an athletic director because I feel like I can relate to athletes, and have been through some of the same things they will be going through,” he said.