Movember with the Men’s Volleyball Team

From Courts to Causes, Blond Dutch Mustaches, and Polar Plunges

“As Christian athletes, we have a unique opportunity to go to other collegiate schools in the province…an opportunity not too many other students have,” says starting setter for the Men’s Volleyball squad, Andrew Van Dyke. “We’re tasked with the unique opportunity to visit schools and represent our faith whenever we go and wherever we are.”


Ah, the mustaches, the Redeemer Men’s Varsity Volleyball Movember campaign, the month that the rest of the University eagerly awaits each and every year. 


Van Dyke and his teammate Ben Siebenga, an outside hitter, both sat down to walk me through their 2023 Movember campaign, a fundraiser for men’s mental health and cancer awareness. 


“MVB has done this for a while now…as long as I’ve been here anyway,” says Van Dyke.


“[Our] Movember initiative is very important. Men’s mental health in our generation has been put on the back burner,” says Siebenga. 


The Men’s Movember campaign in November and the Women’s Volleyball “Pink Night” initiative earlier in November, which raises awareness for breast cancer, provides unique opportunities for athletes. Redeemer’s volleyball program allows athletes to connect the outside community to volleyball, physical health, and mental health awareness.


“That’s the point of Movember—we’re growing our hair for people who can’t. That’s the mentality behind it,” says Van Dyke. “It makes [volleyball] more than just a sport, which is awesome. It’s a reminder about why we do things.”


Ben Siebenga echoes that sentiment, adding, “It’s fun to get excited about it, get people involved, and reach out to people who aren’t usually connected to volleyball or Redeemer. It helps build team culture.”


Redeemer’s Director of Athletics, James Kryger, says that the Athletics Department has completely embraced initiatives like Movember and Pink Night. “Athletes initiatives of any kind are always exciting for the department of athletics. In this case, MVB and [the] Movember initiative is a long-standing tradition that supports men’s health.” 


Kryger adds, “Like Pink Night, we embrace opportunities to get behind community initiatives and bring recognition to support structures that drive engagement and awareness. I would encourage the campus community to support these great initiatives that tie together into exciting events like the Polar Plunge and some pretty whacky mustache attempts.” 


The Polar Plunge is a staple incentive to donate to the Movember campaign. At the 1k mark, the entire MVB team will take a dip in the freezing, murky waters of the Redeemer pond.


The theme of Movember, raising money and awareness for those struggling with mental health during a difficult time of year for many, also plays into the bigger picture of what it means to be a Christian athlete. 


“It’s important to exemplify ourselves as followers of Christ. In the heat of the moment, our faith needs to shine—people are watching us,” says Van Dyke. “We’re tasked with the unique opportunity to visit schools and represent our faith wherever we are.”


Siebenga added that ultimately Movember is about raising awareness for this type of thing (men’s health), but also for the team to use their platform to spread mental health awareness uniquely as Christians drawing attention to Christ. “Looking at the Movember initiative, it’s a solid, trustworthy, and genuine fundraiser. [And] when we play we need to keep that in mind, remember that you’re playing for the front of your jersey, not the back.”


Despite the fundraiser being based on the facial hair of the team, that doesn’t mean that mustaches come easy for a team full of blond Dutch guys—both Van Dyke’s and Siebenga’s are very difficult to see. Van Dyke also threw libero Andrew Walcott into the mix for his weak mustache game, as well as outside hitter Derick Breukelman. Siebenga noted that middle blocker Caleb Joosse had a “minimal mustache”, while also praising libero Carsen Grim and outside hitter Ryan Brouwer for their strong mo-game. 


But hey, don’t hate the player—love the effort, and support the fantastic cause. If their fundraising goals are met, the team will take the Polar Plunge at 1k, perform at the talent show at 2.5k, and bleach their hair at 3k. If they can muster up enough fundraising for 4k, they’ll shave their heads!


Thanks to the boys for walking The Crown through their Movember Campaign, and best of luck with the rest of the fundraising!