Edwin Sheon remembers it all too well.
Fresh out of high school, not exactly sure of his career path, the Scarborough native wasn’t enjoying himself and chose to take some time off from studies at Toronto’s George Brown College.
He attended Brebeuf College in North York where he earned volleyball MVP.
Leaving his post-secondary education in limbo, it didn’t take Sheon long to realize there was a huge gap in his life that needed closure.
“I wasn’t happy, just not doing what I wanted,” said Sheon. “I remember my parents were concerned that I seemed to forget about being focussed on a career and future. I just wanted to do something that, when I look back, I could be proud of my work.”
Now 22 years old, Sheon admits he has found his niche.
Returning to the classroom to complete his education, Sheon is not only studying Building Renovation Technology, but – talented with his hands – the 5-foot-10 athlete is also one of the top college volleyball players in Ontario.
“Talking with people, I saw the big picture – I needed my education,” he said.
While Sheon says he always has an eager eye on improving skills, and would like to be just like popular Canadian contractor Mike Holmes, the youngster is also the backbone of the Huskies men’s volleyball team that competes in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.
The Huskies are off to a solid start as one of the top teams and Sheon, a left-side hitter and team captain, is having an all-star season. It might even be a personal best.
Back in October, opening game of the season, Sheon sent a message early that he was ready for the competition. In a three-set sweep of Loyalist College of Belleville, Sheon was the best player on the court and, watching him play, his passion for the sport is evident.
But volleyball success also didn’t happen overnight.
“I’m now more aware of my surroundings, more mature and focussed,” said Sheon, who played volleyball at Our Lady of Grace elementary school in Scarborough before shuffling off to Brebeuf College.
In his classes, Sheon is initially constructing and also demolishing for academic grades. He’s putting together sheds, working on roofs and understanding how to drywall rooms. On the volleyball court, he wears “No. 1” on his jersey for a reason – he’s that good on his team.
“I just strive to be the best on my team, but also looking to help my teammates – and that means more to me than statistics,” he said. “It’s also patience and knowing when to do the right thing. It doesn’t always work the way you want it to be, so you look for opportunities. Consistency is a key sports and in life.”
According to OCAA official statistics, Sheon hasn’t made an error in eight games. That bodes well for him and his teammates hoping to win a league championship for the first time since 1969.
“He’s steady, consistent, very good – our best player and the team leader,” said Josh Nichol, head coach of the George Brown squad. “Having him on the team is like having another coach.”
Nichol said Sheon had similarities to volleyball player Jeff Chung, a four-time all-Canadian who played pro in Holland and Switzerland as well as helped coach Canada’s under-20 National Team in 2006.
Dealing with accolades can be a challenge for any athlete – even Sheon.
“It’s all nice, but I understand that to win, we have to play as a unit,” he said. “To be successful in life, you learn from things like that – and then keep getting better.”
~ David Grossman