What made you want to become a professional squash player?
I always wanted to be a professional athlete as a child. At the time I never thought that my professional sport would be squash but the idea of playing a fun game for a living just seemed like a good career. My parents introduced me to the sport by taking me to our family club to play on weekends. As a junior I worked my way from the bottom of the rankings to number 1 in Canada in my final year as a junior. I think it was my positive experience as a junior player that really made me want to pursue the sport further. As a player on the junior squash circuit I competed in the Junior British Open, Scottish Open, PanAmerican Games and the Junior World Women’s Tournament and this experience opened my eyes to the world of international competition and opportunities. These two factors combined with my absolute love for the game really made me want to continue to play for Canada and professionally.
What is a typical day in the life of Stephanie Edmison like?
My day starts at 8am with breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because I need to fuel myself for a busy day of training. I do two training sessions, one in the morning at 10am and one in the afternoon at 2pm with a nice big lunch in between. Then I head off to work (I coach on the side) for clinics that usually start at 430pm. My work schedule is fairly flexible but I usually coach anywhere from 2 to 4 hours an evening. Saturday is my day off of work and Sunday is my day off of training, which means I see a squash court every day of the week.
What do you love and don't love about being an athlete?
I absolutely love traveling to new and exciting places and meeting so many different people along the way. I have had the opportunity to make so many international friends that has opened my eyes to so many cultures and lifestyles. It is something I don’t think I could have ever achieved by just traveling to these places.
On the contrary I do find it very challenging being away from home so much. It is very difficult to organize my work schedule around my travel schedule and virtually impossible to establish any stable routine within Toronto since I am traveling so often.
It would have to be my most recent Canadian Nationals tournament. I went into the event, this past May, seeded 4th but with high hopes to make it through to the finals. This meant that I met the No.1 seed in the semi finals. I was down 2 games to 0 (squash is best 3 games out of 5) and I was able to climb back to win the match in the 5th game. I unfortunately lost the following day in the finals however I was still very happy with a silver medal finish. I finished this year’s season as No.1 in Canada for doubles and No.2 in singles.
As far as pressure goes I tend to use it to my advantage. I use all of the nervous energy and pre match pressure to pump myself up before going on court and I find it keeps me on my toes. I also stick to a very simple competition routine that changes slightly for every event, which helps calm my nerves.
What did you study in University/College? Would you have done anything differently?
I specialized in Economics at the University of Western Ontario. I am very happy with my education choices and I plan to apply for a Masters Degree in Business.
If I were to do it again I would defer my university acceptances and take a year off to play squash. I do believe that education is very important so there is no doubt in my mind that I would have returned to school, but had my squash gone well in the first year on the tour I may have looked at either a part time program or deferred it further. In retrospect I would chose one of the Business Schools.
Best place(s) to shop in the city?
Queen West and Bloor Street! Queen west has a mixture of globalized shopping stores but also many cheaper non traditional hidden gems. Bloor Street on the other hand has all of the luxury brand stores that are always fun to walk through.
Tell us about your neighbourhood and what you like best about it.
I live in the North Toronto area. I have lived here my entire life and I do not think I will ever move too far away. I am surrounded by great communities that have everything I could ever need right at my fingertips. Such things include: entertainment, dinning, shopping, transportation, parks and of course recreational opportunities. My favourite thing is that I am a short walk to the Yonge subway line! I never have to stress about getting anywhere because it is so easy to jump on the subway and be downtown within minutes.
What do you wish someone told you when you were younger and just starting out?
You don’t become an ‘overnight success‘ overnight. Life is filled with many failures and it is one’s ability to keep moving ahead with a positive attitude that makes them a success. I may not have been told these exact words as a younger player but it was something I quickly learned when moving from the junior circuit to the professional tour.
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
Life is not a race it is a journey. Take your time to find what you love and once you do, give everything you have. Success is not measured by numbers but rather happiness and developing your passions will give you the greatest personal fulfillment and therefore worth every ‘sacrifice’. If you are struggling to figure out what to do with your life just start somewhere. You won’t realize it at the time but you will start to eliminate the things you don’t like and gravitate towards the things you enjoy and where you excel. Before you know it you will be doing whatever it was you were ‘born to do’.