Sarah-May Edwardo-Oldfield is a fifth-year psychology and professional writing student. The Toronto native has the pleasure of playing alongside her sister on the UTM women’s D-league basketball team. Edwardo-Oldfield has persevered through the challenge of growing up in a single-parent household to become an exceptional university student athlete and stay busy with a packed schedule.
Edwardo-Oldfield is a power forward who wears the number 15. “My second year playing house league basketball, my coach gave me the choice of two jersey numbers, Michael Jordan or Vince Carter,” says Edwardo-Oldfield. She chose Carter.
Edwardo-Oldfield recognizes her strengths and weaknesses on the court. Her head coach, Salee Johnson Edwards, reiterates to the team on a constant basis that they have to “crash the boards, because good things happen.” Edwardo-Oldfield is working on doing everything in her power to be that good team player for her championship-calibre squad.
“I try to go out every game with as much energy, consistency, and aggressiveness as I can. As far as responsibilities go, grabbing rebounds, both offensive and defensive, are extremely important. I’ve also been working on being more vocal, both on and off the floor—my throat is sore these days,” says Edwardo-Oldfield.
Basketball is a game where you often play both defence and offence during a single match. Edwardo-Oldfield tries to round out her game to be the most dynamic athlete she can be. This means taking more shots and being more aggressive in practice and games. “I’m a perfectionist. As much as I know it’s not possible, I always step onto the court wanting to have the perfect game. I’m my toughest critic,” says Edwardo-Oldfield.
One of the greatest tools a player can have for any given team is a good sense of confidence and the ability to handle rejection and criticism, which is something that Edwardo-Oldfield prides herself with, despite times when she comes down on herself. “I’m very calm and usually collected, and I take feedback and criticism seriously,” she says. For someone that has struggled with mental health in recent years, handling the duties of being a university student-athlete are tremendous and courageous.
“My basketball team has done more for me than I have for them,” she says. “I’ve been pushed to stay active and social, which improves my mood. I still have more bad days than good days, but this is the best I’ve felt in years.” She adds how her fellow teammates have meant a great deal to her on and off the court.
There were many things that she and her sister weren’t able to do, because either her mother couldn’t afford it, or her mother was busy working trying to pay the bills. Ever since she can remember, Edwardo-Oldfield and her family have been taking care of their grandmother, who is currently 100 years old. Edwardo-Oldfield had to turn down competitive basketball teams because of the inability to commit to these teams. “It was something that bothered me a lot growing up. I still wonder what kind of player I could have been had my mom been able to afford, monetary and time wise, to give me the opportunity. But I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have had, and I have no disappointments,” she says.
For Edwardo-Oldfield, there’s a quote that resonates with her. It says, “We’re all broken crayons, but last time I checked, broken crayons still colour.” Edwardo-Oldfield may still have her bad days, but this basketball season has taught her that she’s still capable, needed, and valued.
This season is a championship-calibre year for the women who remain undefeated so far this season, with a record of 4-0, an extramural championship win at the Laurier tournament, and a second place finish in the Humber College tournament. Avenging their five-point loss from the finals game last year is important to the team. “This is the best team I’ve been on,” Edwardo-Oldfield says. “This is the first team I’ve been on where everyone loves each other, we get along really well, and we’re all equally hard-working.”
Edwardo-Oldfield credits team chemistry and the coaching staff for extracting the best out of the players. She’s seen improvements from each of her teammates. “The importance of team chemistry and how much liking and respecting the girls you play with can affect the level and consistency of your play. I can’t see how we can’t get even better.” She adds, “Our chemistry is too good to not come out with a championship.”
You can find Edwardo-Oldfield around campus volunteering with UTM’s AccessAbility Centre, working with the campus rec and intramurals as a scorekeeper, or at the Conservatory of Music working as a piano teacher. She has a busy schedule outside of her studies, which she attributes to her perfectionism.
In the future, she wants to work with adolescents as a psychologist, to aid their process of developing into adults. “You’re dealing with the changes in your body and pressure from societies’ expectations of you, all the while you’re trying to figure out who you are,” she says. No matter what she ends up doing, she won’t be satisfied until she makes a meaningful difference in someone else’s life.
At the end of the day, basketball will forever be an important part of her life. “I don’t think I’ll ever be finished with basketball. I think I’m always going to be involved in some capacity. I always feel a little off when I haven’t held a ball in my hand for a while.”