Over recent years we have seen a large growth in the University of Ottawa football program. It has become something the school is proud of and with a number of former Gee Gees athletes now playing the sport professionally it has given athletes at the school hope to do the same. Being a professional football player, being able to get paid to play a children’s game is something many dream of and as for Donald Shaw, at the University of Ottawa he was just one major step away from the dream but found love in another field.
Growing up in Toronto, Shaw wasn’t always into sports, he says, “I was a big time gamer. I had a set up with a camera at home and that was what I did for fun.” but after trying out and making the team at his high school, Richview Collegiate Institute he built a connection with the game. He went on to earn the starting running back position in high school and going into his senior season he realized that there could be a future in the game. When talking about going to the next level he mentioned, “Getting school paid for through sports was something that I looked into as soon as it became possible and U-Ottawa was one of the schools that offered me for football. Being able to go there for school and play for such a great team was great.”
The team, the Ottawa Gee Gees which Donald Shaw played for did very well during his tenure there and falling back on some of his memories, one of the most memorable moments over his 4 seasons with the school was the Panda Game touchdown in 2019. October 5th, 2019 the University of Ottawa against the Carleton University Ravens at the CFL’s Ottawa REDBLACKS’ stadium, TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, the Gee Gees took down the Ravens 32-10 for the city bragging rights and Shaw was lucky enough to be one of the schools 4 scorers in the game. When looking back on the moment Donal Shaw had remembered, “The crowd was awesome. Everyone was just so ecstatic and to score in front of that many fans was special, especially with the group that we had. One of the best memories that I had at school would just be being in the locker room or being with my teammates because we all had that bond where all of our stresses were gone while we were together.”
The group that the Ottawa Gee Gees had in 2019 when they last beat the Ravens in the Panda Game at TD Place saw a group of players go the professional route, including defensive end Reshaan Davis who stayed in Ottawa getting drafted by the Ottawa Redblacks but unfortunately Shaw was not among the group drafted. Eventhough he hadn’t got drafted by a team in the CFL where he would have played football professionally, that didn’t count out a job in sports being in Shaw’s future. While at the University of Ottawa, Donald Shaw took Kinesiology and did an internship with Capital Strength in Ottawa, really falling in love with the strength and conditioning field, enough to eventually be a coach at Capital Strength.
Following the Kinesiology course at the University of Ottawa and the internship at Capital Strength, Shaw earned himself the certification to be a strength and conditioning coach, coaching young athletes in the Ottawa area to be stronger in their respective sports. Getting the certificate he said, “It was great. Now that I have been in it and actually doing work I have been able to see a lot of people, help get them better and of all I just want to be a positive influence on everyone that I coach.”
Being a positive influence like he hoped to be when he started is something that has brought him to being a bigger name in the community, having a nomination in the 2020 Faces Magazine Ottawa Awards. Getting that nomination he thankfully commented, “I am just happy to be where I am today, having the support in Ottawa that I have, I really wouldn’t be where I am without the support from everyone.”