As a member of the 2004-2005 University of Toronto Women’s Squash team that won the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, Virginia Ki is no stranger to sporting success. In her current role as a Health and Physical Education teacher and coach at UTS, however, she draws less on the results and more on the hard work, commitment and perseverance of her sporting career.
“I think what I take from those experiences is the importance of trust and communication among your team members,” Virginia explains.
Virginia was just a rookie with that championship-winning squash team, which is a 2018 inductee into the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame. In fact, she was new to the sport itself. As a third-year student, she was playing badminton in an open gym when the U of T squash coach spotted her and asked her to try out.
“I said I’d never played squash before, and he said it was similar to badminton,” Virginia recalls with a laugh. “I later found out that it’s not!”
Nevertheless, Virginia made the team and began a three-year career that also included second and third-place finishes in the two subsequent seasons. In her final year, the team also travelled to San Francisco to compete against the Stanford University team. “That was a pretty cool way to cap off my squash career,” she says.
Virginia is now in her eighth year of teaching at UTS, and describes the school as a collaborative and supportive environment. “The students are very driven and self-motivated, and the staff are so supportive of them. I just love the atmosphere here.”
Having coached volleyball, basketball and track at UTS, Virginia has contributed to this atmosphere by imparting the lessons of sportsmanship and camaraderie she learned as a high-level university athlete.
“Obviously, having the support of your team members cheering you on really helps. Everyone has a role, whether you’re on the court or cheering on your teammates.”