Over the course of his eight years at Ridley, Derek started out in Lower School playing hockey and cricket. He was led by Coach Kerry Martin, and part of a squash team that went undefeated against every major prep school in the north-eastern U.S. When in Upper School, Derek co-captained the First Boys soccer team, rowed in a lightweight four, and went on the win the Bulldog Trophy for squash.
Derek attended Princeton, where he played on the varsity squash team for four years, winning both the U.S. National Tournament and Ivy League Championship. He’s still active—and still winning!—on Toronto district and club teams, and has organized Ridley’s Alumni Squash night for more than fifteen years.
Derek is also a writer, who can spin a good yarn. “During the March break of his final spring at Ridley, I competed in the US Junior Squash Championship held at Yale University. My beloved Ridley coach, Sandy Peters, had made the trip and supported me through the challenging match, which I won," he shares. “A few minutes after the match, the coach of the Harvard University team, Dave Fish, who’d been watching, walked over to Sandy and I and asked why I hadn’t applied to Harvard. I had recently accepted the offer to play squash at Princeton, and wasn’t quite sure how to answer his question, so I tried the lighthearted approach."
'‘Well,’ I said, ‘I have all of these orange-and-black clothes.’ pointing to the trim of my Ridley squash jacket. ‘And I figured if I went to Princeton, I wouldn’t have to get a whole new wardrobe.’ Fish didn’t seem to see the humour in this. He just turned and walked away. I looked to Sandy. ‘Did I say something wrong?’ ‘No,’ he said, laughing. ‘You were just being you. And you are going to be just fine. I promise.’”
“Playing different sports at Ridley allowed me to meet so many incredible people; many of them are still in my life, even though we don’t pull an oar or kick a soccer ball anymore. This is not why young people get into sport but it’s yet another way that sport can enrich one’s life.”