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Collins a real sports nut

Vaughan SS star wins nod as Senior Male Athlete of the Year

JOSHUA COLLINS, right, accepts his Senior Male Athlete of the Year award from Joanne Malar. Photo by Francis Crescia/Vaughan Today

Joshua Collins knows a thing or two about basketball. And volleyball. Not to mention baseball.

The 17-year-old Vaughan Secondary School student has been playing — and excelling at — one sport or another from a very early age, he says.

“My parents put me in a bunch of different sports from when I was younger,” he said last week. “I played t-ball when I was in grade 1.

“I’ve been playing rep basketball since I was seven. The first rep team I made when I was seven and I was playing with eight- and nine-year-olds.”

Ten years after he first stepped on the court against bigger competition, Collins has just wrapped up a busy — he played senior basketball, senior and varsity co-ed volleyball, and baseball — and successful grade 12 year.

Collins was named Vaughan Today’s first Senior Male Athlete of the Year at a ceremony at Roy Foss Chevrolet of Woodbridge last week.

“I was actually really surprised, just kind of overwhelmed with joy,” he said of the honour. “I had no idea until they started reading the profile. Then it just started fitting, my year at Vaughan.

“I was kind of speechless at the time,” Collins added. “I’m really grateful for everything that I have, and the way my athletic career has come along.”

That Collins is a gifted athlete is obvious: he was named MVP of both his basketball and co-ed volleyball teams; he helped lead the Voyageurs to the York Region basketball championship and to within a breath of the provincial title, falling by a single point at OFSAA. He was also crowned Vaughan Secondary’s senior athlete of the year.

And Collins’ success didn’t go unnoticed by university scouts.

“U of T and York both came up to me after the York Region game and showed some interest,” he said.

Both are schools he’s thinking about, but they’ll have to wait for his decision. Collins is getting set to return to Vaughan next year for a few more credits, he said, and that’s good news for the school’s younger athletes.

In nominating Collins, Elaine Birta of Vaughan’s health and phys-ed department said he is a natural leader that helps junior athletes with their skill development and sportsmanship.

It’s a responsibility he takes seriously, he said.

“I think it’s really important,” Collins said. “I understand that there were people looking out for me then.

“To help (younger athletes) get better and develop themselves would be great too.”

His love of sports and desire to help kids develop into successful athletes has led the Humber College athletics volunteer to a job instructing at Toronto Community Housing camps.

His step mom, an employee at Toronto Community Housing, tipped Collins to the opportunity.

“She told me the age group I’d be dealing with, that it would be 13 and under,” he said. “I have three siblings and I’m the oldest of 13 cousins.

“I just enjoy being around kids. That’s kind of what led me into that job.”

Vaughan Today
Online: June 28, 2008 [link]