By Fabrice Samedy
He’s now got a pretty fancy title beside his name – a Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer/Administrator from the Ottawa Sports Awards – but to many members of the local wrestling community, Dean Sherratt will always be known as “Shoe Guy”.
That’s a nickname earned thanks to Sherratt’s tireless sleuthing skills to source the best deals on wrestling footwear for his club’s athletes. Over 600 youth in total benefitted from the Sherratt-driven program, with many receiving equipment for free if they couldn’t afford to pay for it themselves.
Sherratt’s life-long devotion to wrestling is fuelled by the sport’s inclusive nature, and the fact that it’s open to all, he reflects.
“Everyone can do it,” underlines the career lawyer and government foreign service officer. “In basketball, you’ve got to be tall, in football, almost everyone is big and strong, but in wrestling, you’re not matched up with people who are bigger than you or older than you.”
Sherratt recalls talking to the parents of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome, wondering if their son should try the sport. He convinced them to go for it, and the end product was an Ontario champion.
National Capital Wrestling Club head coach Chris Schrauwen says Sherratt is a warm and welcoming person who loves to help others.
“Dean is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if he thought it would help,” Schrauwen indicates by e-mail.
Heavily involved in the NCWC since 2002 until recently stepping back a little to spend more time with family, Sherratt volunteered to take on whatever job was needed, including coach, mentor, treasurer, and club president for over a decade.
A meticulous tournament organizer and statistician, the Brantford native who previously ran the Boston Union Wrestling Club was a force behind the 17-year-old National Capital Wrestling Festival, and increasing access to other competitions, thus helping local athletes achieve success on the provincial and national stages.
He helped to secure facility space and equipment, create development programs, and grew relationships with school board officials, high school coaches and teachers throughout the city and beyond in order to grow the sport and encourage participation.
But the Lifetime Achievement honour caught the local wrestling builder off-guard nonetheless.
“I was quite surprised,” signals Sherratt, who hopes that people will remember him as someone who preferred to give rather than receive. “There are a lot of sports in Ottawa, with their officials and volunteers. I was more on the organizational side of things. I was taken aback that somebody would notice me outside of the club itself.”
Schrauwen believes Sherratt’s principal objective was to give everyone the chance to take part in the sport regardless of their level, age, ethnicity, income, disability or any other challenge they may face. That’s now a mentality ingrained in the club that will live on long after the end of the Sherratt era, Schrauwen adds. The shoes were just the start.
Read more on the Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement Award winners via: https://ottawasportspages.ca/2021/01/30/profiles-on-ottawa-sports-awards-lifetime-achievement-honourees-chenard-loucks-sherratt-takahashis-and-who-could-have-been-ottawas-2020-athlete-of-the-year/