Time as a student-athlete at StFX left an indelible mark on Kwame Osei
By Corey LeBlanc
A former StFX X-Men football standout is a published author for the second time.
Kwame Osei recently released Turtle in the Shell, which he explains focuses on "believing in yourself."
"I thought I needed to put it out there," he says, noting he came up with the theme more than five years ago.
With the world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, Osei decided to take his idea off the backburner.
"I want to inspire young people to come out of their 'shells' and let their gifts and talents flow," he says.
Like a turtle retreating into its shell – as a response to fear or a threat – people do the same metaphorically-speaking.
"We often have a fear of failure," Osei explains.
"People are afraid of chasing their dreams and trying new things."
Osei – whose second StFX degree is in education – notes one of his former students served as inspiration for the book.
"She was very talented but, when she was being scouted, she would get nervous and not be herself," he says.
Osei remembers helping her "come out of her shell."
"Don't worry about being judged and don't hide your talents," he says, echoing other messages he wants to deliver with Turtle in the Shell.
His second children's book is a follow-up to If Not Me, Then Who? The Tale of the Little Eagle, which focuses on people learning how to reach their potential, while creating an environment that is a product of the 'real you.'
"I am a server," Osei says, when asked about his passion for writing, describing it as one of the ways in which he can carry out his desire to help others.
He suggests inspirational stories "need to be shared."
Osei is also a motivational speaker, delivering his insightful message not only to students, but also corporate clients.
"That has been a little different – doing it on a computer screen," he says – with a laugh – of the reality created by the global pandemic.
Back in Ontario
Osei is back in his home province after several years as a physical education teacher and football coach in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
"The timing was perfect," he says of the invitation he received from former X-Men teammate Steve Snyder to join his coaching staff at Queen's University in Kingston.
The Toronto native says his family had been preparing for a move "home" before his wife, Yaa, gave birth to their first child – now one-year-old son, Khyon Kwame.
"That was the main reason," Osei adds of the return to central Canada in the summer of 2019.
He just finished his second season – one without game action – as receivers' coach and coordinator of community engagement for the men's football program.
"It has been a great experience," Osei says.
And, in recent weeks, he took the helm as head coach of the university's women's football team.
"I am excited about helping bring [the program] to the next level," Osei explains, noting the need to "bring more exposure" to the talented female student-athletes that are playing his beloved game.
Noting he has always championed "equity and equality," including in sports, he says this opportunity provides him with another way in which to carry out that important goal.
'Huge role in my life'
When it comes to his time at StFX, Osei describes it as "one of the building blocks" of his life. He notes the influence of many coaches and mentors; their effect more expansive "than he ever realized."
"It planted the seed for who I am today," he says.
Even when he was a contestant on The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition, Osei proudly points out he was representing "Xavier Nation."
Osei explains everything he learned at StFX – including the importance of how to inspire and motivate – influences "everything that I do."
"It has played a huge role in my life," he says.
For more about Osei, including his speaking and writing, visit his website www.iamkwameosei.com or @iamkwameosei on Instagram.
Kwame Osei in his playing days with the X-Men