Ed Pickerin finds out this month if he has made the England team for this August’s Dodgeball World Cup in New York.
The Samuel Ward Academy teacher is an old hat for the international side having first represented them in 2011, and was an important part of the national side which won the inaugural event in Manchester in 2016.
But an inconveniently-timed injury lay-off has threatened his selection, as he ‘confidently, but still anxiously’ awaits the squad selection announcement.
Pickerin, 26, suffered ankle ligament damage in December during a game for his club, the East Anglia Vikings, in their first-ever season in the Men’s Super League.
He said he is now well on the mend and hopes selectors will base their decision on his past performances for the national side, as well as his form in the league prior to injury.
The Clare resident said: “It’s a bit of a nervous wait for me as I’ve been out for a while, but I’m also quite confident with my past history for England. It’s definitely on my mind, waiting for that news to come out.
“If I do go, as a first-team player or otherwise, then I’ll be among the loudest voices targeting another win.
“In fact, we’re looking for wins for the men’s, women’s and mixed competitions.”
In 2016, both the men’s and mixed teams returned triumphant, a feat Pickerin said everyone is keen to repeat, but with the added extra of a clean sweep in all three competitions this year.
He added: “It would be incredible and would show how far we have come in that two years in the country.
“It’s definitely growing as a sport, particularly here in Europe where it’s been standardised, and in schools as well.
“It was granted ‘observer status’, which means it is now on the path towards the Olympics, which is very exciting.
“I doubt it would make it while I’m still playing but it does feel special to be at the start of a developing sport that could one day be okayed at an Olympic Games.”
Pickerin, who is chairman of the Vikings, said the sport was growing from the club level, as new teams formed and local interest grew across the world.
He said the Vikings are a result of this interest, as a number of clubs in the region decided to amalgamate to boost quality and participation.
The bolstered squad gives Pickerin, alongside other players, a better chance of developing as well as spotting promising talent.
He said: “I’ve never before played at club level with other internationals but I am now, and it’s already made me a better player.
“It’s also a massive advantage to be at international level at a sport as a PE teacher.
“I hope it helps to inspire the kids and show them that world cup winners are just normal people who are prepared to put in the hard work and commitment.
“And they could be next, maybe fighting for an Olympic gold medal one day.”