A Law lecturer from De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) laid down the law in a different type of court as he helped Team GB become Dodgeball world champions.
Senior Law lecturer Brett Koenig was far from the classroom this summer as he jetted off to Canada to represent his country in a sport he has played since he was 16 years old.
The Great Britain men’s Dodgeball team were competing at the sport’s World Championships against big hitters such as, Mexico, USA, France, Australia, Canada and Austria.
But despite tearing a muscle early on in the tournament, Brett helped Team GB make it to the final – and was then awarded most valuable player in the match, which his team won to be named world champions.
Brett said it was a four-day event.
He said: “We had Mexico and USA in our group stages. We then had France and Australia, then played Canada, and in the final we played Austria which was a tough game but we won the entire Championships.
“We were really fortunate we won all of our games, all of our group games and knockouts and of course the big final.”
Reflecting on his experiences and how it felt to win, he added: “It was an amazing trip with lots of excitment and the team spirit is incredible. It felt so good to get out there. I have some fantastic teammates who are brilliant both on and off the court.
“The win was particularly good for me as I tore a muscle early on in the tournament, in game one so I was trying to play and let it heal at the same time.
“I played the final and was delighted to be awarded most valued player of the match, it felt like redemption after suffering so early on but the whole experience felt incredible.”
Having combined dodgeball with teaching law for the last few years, Brett said he tries to bring the same ‘motivation and fun’ from his sporting career into the classroom. He added: " There are lots of parallels between sports and academia, in both instances you strive to excel and improve.
"They both require hardwork, dedication and commitment by learning new skills and reflecting.
"In either case they usually involve some degree of performance and evaluation, be it through a match or an assesment."
Talking about his experiences, Brett said: “I have been playing dodgeball for 12 years and it’s been amazing. We have had the chance to travel around lots of places, including New York where we played at Madison Square Garden, which was incredible.
“At local level I play for Lutterworth in Leicestershire, I set the team up with my best mate and we play national league level, but representing Team GB in the World Championships in Canada was something else.
“We went for a few days beforehand to a training camp and I also had a good chance to see some of Canada, it’s a beautiful part of the world.”
He continued: “I met people from all over the world, its not just a game its an experience too, meeting and learning about other people. I was lucky enough to meet lots of different people from Australia, USA, Mexico and Argentina just to name a few."
Eleven years after his first debut for England at the European Championships in 2011 in Sweden, Brett said he still gets nervous when he plays internationally.
He said: “I get nervous playing in internationals, there is this feeling like its on the line, you have got a packed venue being streamed to 100,000 people online and it’s the feeling of, this is a big one!
"The culmination of months of traning coming down to 40 minutes is what makes knockout sport so entertaining.
“I always listen to music before the game, put noise cancelling headphones on and just zone out, I like to be on my own and prepare myself, whereas when I am playing nationally I sit and chat with my teammates.”
Brett is classed as one of the top players in the world for dodgeball and on top of his sporting and teaching career he runs ‘The Dodgeball Company’ working with schools to teach dodgeball and run summer camps.
Brett said: “I live a very busy life, on top of work I train five or six times a week either before or after work too. I am really lucky DMU are so supportive and I cannot thank the university enough for all their support.
“Without the help from DMU I wouldn’t have been able to go to Canada this summer, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
Posted on Wednesday 14th December 2022