Jarvis Dashkewytch will put on his Team Canada rugby jersey for the first time this week at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Nassau, Bahamas - and if all goes well, it won't be his last.
The South Delta rugby player is one of only three from B.C. named to Canada's 12-man seven's roster for the Games.
"It was a big surprise. My dad got an email and told me the news. I was ecstatic. It didn't feel real," said Dashkewytch in an interview with the Optimist prior to leaving for the Games.
Dashkewytch was identified through his play with Rugby B.C. and was invited to several Team Canada camps over the past few months.
"They thought I would be a great fit for the jersey," he said. "This is going to be my first international experience. I'm just really excited to be a part of this."
The team met for the first time last weekend in Toronto. Team meetings and training sessions took place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with the competition starting today.
"In recent years Canada has played very well in that tournament, so we have a high standard to meet," he said.
"Obviously this group of boys haven't played together, so there is no chemistry, so hopefully we really connect quickly when we get down there."
Dashkewytch said as a forward he tries to see the field and connect everyone to the play.
"After a set play, I try to be a link between the forwards and the backs, be a leader, stay focused, and lead by example, be a tough runner and always make the hit," he said.
This first taste with the national team is just one step he hopes will be a long career with the national team program. Dashkewytch will have an opportunity to continue with the U18 seven's team for a tour later in the summer and an opportunity to play with the U18 15's team next year.
In September, Dashkewytch will spend his Grade 12 year at the Canadian Sports School on Vancouver Island, leaving the South Delta rugby team behind and his starting goalie spot with the intermediate Delta Islanders lacrosse team.
"I figured out I want to be more serious and disciplined and become a better athlete, so with the support over there and the access to everything, I think it's a great step," he said.