Recreation. Earlier this year Hunter Stokes was selected to represent Circular Head with fellow young footballers at the Country Gold carnival in Launceston.
Unfortunately due to a cyst discovered on his optic nerve he is unable to physically engage in the game he loves. But determined to not let anything hold him back, 11-year-old Hunter has taken on the role of coach supported by manager Peter Brown for the two-day event.
“It’s been lots of fun,” Hunter said of his role so far. “This way I still get to be a part of the team.”
Mr Brown commended Hunter’s perseverance and leadership. “It’s great that he can still be involved.”
Travelling to Launceston yesterday afternoon to begin a jam-packed schedule of six games in two days, Hunter has brought the team to where they are now through coaching weekly training sessions, arranging the players’ whiteboard and gaining the respect of his peers as a leader.
“We’re a team,” Hunter said. “We all show our own individual leadership skills, guiding each other. I’ve learned a lot.”
“He’s an impressive young man,” Mr Brown said.
Mum Monica couldn’t be more proud of her son. “There is not a day that goes by that he isn’t filling my head with knowledge and humour.”
The local football community has supported Hunter throughout his journey, particularly his local club Scotchtown, organising several fundraising events – including the Tigers’ Night Out with Tigers Hockey Club – raising more than $10,000.
“The whole community showed a lot of compassion towards Hunter and our family,” Monica said.
“Not to mention the love and support from family, friends, work colleagues and teachers.”
The Country Gold carnival runs for two days with local grade five and six students representing Circular Head in football, hockey and netball.
Taking on other regional representative areas, the competition provides an opportunity for young players to better their abilities and challenge themselves, Mr Brown said.
“It’s an opportunity for the students to build their confidence. Sport is so much more than just the physical element.”