The establishment of a national flex football league in New Zealand will be a milestone, a former Oamaru man believes.
In the coming months, Oamaru will be one of the first areas in New Zealand to field a regional team.
Stuart Cole, formerly of Oamaru, has been the main driving force behind setting up the league in New Zealand.
There had been strong interest in the sport across the country, but most had come out of Oamaru and Dunedin, Cole said.
Flex football is like American football, but with less tackling.
So far, 17 Oamaru players and 11 Dunedin players had signed up and were ready to play.
Cole said he was “ecstatic” with the amount of interest coming out of his hometown.
“I’m quite surprised. I didn’t realise there was going to be so much interest,” he said.
Last year he tried to start up flag ball, another form of American football, but soon decided to go in another direction after finding out another governing body had already laid the ground work.
When he brought his focus to the development of flex ball in New Zealand, his efforts soon attracted the attention of Out With The Mud Elite, an American football organisation that had since partnered and financially supported the sporting initiative.
“I wasn’t expecting that, but I’m glad it happened,” he said.
It had been quite a challenge to get flex ball up and running.
“You’ve got to stay positive – you’ve got to keep in that frame of mind and have a tunnel vision,” he said.
“You’ve got to look at the goal and just continue at it.”
At present, his main focus was getting the league ready for people to compete in.
“It’s a really good feeling to say that I’m doing something for the youth of Oamaru and hopefully the whole community,” he said.
People interesting in joining the team cam contact Cole through the NZ7 Football League Facebook page (facebook.com/NZ7FL).