Gympie’s special guest
RUGBY LEAGUE: Chris Sarra, founder of the Stronger Smarter Institute and member of the ARL Commission, spoke to eager league fans at this month's Gympie Men of League meeting on Thursday night.
Although this was his first time in Gympie, Sara has spent a large portion of his life in the Wide Bay area.
He grew up in Bundaberg and was appointed principal of Cherbourg State School in 1998.
Sarra is most known for his work in Aboriginal education.
The largest part of his career was spent as an educator. In the mid-90s, he met Gympie Regional Councillor Bob Leitch when they both taught at a school in Cairns.
As an educator, Sarra was awarded Queenslander of the Year in 2004 and was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2012.
Sarra's current focus is sitting part-time on the Australian Rugby League Commission and as the founding chairman of the Stronger Smart Institute.
"There are commissioners that are aware the rugby league is built on a foundation in junior rugby league in the bush, not just elite teams that are on TV at the moment."
His most memorable moment in rugby league and biggest achievement was being appointed to the ARL Commission.
"For me, it is about doing the best to broaden the thinking about the game of rugby league."
Sarra played league in Bundaberg, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Dalby.
"I love the game- I loved what it stood for even as a young person.
"I loved running on the field and putting myself to the test in a tough arena.
"I enjoyed the great stories on the field and in the dressing room."
Sarra said the game is more than just the 16 NRL teams, its also about the young boys and girls who want to play, the volunteers, parents and coaches.
"It is a challenge but it is an important challenge."
During the meeting, Men of League secretary Greg Poutney and president Ross Groundwater talked about some of the support they have been able to give former league players in the area.
Recently both Poutney and Groundwater helped raise money to provide a former player with a vehicle that had easy wheelchair access.
Men of League is always happy to help with the simple things like mowing the lawn or picking up groceries. "The game is looking out for its own people," Sarra said.
To contact the Gympie Men of League organization, phone Greg Pountney on 0432 397 974 or Ross Groundwater at Tyrepower on 5482 5466.