Hawke's Bay softball personality Tom Makea snr is the master of diplomacy when it comes to coaching.
His ability to remain cool when dealing with umpires in heated situations has impressed SportToday for more than two decades. However it wasn't a surprise when he smashed those diplomacy skills into foul territory during his acceptance speech after receiving life membership at Softball Hawke's Bay's 63rd annual meeting in Hastings on Monday night.
While thrilled with the honour, Makea pointed out it was "an insult" to receive it just weeks after he was dumped as the Hawke's Bay under-19 boys' coach.
"I'm not ready to be put out to pasture yet," Dodgers stalwart Makea said.
The 2008 Ngati Kahungunu Sportsperson of the Year and multiple national titleholder has been replaced by former Hawke's Bay pitcher Craig Williams as the under-19 coach. Makea, who first started playing in the 1960s, said it was ironic Williams and Softball Hawke's Bay's managing director at the time of his dumping, Mike Bills, were in the first Hawke's Bay rep team he coached back in 1982.
Apart from a two-year absence, Makea has coached rep teams every year since then and in 2009 was named Softball New Zealand's coach-of-the-year in recognition of his national title-winning efforts with the Bay under-19s and Hastings Boys' High School teams the previous year.
One of Makea's long-time rivals on and off the diamond, Fast Pitch kingpin Craig Waterhouse, was also awarded life membership.
"It's a privilege to be joining those special people who have been awarded this honour in the past," said Waterhouse.
"While we all have our disagreements with each other, our hearts are all in the same place when it comes to this game we all love."
Waterhouse first began playing in the 1970s and is a former Softball New Zealand board member. His administrative skills earnt him SNZ's softballer of the year award in 2001.
Like Makea, Waterhouse, is a two-time winner of the Bill Elers Memorial Cup for services to softball and is the key organiser of New Zealand's biggest and most successful tournament, the annual Fun in the Sun.
Maraenui Pumas stalwart and Junior Black Sox manager Roger Aranui beat Taradale stalwart David Chapman in a secret ballot for the board's managing director's role, which Chapman held in the past.
Aranui stressed the need for a review of the board's constitution and an investment structure.
The position of operations director wasn't filled after the sole nomination, former Junior Black Sox manager Mark Carter, was a late withdrawal.
Aranui will be joined on the board by long-serving financial director Joyce Chapman, and incumbent board members Sharon Woon of the Saints club and Vicky Julian from Pumas.