Black Sox softball legend Chubb Tangaroa has urged the New Zealand sporting community to fully embrace “the once in a lifetime opportunity” to compete at the World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland.
Tangaroa, a former World Series winning player and coach, believes the event is too good to miss and he hopes to back his words with deeds by putting together and coaching a Maori team to compete in the tournament to be held at the North Harbour Softball Stadium.
The Hawkes Bay-based PE teacher, who himself has competed in masters' competition in Australia, says: “I've followed the World Masters Games before and the camaraderie and competiveness should be great."
“It is something special to play against guys with a similar passion and, in some cases, who have reached the top of their game in the past from all around the world. It is also great way to keep fit and healthy and to stay motivated. With the event being at home for Kiwis, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Introduced to the sport at the age of four through his parents, who were actively involved in the sport, Tangaroa developed into a top quality pitcher.
He made his Black Sox debut in 1982 and featured as an international regular for 16 years, winning World Series silver in 1992 before four years later climbing one place higher on the podium in a memorable success.
After a heart scare in 1998 he quit the Black Sox as a player only to later oversee three World Series triumphs as a pitching coach in 2000, 2004 and 2013 before retiring from the international set up.
Yet the World Masters Games 2017 presents another opportunity to feature at a major global competition and he plans to play a very active role.
“The wheels are in motion as we speak and although I'm waiting on a few things I would like to put together and coach a Maori team in the 35+ age group. If interest is high then we would look at an over 45+ age division,” adds Tangaroa from Havelock North.
Meanwhile, the 52-year-old father of six and grandfather of three – what he refers to as his “whanau of pitchers” - has also not ruled out making an playing appearance at World Masters Games.
“I would like to take to the field at some stage, although my first priority is to make sure we organise a team to compete and put together that right environment for them to perform,” he adds.
So after a near half a century of involvement in softball, what has the sport given him?
“It has allowed me to travel the world and to do something I love doing,” he explains. “It has been a great education for life.”