New Zealand and Otago cricket identity Warren Lees cannot wait to be back in Dunedin in February for the New Zealand Masters Games.
Lees, a former national and Otago cricket player and coach, is a games ambassador.
He thoroughly enjoyed his first stint two years ago as official hand shaker, medal presenter and all round chatterbox.
“I did it last time. It was an absolute thrill. It was 10 days of being absolutely hectic, going from one event to another, meeting people who were happy people, who were wanting to take part but overly competitive. I had such a fun time connecting with people,” Lees said.
About 5000 competitors are expected to descend on Dunedin the 2022 games, which is held every second year, alternating with Whanganui.
Lees will be sharing the ambassador roles with former Silver Fern netballer Jodi Brown, who coaches representative netball in Dunedin, and former professional rugby player Neil Brew, who teaches in Dunedin.
Lees and his wife Jude retired to live in Clyde nine years ago.
Because the games is a charitable event, last time they decided to bring their caravan and stayed at a camping ground at St Kilda.
Camping was thoroughly enjoyable and the Lees met many people from all over the world. But this time, the couple are planning to stay with family in Mosgiel.
“I am so excited about doing it again. I can’t wait until it starts,” he said.
“I just think it is a great thing for Dunedin. It is a huge event for our city.”
Lees said he would be tempted to join in at the games. Last time, he competed in the cornhole and he would like to try that again.
“Cornhole. You are going to say tiny little sacks into holes on a board. Last time, it was at Montecillo and there were 150 people just loving it and laughing. It was a happy place to be,” he said.
Lees said he loves everything about the Masters Games, loves talking, and intends to do as much as possible between 7am until 8pm.
“I’m not a great listener. People don’t get much time to talk when I am talking,” he quipped.
“I just love people, I really do. It is just about the people, all about people, being happy, being able to communicate with each other. I’ve never heard a cross word [at the games],” he said.