THE sporting fraternity, in particular softball, is mourning the passing of one of its pioneer players and a long-time administrator Jack Pidik.
Pidik, a man synonymous with softball, died peacefully in Cairns Hospital, Australia on Monday after a long illness.
From Matupit Island in East New Britain, Jack Pidik in his late 50’s, is survived by his Australian wife and three children and grand children. He was the Customer Services Manager with Air Niugini at the time of his death.
Described as solid baseball player, Pidik was a pioneer of softball after he made the transition from baseball.
He was among the talented pool of Matupit players which included Ron Rolly, Nick Tata and Mari Tatako, who founded Brown Eagles softball club.
During the year of transition from baseball to softball in 1972, Pidik was one of the stand-out players.
He played second base for Brown Eagles club in the formative years of softball in Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea.
Brown Eagles teammate and now PNG Power coach Isikel Tovia described Pidik as a great baseball player before making the switch to softball.
He was indeed a good mentor and very good organiser as well.
“We started Brown Eagles club together but later we went our separate ways – late (Jack) Pidik went on to team up with Gazelle and I went on to play for Elcom,” he said.
Pidik was in the first PNG softball team to play in Guam.
The softball governing body, the PNG Softball Federation paid a special tribute to one of the most influential person who touched many lives during his involvement with the family game as a player, coach, mentor and administrator.
The vice president of PNG Softball Federation Ralph Tarasomo said: “We have lost a champion of our game. A great leader whose inspiration ensured that the code excelled through difficult times, his attitude towards sports has made us proud today,” he said.
Tarasomo said many people like himself have all benefited from his wisdom.
He said Pidik taught them lessons in leadership, humility, generosity, courage and integrity. At the time of his passing he was the chairman of the board and a life time member.
Tarasomo said he would be sadly missed by everyone.
Port Moresby Softball League president Tom Sirae described the Pidik “an icon of the sport of softball”.
“A sad day for us all as Mr Pidik was a truly great softballer and one of the finest administrators of softball in PNG. POMSL heavily relied on his knowledge and mentoring. We are shocked and deeply aggrieved by Mr Pidik’s passing,” Sirae said.
Late Pidik went as far as the president of Port Moresby Softball Association, and then later he was voted in as president of PNG Softball Federation. He was the longest serving members until he was replaced by the then late Henry Kila and then Chris Bais.
PNG Softball Federation Chief Umpire Peter Chalapan described Pidik as a great administrator when he reigned as the president of PNG Softball in the late 80s and early 90s. Chalapan said during national championships, he got his hands dirty to ensure technical officials were proper meals and decent accommodation for umpires flying in from other centres.
Former softball correspondent-turned-lawyer Ekonia Penia could not accept the sad news of someone he have always had high regard for and called “senior” for his great wisdom in the game of softball.
Pidik was the man behind the re-emergence of Gazelle softball club which went on to win 18 grand finals between 1979-80 to 2002-2003 seasons. The national