Sun streaming, soothing breeze, svelte sports people going through the motions, fans lapping up Olympians close up in the flesh and then a bloke on the loud speaker shatters the serenity — not once but thrice.
" ... on another beautiful day in Napier," he keeps rambling nonchalantly, with the air of authority one expects of someone saddled with the responsibility of keeping people informed of a day's proceedings at a major event in Hawke's Bay.
You see, what's cringe worthy is it wasn't Napier at all. It was the 21st edition of the annual Allan & Sylvia Potts Memorial Classic at the HB Regional Sports Park in Hastings on Saturday, January 25.
"What?" someone standing next to me asked. "Did I hear that right? Must be someone from out of town."
I offered a wry smile — no words necessary. Not then and there but, okay, now on the digital platform and print considering I've gathered my thoughts.
It's a classic that unashamedly flirts with the seductive TV cameras and their "boys and girls", perched on soap boxes to conduct interviews once every four years — with the likes of Dame Valerie Adams, Tom Walsh, Eliza McCartney and Eddie Osea-Nketia — as the Tokyo Olympics beckons.
But I digress. The much bigger picture here is the future of sport events in the Bay. Is it at its crossroads?
As towns, cities, regional fathers and mothers gather in village halls to reminisce missed opportunities to find common ground to amalgamate as a potent force in the province, other centres around New Zealand are making inroads to reinforce their identities as well as market themselves.
For instance, Canterbury is seeking directors for a new company to mastermind the construction of a new stadium in Christchurch by 2024 to host sport events and concerts.
There was something cathartic about the orange skies enveloping Bay Oval at Mount Maunganui as I watched India blunt the Black Caps' resolve even more on Sunday.
It is a more compact venue, offers a better player-people interaction with pitch proximity on the backdrop of a panoramic setting than McLean Park, Napier, trying to shrug off its perceived threat of impending sun strike.
The multimillion-dollar question is whether it's time to build a marquee venue in Hastings?
Yes, the Christchurch one has a $473 million budget, of which $80m is for contingencies. Hastings District Council isn't in the black like Napier is but it's time to think big for smaller, multipurpose-built venues. Amalgamation negating parochialism aside, it makes business sense to recognise you have to spend money to make some in the long term.
It need not be to take on McLean Park but, more so, complement it.
Napier council's inability to secure major sport events dates back to 2006 when they failed to secure the 2008 Fifa Women's World Cup.
Ditto in 2013 when it dropped the ball on the Fifa U20 Men's World Cup in 2015, thus spurning an estimated worldwide TV audience of 170 million in more than 100 countries.
Resigned to "the council can only do so much in a year", then mayor Barbara Arnott had conceded the Napier council probably didn't apply as much funding as Fifa had envisaged but had alluded to the silver lining of three ODIs that summer.
In 2015, former Napier man Phillip Purvis had prophetically warned the Bay was a much bigger player on the stage than it realised.
Purvis, an events promotions manager who was here to oversee the fleet transportation logistics during the ICC World Cup, had expressed interest in working for the Napier council to realise that potential even if it meant uprooting his family from France to return home.
A man who had fulfilled similar roles with the Sydney 2000 Olympics, European Football Championship, Uefa Champions League, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup, athletics championship and World Equestrian Games, somehow he had slipped through the council's fingers.
It seems McLean Park has been losing its quintessential touch. The Unison Hockey Stadium at the regional park is a fine example of meaningful investment but whatever happened to the annual international tourney staged there until 2018?
The brainchild of Bruce Mactaggart, it came under scrutiny for a burst pipe during an elite match in 2017, ironically, two months after surface flooding had held McLean Park ransom during an ODI and had become the butt of national jokes.
With the who's who of the province's business community backing the Black Sticks for years, it does come across as an upper cut with Hockey NZ seemingly rendering the venue strategically surplus to requirements with the advent of the global FIH Hockey Pro League. North Harbour is the beneficiary now.
Hawke's Bay Racing protagonists had cranked up the volume on relocating its infrastructure to a proposed compact venue at the HB Showgrounds on the opposite side of the Hastings CBD. Where's that at? Where do they fit into a multipurpose venue?
Speculation a proposed professional competition in Japan may sound the death knell for Super Rugby — which in turn will have a domino effect on the national provincial championship here — will marginalise profits even more for a code that is struggling to lure fans through the turnstiles at those tiers.
Only time will tell if McLean Park will upstage rock concerts from quaint vineyards so all the best to Napier council in its endeavours.
Nevertheless, it's imperative that sport infrastructure should prick provincial consciousness sharply again.
That sheep carcass emblazoned on a proposed flag to instil civic pride is dragging out commentators from political freezers to pander to their electorates is amusing, to say the least, when juxtaposed with the Hastings/Napier divide.
Has sport lost its privileged position at the front of the provincial trough queue it once occupied while passively watching economics v politics games unfold?
It can be a contentious project — think acceptable drinking water, clean waterways, public swimming pools, plastic pollution, crime demanding attention — that has left two cities uncomfortably astride the highway to prosperity.
The prudent will argue the sport venues debate is about feeding a community's soul.
Consequently councils — standing at silly mid-on — will do well to ensure they have their boxes firmly in place in case of an errant kick in the bread basket.