Just what does a Little League coach say to his young players when they’ve been eliminated from the World Series?
David Belisle found the perfect words for his weeping youngsters after their Cumberland American Little League team was eliminated Monday in an 8-7 loss to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West in Williamsport, Pa. He brought the kids together and, among other things, told them before they headed back to Rhode Island:
“It’s okay to cry, because we’re not going to play baseball together any more. But we’re going to be friends forever. Friends forever. Our Little League careers have ended on the most positive note that could ever be. Okay? Ever be.
“There’s only going to be one team that’s going to walk out of here as World Series champions. Only one. We got down to the nitty-gritty. We’re one of the best teams in the world. Think about that for a second. In the world! Right?
“So, we need to go see our parents, because they’re so proud of you. One more thing. I want a big hug. I want everyone to come in here for one big hug. One big hug, then we’re going to go celebrate. Then we’re going to go back home to a big parade.
“I love you guys. I’m gonna love you forever. You’ve given me the most precious moment in my athletic and coaching career, and I’ve been coaching a long time – a looooong time. I’m getting to be an old man. I need memories like this, I need kids like this. You’re all my boys. You’re the boys of summer.
“So, for the last time, we’re going to yell Americans: One, two three – Americans!”
“Okay. Good job. Let’s go. Time to go.”