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Losing coach in Little League World Series provides a winning postgame speech

Aug 19, 2014, 8:20 AM EDT

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My personal experience as a kid and as a parent of kids playing youth sports has been hit and miss. There are a lot of good coaches out there with their heads on straight. Lots of good parents too. Probably most of them are good. But there are also jerks, and the higher you go in youth sports — the more competitive the landscape — the more likely you are to encounter jerk coaches or parents.

The Little League World Series is about as high as kids that age can go. It’s crazy competitive. So it wouldn’t be shocking to find some jerks at that level, even if most of them are now well enough versed in how it is covered to not be super obvious about it.

Which makes this coach, Dave Belisle of the Cumberland, Rhode Island team, so damn refreshing and even inspirational. I want a guy like this coaching or teaching my kids in anything they do. This is so pitch perfect. In a crappy, crappy week of news, this is most welcome indeed.

UPDATE: Sorry: been having trouble with the embed code. You can see the video here.

  1. Ayase Yano (綾瀬市 矢野) - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    What an amazing coach! Truly inspirational words given to this good kids.

    LLWS managers > Koshien managers.

  2. hojo20 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    I don’t understand why ESPN is lurking with cameras and microphones for a private moment like this. The LLWS has definitely sold out.

    • phipfwe76 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Maybe they do it to remind us there’s more to life than who has more goals/points/runs at the end of the game? I think the LLWS is fantastic television. The games are extremely fun to watch, as are some of the mound visits from coaches.

      • hojo20 - Aug 19, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        Yes, and i notice the games are getting as long/drawn out as MLB. It was 80 minutes into last night’s game and it was only the third inning.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        I’m ambivalent. I don’t think they should be broadcasting 12-year olds. But I think they do it with class and dignity, so I can’t object too strongly. The story is always one of triumph, not failure.

      • chip56 - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        The ironic piece is that while they were replaying it on ESPN the side bar was touting an upcoming story about Johnny Manziel, the direct opposite of everything that coach was teaching his boys to be.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:03 AM

      Well, organizing little league baseball isn’t free, and neither is the travel from all over the world to play in the thing. The more money they can bring in from other sources, the cheaper it is for kids to participate. How is that a bad thing?

      …and “sold out”, with respect to what? Is the LLWS not remaining true to it’s root or purpose by being broadcast?

    • renaado - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      It’s sportsmanship bein shown, a showin of a person no matter the occupation whether it’s in the field or not, just as long you lead by example for the probable future generation of ballplayers that in defeat, there is something gained. It’s bein shown to us, who cared watchin this tournament… It shows a positive feeling or trait, that we might learn something from it too.

  3. stlouis1baseball - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    My office is dusty. I have to have the cleaning lady do a better job next time.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      That line — ‘if I start crying’ — is beautiful. Everything about it beautiful.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        I hear you Man. And for what it’s worth…I am with you on the whole broadcasting thing (in general). But the flip side is…we wouldn’t have the opportunity to witness things such as this. So I guess it’s a little give and take.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        I rarely give ESPN credit for anything. But I think they do a good job with this. The focus is on effort and accomplishment, celebrating the victors without berating the losers. I wish it could seep into their other coverage.

        Roger Angell has a beautiful line about the beauty of a box score, how it balances like an accountant’s ledger. Each success paired with a failure. And so it is. There’s a story for every sporting event, and so much coverage seems to emphasize those who failed — choked, in the common parlance — over those who succeeded. We look for blame. I don’t exempt myself from this at all. But the Little League World Series coverage doesn’t do that. It’s a happy tale, where even the team that scores fewer runs wins something important. The coach has captured that.

        And so, while part of me wishes that this moment were private, I’m glad I was able to eavesdrop on it.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        I don’t mind the broadcasting of the games, it’s the heart-wrenching, “oh look at his face as he just struck out to end the LLWS. Let’s zoom in on him crying his eyes out” stuff I could do without.

  4. stex52 - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    That is the thing kidsports is supposed to be about. Hats off to Dave Belisle. He appears to do it the right way.

    • chip56 - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      It’s what sports is supposed to be about – kids or otherwise.

      • stex52 - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        I don’t disagree with you. But I’m a lot more ambivalent (read “don’t care”) about they handle it at the professional level. Sportsmanship and camaraderie are nice and fun to watch, but optional.

        For teaching boys who will soon be young men about hard work, teamwork and carrying one’s self with maturity, this was great.

  5. chip56 - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Lots of professional coaches could learn something from this guy…though sadly they would probably mock him instead.

  6. yahmule - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    That’s the exact right tone for athletes of that age. Great job, coach.

  7. dinofrank60 - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    That was a marvelous speech; every coach should have that speech in his bag. The parents will say that they ae proud of their kids, so will the town. That is the perfect attitude to take.

    But I bet there is at least one kid who will be still ticked at losing that game. Weeks, months, years from now that will not be a pleasant memory. It won’t ans shouldn’t stop them from living their lives, being happy and productive, but at least one kid will not forget. People say you have to let go, but if it doesn’t hamper your life,why?

  8. bluburt - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Somewhere, Mitch Williams is instructing his kid to drill that coaches kid with a high, hard one…

  9. drewy44 - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    One day I will find that person who cuts those onions near my desk…

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