Buddy’s Blog: Coach Gives Pep Talk
I hope you saw the post-game pep talk that Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle gave to his team after they were eliminated from the Little League World Series. Mr. Belisle is the ideal for coaches of our youth in America today. The kind of gentleman all parents should want to coach their children.
His team had just lost a very close contest to Chicago, 8-7, and he gathered his young troops, tears in their eyes, for a final pep talk. “Heads up…I gotta see your eyes…There is no disappointment in your effort…the whole tournament, the whole season, it’s been an incredible journey…we didn’t quit…look at the score. It came down to the last out. That’s us. The only reason why I’ll probably shed a tear is because this is the last time I’m going to coach you guys…It’s ok to cry, because we’re not going to play baseball together anymore. But we’re going to be friends forever…So we need to see your parents, because they are proud of you. One more thing…I want a big hug…I love you guys. I’m gonna love you forever. You’ve given me the most precious moments in my athletic and coaching career…I need memories like this. You are all my boys.”
Dave Belisle is also an outstanding coach of the hockey team at Rhode Island’s Mt. Charles Academy, one of the finest programs in New England. He represents everything that is good about athletics. He is truly the poster boy for everything that is good about sports, not a Johnny Manziel or a Tiger Woods. I have two grandsons who are athletic and compete in a few sports at the Little League level, and I have observed well intentioned coaches who should take lessons from Mr. Belisle. Sometimes it is forgotten, by parents and coaches, that Little League Baseball, Pop Warner Football, youth hockey or any similar age sport deals with children, and how they are taught and treated has a lasting effect. Our youth, at this age especially, can be easily influenced, and great care should be exercised by coaches and parents to teach not only the correct fundamentals of their sport but also, and more importantly, the correct fundamentals and values of life. Those values will make them solid, contributing members of our society and culture. Very few who participate in youth athletic programs will ever play professionally. The boys from Rhode Island were taught well and those lessons and values will last throughout their lives.