Losing in sports is really tough. There are no two ways about it. The big competitions — such as the Little League World Series — bring even more pressure to win and thus more disappointment when one team inevitably experiences a loss.
COACH DAVE BELISLE
As coaches and parents of youth sports, it’s HOW we respond to such a loss which is important and can make a difference for the young athletes who are coping with it. We could say so much more on this topic, but for now we’ll let Coach Dave Belisle do the talking. Below is his speech to the Rhode Island Little League team, Cumberland American. This team lost to the Chicago team Jackie Robinson West 8-7 in an elimination game.
Coach Belisle’s words of encouragement and love will resonate deep within the heart of any current or former athlete who has ever experienced a loss. And really, haven’t we all been there?
“Everybody, heads up high. Heads up high. Let’s talk for a moment. I’ve got to see your eyes, guys.
There’s no disappointment, in your effort in the whole tournament and the whole season. It’s been an incredible journey. We fought — look at the score, 8-7, 12-10 in hits — it came to the last out, we didn’t quit. That’s us! Boys, that’s us.
The only reason why I’ll probably end up shedding a tear is because this is the last time I’m going to end up coaching you guys. But I’m going to bring back with me, and the coaching staff is going to bring back with me, and you guys are going to bring back something that no other team can provide but you guys, and that’s pride. OK? Pride. You’re going to take that for the rest of your life, what you provided for a town in Cumberland.
You had the whole place jumping, right? You had the whole state jumping, you had New England jumping, you had ESPN jumping, OK? Because you want to know why? They like fighters. They like sportsmen. They like guys who don’t quit. They like guys who play the game the right way.
We got down to the nitty-gritty. We’re one of the best teams in the world. Think about that for a second — for the world. So we need to go see our parents, because they’re so proud of you. One more, I want a big hug. I want everyone to come in here for one big hug. Then we’re going to go celebrate with our parents, and then tomorrow we’re going to celebrate, and then we’re going to come back home to a big parade. OK? Got it?
I love you guys, I’m gonna love you forever, and you’ve given me the most precious moment of my athletic and coaching career, and I’ve been coaching a long time — a long 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’ll be the boys of summer.
So for the last time, we’re gonna try to suck it up and we’re gonna yell Americans, OK? 1-2-3 …
OK, boys. Good job.”