BOSTON (CBS) – The coach of the Cumberland, R.I., Little League team is getting some high praise Tuesday for the way he addressed his players after a tournament-ending loss.
On Monday night the Cumberland Americans were eliminated from the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., after an 8-7 loss to the team from Chicago.
But coach Dave Belisle assured his team after the defeat that they had no reason to be disappointed. The moment was caught by ESPN cameras, and the video has gone viral as a display of positive coaching and motivation.
Belisle said during the speech that the only reason he might shed a tear is that it was the final time he will coach this group of players. Aside from that, he told his team, there was no reason to be disappointed after his squad proved to be one of the best in the world.
In Cumberland on Tuesday at the team’s practice field, Recreation Director Michael Crawley reflected on the scene Monday night when more than 100 residents watched the game and speech on a big screen in a local park.
“Everybody stood and watched that. And everybody clapped,” said Crawley. “It was dark out. So I’m sure there were some teary eyes after listening to that speech.”
Though Belisle’s speech has drawn the attention of a national audience, Cumberland Town Councilor Arthur Lambi Jr. said it came as no surprise to local Little League supporters.
“This is what Cumberland really is all about. But it’s not just about winning baseball. It’s about the camaraderie, the experience,” said Lambi Jr.
Kelly Easterbrook, a local mother, found herself thinking of her own children’s future in youth sports when watching Belisle address his team.
“I actually had a few tears in my eyes. It was really inspiring,” said Easterbrook. “I can only hope one day that they have a coach like that.”
Cumberland players will take in the Little League World Series atmosphere through Wednesday. On Thursday they will return home to Rhode Island with a police escort and celebration on the agenda.
“Some of these coaches and some of these parents are taking the fun out of this sport, and all sports,” Crawley said of Belisle. “He’s trying to bring that back.”
There are multiple resources available online for youth coaches, including the Positive Coaching Alliance.
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