That's us, boys, that's us
August 19, 2014 10:59 PM   Subscribe

Representing New England in the Little League World Series, the Cumberland, RI American team lost to Jackie Robinson West of Chicago in a 8 - 7 game Monday night. Coach Dave Belisle's consolation speech to his team has been making the rounds as an example of the best of youth coaching.

In addition to coaching Little League, Dave Belisle is the assistant hockey coach for Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, RI. His father, Bill Belisle, led MSC to 26 consecutive state titles, a feat memorialized in the documentary Ice Kings.

Although Coach Belisle is the assistant coach to his father, earlier this year, he was selected as National Federation of High Schools' Coach of the Year. Here's five things you should know about Dave Belisle.
posted by Ruki (22 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, that's the good stuff.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:21 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Watching this made this old Rhode Islander's heart swell with pride.
posted by Jernau at 11:37 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Full disclosure: I live in Cumberland, but do not know the Belisle family and did not know about their coaching history before yesterday. I ran this by the mods before posting.
posted by Ruki at 11:44 PM on August 19, 2014

I love that guy.
posted by disclaimer at 11:56 PM on August 19, 2014

That was some pretty amazing extemporaneous speaking.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:18 AM on August 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Glad you posted it Ruki. I used to bike up Diamond Hill Road to visit a young lady I knew way back in the 80's, later on I ended up working for a summer at the Anne & Hope garden shop. Cumberland was a great town back then. Seems even better now that I know about Coach Belisle.
posted by Jernau at 12:21 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dave Belisle represents the essence of all that is good in sport - i.e. taking pride in doing one's best; working (practicing) hard to achieve excellence; hoping your opponent has his/her best day, in order to bring out your best; cooperating selflessly with others in pursuit of a goal; knowledge that winning is important, but that it isn't everything - and losing is an opportunity to learn; knowing how to navigate disappointment with grace.

We need more coaches like Dave Belisle, and more men like Dave Belisle, too.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:23 AM on August 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


Barstool sports could benefit from a 5 dollar commenting hurdle.
posted by drowsy at 3:58 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

That was fantastic.
posted by Mchelly at 4:19 AM on August 20, 2014

I coached a Peewee hockey team last year. After a so-so season my boys really hit their stride in the playoffs. They played solid hockey in the round robin and carried that over into the quarter final. In the end the game was decided in overtime via a goal that took a weird bounce over the goalie's shoulder. My guys were devasted.

In the locker room I told them how proud they should be, how I couldn't of asked for anything more. But my speech sounded like incoherent rambling compared to this coach. I wish I could be half as eloquent as this guy was. That was a truly inspiring talk he gave,
posted by smcniven at 4:35 AM on August 20, 2014

Thank you for posting that. Those kids have a lot to be thankful for.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:40 AM on August 20, 2014

Nice. That's baseball.
posted by petebest at 5:40 AM on August 20, 2014

My dad was like this when I was in gradeschool sports. He made sure everyone played, everyone was included, etc.

I wasn't particularly athletic (much to his chagrin), but I wasn't the worst player on the teams. But I often got "cut" or put on a lower team specifically because then he wouldn't be coach of the "A" team.

This guy? Good on him.
posted by notsnot at 6:03 AM on August 20, 2014

I put in about 15 seasons of coaching youth baseball and basketball. I like to think I was a positive influence on the kids I coached.

This guy doesn't have to wonder about that.
posted by COD at 6:16 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why was this done publicly on the field? Is that normal?
posted by eugenen at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2014

Youth baseball doesn't come with locker rooms. Williamsport may actually have them as it is the LLWS, but the tradition throughout the season likely would have been for the post game chat to take place either in the dugout, or right behind it, if you were clearing out in a hurry because the next game as already starting late.
posted by COD at 7:04 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

The whole stadium wasn't watching, either; the coach was mic'd for television.
posted by Spatch at 10:12 AM on August 20, 2014

Is there a transcript anywhere?
posted by Mr. Six at 3:15 PM on August 20, 2014

posted by rmd1023 at 7:04 PM on August 20, 2014

Is there a transcript anywhere?

Yes. Here.

Better Yet:

Heads up high. Heads up high. I've gotta see your eyes, guys. There's no disappointment in your effort — in the whole tournament, the whole season. It's been an incredible journey.

We fought. Look at the score – 8-7, 12-10 in hits. We 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 that this is the last time I'm going to coach you guys. But I'm going to bring back with me, the coaching staff is going to bring back, you guys are going to bring back that no one other team can provide – that's pride. Pride.

You’re going to take that for the rest of your lives, what you provided for the town of Cumberland. You had the whole place jumping, right? You had the whole state jumping. You had New England jumping. You had ESPN jumping. OK? 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. If everyone would play baseball like the Cumberland Americans, this would be the greatest game.

The lessons you guys have learned along the journey, you're never going to forget. We're going to have some more fun. We have two more days of fun. When you walk around this ballpark in the next couple of days, they're going to look at you and say: 'Hey, you guys were awesome!'

Everybody has said: You guys are awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Absolutely awesome.

It's OK 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. OK? 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!

OK. Good job. Let's go. Time to go.
posted by New Frontier at 7:25 PM on August 20, 2014 [5 favorites]

posted by Mr. Six at 12:54 AM on August 21, 2014

Follow up: The team came home tonight, to a celebration at a local park. Coach Belisle gave another speech. It's long, about 11 minutes, but the highlight is around the 8 minute mark-

"You know, when I, when I made that speech, um, I just want you to know, and most of the people who know me, I, I didn't know that mic was on. (pause, as he gets choked up) 'Cause that speech... was meant for them, so let's hear it for them, that speech was for them. (long applause) And I want you to know, that, you know that, that speech, you know, when you have such special kids and you've you've gone for such a long ride, ok, and a great ride, and you have such beautiful people like them, sharing memories together, and it has to come to an end, ok, it's pretty easy to go to Wright Field like we did every day, ok, and say something like that. Because they are special, and they are. So if my speech went viral, and I had to ask my , my son what does viral mean, 'cause I had no idea. If it did, and the message was, was heard loud and clear for any coach that was out there, or any young mother or father who was thinking about playing Little League baseball and hoping that the experience is a great one, and they hear a speech like that and it's all good, so be it. But I hope that, I, I can tell you this, ok, walking through Williamsport, ok, in that park, these kids were rock stars. Rock. Stars. (applause) And I can promise you this, I'm not going anywhere, on any radio station, any tv show, although my wife wants to go on Ellen DeGeneres, but that's not happening... (laughs) I got the call today... (laughs) I'm not going, I'm not going without them two (motioning to his assistant coaches) and those kids. 'Cause they're the team, we're a team, and we don't separate, we stay together. We stay together."
posted by Ruki at 6:21 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

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