SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — A youth baseball coach from Rhode Island who has become an Internet sensation for the inspiring speech he made after his team was eliminated from the Little League World Series says the talk was spontaneous and from the heart.
Players on David Belisle's team from Cumberland were crying after Monday night's 8-7 loss to Chicago in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, when he kneeled down and told them they should be proud.
Belisle told the players they were one of the best teams in the world and they had their hometown and the state of Rhode Island jumping with excitement. One YouTube video of the speech had more than 350,000 views by Wednesday morning.
"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," he told his players. "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 - that's pride. OK? Pride."
He added: "It's OK to cry, because we're not going to play baseball together anymore. But we're going to be friends forever. Friends forever."
Belisle told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that he wanted the boys to walk off that field as proud as could be.
Belisle also coaches the Mount St. Charles high school boys hockey team in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a powerhouse in New England. Coaching runs in the family: He is the son of renowned Mount St. Charles coach Bill Belisle, who led the team to a record 31 state titles and 10 national titles. The elder Belisle had 20 players drafted by the NHL.