It’s easy to forget they’re just kids on a wild adventure.
Most of the players at the Little League World Series won’t go on to athletic super-stardom. They’re in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to have fun and only one group will go home to a championship party.
That doesn’t mean they can’t go on to superstar status in another field and Elmora (Elizabeth, New Jersey) Youth Little League team manager Jairo Labrador made sure his kids knew it.
Elizabeth lost to Eastbank (River Edge, Louisiana) Little League by a 4-1 score on Wednesday in an elimination game. The Louisiana team will play in the U.S. semifinal on Thursday.
In his final postgame speech, Labrador reminded his players he loved them and they had the entire city behind them.
“Elizabeth, New Jersey, is now known in the best light because of this group of boys. Because of you guys and the work you did. I want to thank you guys. We’re here because of you guys and your work. Happy graduation day to my 12-year-olds. Happy graduation. You guys are going on and be superstars on the big field. It was an honor.”
The second part of his speech was shared by ESPN as he congratulated individuals and praised them for their fight.
Labrador joins a long list of coaches who were caught delivering an uplifting speech to their teams after late-tournament losses. In 2014, Dave Belisle of Cumberland American Little League delivered a long, heart-tugging speech to his team about holding their heads high and bringing pride home to their town.
This is what the tournament is about.
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