I grew up in Novato, but I rooted for Petaluma this past week. It was impossible not to. The team of Little Leaguers, all around age 12 ended up in third place over all (second, nationally) at the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, losing out to a team from Tennessee. As things came down to the end, the amazing thing, and probably the reason for their success and for so many people to rally behind them, was the tone of their coaches.
When the Petaluma team came off the field, seriously trailing Tennessee, the coaches were upbeat and surprisingly casual sounding. My daughter’s softball team faced rabid coaches during the regular season of local rec league play. These guys were on the national stage and they were calm, told the kids to breathe, and told them to do their best. No one yelled at the opponents, questioned calls, or behaved unsportsmanlike conduct. It was refreshing.
The Petaluma team did their family, their town, and California proud. I was worried that after the last out, we’d see boys crying over the loss. Maybe it was their age or maybe it was how this team approached the World Series, but tears were not seen. I hope it’s because they were proud of their accomplishments and knew that they did a fantastic job. What a summer experience.
Way to go, Petaluma boys! Kudos to your families who supported you and made sure you made it back East to play, and congratulations to your coaches who helped you build character as you racked up the wins. We’re proud of you all.