Dave Belisle’s Children Celebrate Father’s Day with Special Messages to their Dad
Dave Belisle is patriarch to a family that has experienced great triumph and tragedy over the past year.
As the Manager of the Cumberland (R.I.) American Little League team at the 2014 Little League Baseball® World Series, Coach Belisle’s heartfelt speeches to his team, the New England Region Champions, and his honest emotion in the moment, became one of the biggest stories of last year’s Little League® season. It was the second time Mr. Belisle helped lead one of his son’s teams to Williamsport.
A consummate youth sports coach, since last August’s World Series, Mr. Belisle has received a variety of accolades, highlighted by appearances on ESPN; nomination as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and receipt of the Musial Award from the National Sportsmanship Foundation. While in the national spotlight, however, the Belisle family was coping daily with the specter of cancer, and in February of this year, Dave’s wife, Nancy, succumbed to the disease.
Reflecting on the year, and with Father’s Day coming on June 21st, the Belisle boys – Brendan (23), Brian (20), James (16) and John (13) - were asked to share a message to their father in response to the question: What do you want to say to your dad on Father’s Day, but haven’t yet?
Here is what the boys had to say …
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If I would have to be one man when I grow up, honestly, it would be my dad. What he has accomplished, been through, and taught me will last forever. First off, he led a high school hockey team, Mount Saint Charles to 26 state championships in a row. That's not the total, that's in a row. Not only did he win state championships, he has won nationals, as well. In his years of coaching for Mount, his father (Bill Belisle) and he coached future National Hockey League stars – Matthew Schneider, Garth Snow (now a NHL General Manager), Paul Guay, Bryan Berard, and a first-round draft pick Brian Lawton. Now I don't know about you, but that seems like something to hang on your fridge. Going from hockey to baseball, he wasn't expected to be the top-notch baseball coach because he was known for hockey. Around June 2011 was the start of my 12-year-old All-Star Season. We won the state title my 11-year-old year. Bristol (New England Region Tournament) and Williamsport were not even an option to us at that point. Somehow, in some way, we found ourselves on a bus to the Little League Baseball World Series. Just incredible! “These were the best moments of my life,” he says. But, hey, why not go again?! In 2014, my little brother, John, and his team were in the same boat as us, but he knew a lot about the World Series because we’d all been there before. During this time, as we all know something was “happening” in the Belisle family that honestly would leave a hole in my heart for the rest of my life. Do you want to know something real neat?! My dad wasn't going to coach last year’s team. He didn't think he could do it, not with what's going on. But somehow, again my dad being the strong man he is, battled through it. He didn't do it for me, my brothers, or the TV. He did it because my mom told him: “You’re doing it. You’re not going to let Johnny down... I want you to make this summer John’s favorite for the rest of his life.” Mark my words, she said, “You’re taking Johnny back to Williamsport, not to watch … to play!” So having that motivation, he did just that. I don't understand or comprehend how my dad does it. I'm so thankful for what he's blessed me with, and choosing a mom like no other. I'm so grateful to spend 16 full years with not only the love of your life, but mine as well. My family lost our mom, but I can’t imagine what my dad’s feeling is losing the women he's been in love with for over 20 years. You've taught me how to be a gentleman, a hard worker, great student, great athlete, and so much more. You were blessed with something special and I'm grateful for that. Thanks Dad. You’re not only making us boys proud, but most important, mom is smiling down on all of us.
Happy Father's Day
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I could not be any more proud of my father. There is no better example of a genuinely good person, who cares about people.
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I want to thank you for always being there for me. You continue to amaze me. Your strength not only holds this family together, but also creates a bond that will last a lifetime. Mom is looking down knowing she married a good man. You aren't just a father. You're an inspiration.
Happy Father's Day!
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I just want to say I think you are the strongest man alive. You are the best Dad a kid could ask for. Mom was lucky to have you. I love you.