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A Valentine’s Day Love Note... The Colorado Family that Little League Brought Together

Volume 3 | Issue 2 | February 2015 | Archive
A Valentine’s Day Love Note... The Colorado Family that Little League Brought Together
At the 2013 Little League Baseball® World Series Awards Breakfast, Volunteer of the Year, Dave Mantlo, got very emotional when thanking his wife, Linda. Without his wife, he may not have been a Little League® volunteer, and without Little League, he might not have his wife.

In 1964, Dave Mantlo, of Grand Junction, Colo., was just trying to impress his girlfriend when he volunteered to umpire a Grand Mesa Little League game.

“I was a senior in high school, and my girlfriend took me to a Little League game,” said Mr. Mantlo. “Her father was looking for an umpire, and I played baseball, so I said I would do it.”

His act of volunteerism worked, and on October 7, 1965, the Mantlos were married. That same year, Mr. Mantlo went from a from-the-stands umpire to a Little League coach, helping his father-in-law coach for the first time. Now, with 51 years as a Little League volunteer under his belt, and only months away from celebrating his 50th Wedding Anniversary, Little League is still at the center of the Mantlos’ life.

Over the course of his volunteer career, Mr. Mantlo has done just about everything at Grand Mesa Little League, where he currently serves as League President. He’s mowed the grass and raked the fields. He’s overseen construction projects and announced games. He first managed a team in 1967. In 1976, he told the league if they bought a lawn mower, he would take care of the fields. He’s on his fifth lawn mower. The Mantlo’s five children, three boys and two girls, all grew up playing Little League, but Mr. Mantlo only coached one of them.

“If you’re coaching your own kids, you’re their dad, not their coach,” said Mr. Mantlo in a Grand Junction Sentinel article.

Instead, he and his friend worked out a deal that they would do their very best to coach each other’s children.

A retired railroad worker, he still devotes 75 to 80 hours a week to Grand Mesa Little League. And through it all, the girl he impressed back in 1964 has been by his side.

“I owe half of everything to my wife. She’s been the greatest. She’s never told me that I’ve spent too much time at Little League,” said Mr. Mantlo in a Grand Junction Sentinel article.

The Mantlos got to experience the Little League Baseball World Series just months before their 48th Anniversary in August 2013, as guests of Little League International. And their story of family and Little League was one of the most heartfelt stories told at the World Series Breakfast. To learn more about the Little League Awards Program, visit LittleLeague.org.
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The Parent Connection - February 2015 - Archive