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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > The Parent Connection > 2015 > The Parent Connection - March > Exclusive Little League® Interview: Mike Lupica – National Sports Writer, Novelist, Sports TV Personality, Little League Grad and Dad

Exclusive Little League® Interview: Mike Lupica – National Sports Writer, Novelist, Sports TV Personality, Little League Grad and Dad

Volume 3 | Issue 3 | March 2015 | Archive
Exclusive Little League® Interview: Mike Lupica – National Sports Writer, Novelist, Sports TV Personality, Little League Grad and Dad
Mike Lupica is one of the preeminent sports writers in America. A syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News, Mr. Lupica has also written several sports-themed novels for young adults, including his latest work, The Only Game. For the past 15 years, Mr. Lupica has been a TV anchor for ESPN's The Sports Reporters and also hosts his own radio program, The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN Radio New York.

A father of four, Mr. Lupica is a Little League® graduate, and a former Little League coach. He recently took some time to speak with The Parent Connection.

The Parent Connection: Where did you play Little League?

Mike Lupica: It was in Oneida, N.Y., what feels like 9,000 years ago. But one thing hasn’t changed in all that time: I was a second baseman in Oneida. After we moved to Nashua, N.H., I was a second baseman, and I am still a second baseman in my Saturday morning softball game in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

TPC: What was your fondest Little League memory?

ML: My fondest memory is standing in there in Oneida against a side-arming right-hander named Virgil Salm. I had never seen a side-armer before. But I kept my front leg in, and got a hit off him.

TPC: Did your children play Little League? If so, what was is like to be a Little League parent and coach?

ML: My three sons all played Little League. I coached the two youngest ones. I told them what I told all the players I ever coached in any sport: There was going to be one team in the league that approached sports and honored its values the way I thought sports should be honored - That was going to be our team. And I would give a million dollars to go back and have one more Friday night or Saturday afternoon, on those fields, with my sons still at Little League age.

TPC: In your experience, list some of the direct benefits of children playing Little League?

ML: They learn teamwork, and loyalty, two things that I believe are the rock-solid foundation of a proper childhood. And hopefully, they learn that sports aren’t life or death. And they learn that the rulebook in sports isn’t a buffet table, where you pick out the rules you like and reject the rest.

TPC: What can professional ball players learn from Little Leaguers®?

ML: The sheer joy of being young and having a game to play should not be taken for granted. Before every game I ever coached, I called my kids around me and pointed up into the bleachers and said, “See all those adults up there? Every one of them would change places with you in a heartbeat, and have one more game like this to play.”

TPC: Do you have any advice on how parents and children can get the most out of the youth sports experience?

ML: The parents just need to understand that the games are about the kids. The kids need to understand that maybe their parents still know things about sports, and playing the right way, that they don’t yet know.

TPC: Why do you enjoy writing sports-themed children's books?

ML: It is a way for me to honor the beauty of sports, and childhood. The books I write are like the ones I read as a boy, when I first dreamed of being a writer. They ARE about loyalty and friendship and teamwork. And getting back up, like a champion, after you get knocked down.

TPC: What is it about youth baseball that prompted you to use that setting for the backdrop for many your stories?

ML: Sports are a way for me to get my young readers to open my books, and realize that the boys and girls I am writing about are just like them. No vampires, no zombies, no wizards. Just kids trying to do something great in sports. As I go around the country, I tell kids that Chapter One, Page One, of a book you want to read is the greatest adventure of all.

TPC: What words come to mind when you think of Little League?

ML: Fun. Spring and summer nights. Green grass, white lines, infield chatter. The crack of the bat.
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The Parent Connection - March 2015 - Archive