New England champ Fairfield, Conn., manager Bill Meury and coaches T.J. Paoletta and John Lucas all played minor league and/or Division I college baseball.
They know as well as anyone how much losing hurts, especially when the games become so big. They have watched their kids grow up together in the Fairfield American Little League and they have watched them reach incredible heights.
The whole time they never forgot what it's like to be a kid playing a game. That is why they knew exactly what to say when their players looked so dejected after a 5-0 elimination loss to California on Tuesday night.
"You're with these kids an awful lot and they're terrific. We love them," Meury said. "You don't want them to walk off that field feeling like failures. That is not what happened. It would have been better to win the game, but they had a great summer and a great three years."
So rather than treat the post-game discussion in right field as a funeral, the coaches treated at as a celebration.
And this team had plenty to celebrate.
Fairfield won three consecutive state championships the past three seasons at different age levels. It won the Eastern Region title as 10-year-olds and this season became the second in league history to reach the Little League World Series.
Once here, the New England champions made quite an impact, winning a league-record two games while finishing fourth in the country. Will Lucas threw a no-hitter Monday against Indiana, and the team hit well throughout the lineup in wins over Nebraska and Indiana.
They are the best team in Fairfield American League history and these players and coaches now have a lasting legacy.
"We told them you should walk off this field with your heads held high," Meury said. "You gave Fairfield one of the best summers it's ever had."
Remarkably, the group lost only four games in three seasons. Considering the elite tournaments Fairfield competed in, that is a standard that may never again be reached by its league's teams.
The bar has been raised in Fairfield and this team has shown all who follow it how to play the game the right way. The coaches, too, have shown all those who follow them how to coach it the right way.
Like so many teams here, Fairfield was surrounded by positive energy. The New England champions were as fundamentally sound as any team, but they also had as much, if not more fun, than any team.
The coaches made sure the team always kept things in the proper perspective.
"The coaches are phenomenal. They have integrity and are great character people," Fairfield American Little League President John Sohigian said. "There's no better people that could be coaching. We've got a number of coaches with collegiate experience, but they are very special with the kids. They are tremendous as far as leadership and have a great way of talking to kids.
"They are great teachers, all of them."
And all the players have proven themselves great, too. The three-year record speaks for itself. This team won games in nearly every way possible, blowing out several but also rallying for dramatic wins.
Fairfield went 19-1 en route to reaching South Williamsport and outscored six regional opponents, 62-8. It showed how poised it can be in that tournament as well, edging Rhode Island, 1-0, in its opener and dramatically beating Vermont, 4-3, in a seven-inning semifinal.
As the years go by, though, the experiences players remember most will be the ones away from the field. This team loves playing, but they are kids who have soaked up everything the Series has to offer as well.
"It's really fun meeting other players from other countries and really fun playing on such a nice field," pitcher/first baseman Matt Kubel said. "We made really good friends with Japan. Even though we speak different languages we communicate a lot in the game room."
Meury said his team is planning on staying until today or Friday. No games were left to play, but there is plenty of fun to be had.
"The boys want to hang out and enjoy it a little bit and let Williamsport wash over them," he said.
The games and their results will start to fade. Those ping-pong games, those laughs, those good times - they will last forever.
And back in Fairfield, what this team accomplished will forever be remembered.
"They have played at a level that you just don't see normally," Fairfield board member and 2010 Series coach Larry Klein said. "We've had a lot of success the last few years and I don't know the answer. We just have to enjoy it."