Westwood Little League Parade Kicks off 2012 Season [VIDEO]
More than 700 youths marched in the Westwood Little League Parade on Saturday, April 28th.
On Saturday morning, more than 700 boys and girls marched through the streets of Westwood for the annual Westwood Little League parade.
The sun was shining but it was a chilly day as a brisk breeze blew through the rows of Westwood Little Leaguers following the red strobes and honking horns of the Westwood Fire Department trucks for the 2012 Little League Parade on Saturday, April 28th.
The parade began at the Paul Hanlon School and ended at Morrison Park, but it didn’t stop there. All the teams and their families gathered around the field for the after-parade festivities, starting off with a booming heartfelt National Anthem from singer-songwriter Chris Trapper, followed by the first pitch from Coach of the WHS State Championship Golf Team, Matt Gillis, who was also recently named Westwood's new Athletic Director.
The festivities were led by Westwood Little League President John Loughnane; Event Director Michelle Berluti, Vice President Gary Cappuccino, and Wally the Green Monster.
Raffles were read, smiles were seen all over, shining bright as the day sun as the little ones accepted their prizes. There was face painting, snacks, and balloon twisting with Silly Willy the Clown. Also there were guest tables for the Pan Mass Challenge and for the Troop 3 Mother’s Day Plant Fundraiser.
This is Loughnane’s second year as President of the League.
“I have coached in the League for several years,” said Loughnane. “We have a board consisting of seventeen people and we meet at least monthly throughout the year. The board also has several committees that work on various aspects of the program such as player development, special events, and the redevelopment of Morrison Park.”
For more information on the Morrison Park Redevelopment Project, visit the Westwood Little League's website.
“Roche Brothers and the Roche family have made a very generous $100,000 commitment to the project," said Loughnane. "Work on the plans continue and more information should be available soon."
Burluti has helped to organize the Little League Parade for the past several years, along with about twenty volunteers. For Loughnane, last year’s parade was a memorable moment for him.
“Coming together on the field and seeing the kids progress form one level to the next is a sure sign that Spring has arrived," he said. "I especially like how the parade begins together other with other members of the community such as the Boy Scouts and the Pan Mass Challenge.”
Loughnane thanked a number of individuals who helped support the event.
“I would especially like to thank Michelle for her tireless work organizing the parade. I would also like to thank her committee of volunteers," he said. "I would like to thank the entire board to the countless hours they put into the program. I would like to thank all the coaches, the assistant coaches, and the umpires. I would like to thank parent volunteers who help run the snack shack and other duties. I would like to thank the parents for all the hours getting ready for and attending games and practices. I would like to thank all of our generous sponsors. I would also like to thank—most importantly—all of our players at all levels for their interest and devotion to the great game of baseball.”
Loughnane was a Little Leaguer himself, and has fond memories of his time playing.
“My last season was on the Major League Mets—I think we were almost as good as the real Major League Mets are today,” Loughnane said.
He also reflected on getting some hits, making great plays, encouragement from coaches, the parades, hanging out with friends outside and enjoying ice creams on summer nights, and the struggles and challenges that led to improvement.
“Baseball is a challenging game," he said. "It takes work both physically and mentally. It takes patience. After all the hard work is put in, there is nothing more exciting than a well played game that challenges each player to do their best and—win or lose—be prepared to come back next time and try again.”