WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Ice cream if you win. Ice cream if you lose.That was the philosophy to which the Rizzo family held firm during Anthony Rizzo's Little League days.John and Laurie Rizzo were honored in Williamsport on Saturday as the Little League Parents of the Year. Long before Anthony became
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Ice cream if you win. Ice cream if you lose.
That was the philosophy to which the Rizzo family held firm during Anthony Rizzo's Little League days.
John and Laurie Rizzo were honored in Williamsport on Saturday as the Little League Parents of the Year. Long before Anthony became a World Series champion, his mom and dad juggled career and parenting duties to help coach his Parkland (Fla.) Little League teams.
"We're nobodies. We know we're just representatives of all the parents of Little League teams," John said. "We're lucky enough to have a kid in the pros. Otherwise, we're nobody special."
Having fun was priority No. 1 in the Rizzo household.
"I wanted the boys to know if we won, we had ice cream," Rizzo said of raising both Anthony and his brother John Jr. "If you went 0-for-5 and we lost, we'd still have ice cream.
"Anthony is still eating ice cream before and after games now. A lot of it."
Anthony's mom, Laurie, also spent plenty of time at the youth ballfields.
"With all the work of being a mom, it was great to spend time with the kids at the field," she said. "It was cute to watch them when they were small."
She didn't know it at the time, but her husband had a secret practice facility -- the inside of their home.
"When I was growing up, I was never allowed to play ball in the house," John said. "I always said that I would let my kids [play ball in the house]. When Laurie would leave the house, all the gear came out, we played, lamps broke ..."
Both parents agreed that their biggest advice to other Little League parents -- aside from protecting their lamps -- is to stay close to your kids and have fun. "It sure [went] fast," John said of his boys' childhoods.
"I'm most proud of the people our sons have become," Laurie added. "They're both good men."
Before heading out to the field to receive the 2017 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award at Lamade Stadium during the Little League World Series, John revealed one more Anthony Rizzo secret.
"Whenever I beat him [at a sport], I'd put my hands up, Muhammad Ali-champion-of-the-world style," he said. "So whenever he puts his hands up like that, like he did after the last out of the World Series, that's what he's saying."
Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com.