Somerville Little League celebrated it's 60th year with opening day ceremonies held Saturday.
To celebrate the occasion, Little League and tee-ball players marched from Somerville High School to Conway Park on Somerville Avenue, as they do every year to commemorate the beginning of the season.
This year, the league gave the 2012 Coach's Award to John Alan Roderick, who's coached Somerville Little League for 19 years.
"It was a surprise," said, Roderick, explaining he didn't know he was going to receive the award.
Giving an impromptu speech at the cerebration, he told parents that Little League engages children during an important period of their development and that "you will look back at this time when you get older with tremendous nostalgia."
"I've coached with a lot of really good people," he said after the ceremony.
Roderick coaches the Dodgers in Somerville Little League's "minor league" system, for kids who are 8 to 10 years old. He said the game at that level is mostly instructional. "The kids come out and understand the meaning of community," he said.
In an email, Roderick, who feels "baseball is the purest 'game' of all," explained what he tells kids on his team at the beginning of each season:
Every year, after the practice season before we take the field for our first game, I gather the team together in a circle and explain that today, for the first time, we play baseball. And that from this moment forward, no matter what happens to them during the season and, in fact, during their lifetimes, they will always be able to say 'I was once part of a BASEBALL team.' It’s something that, I feel, rounds out a person’s life.