LOWELL -- It was the championship game of the Pawtucketville Youth Organization about 20 years ago, and the result didn't seem to matter.
The players on the Angels, ages 6 to 8, knew they would leave with a trophy win or lose.
But apparently, there is crying in baseball.
"We lost by one run and one of my coaches, he was so upset, he actually sat on the ground and cried," Pauline Vivier said with a laugh. "I'll always remember that, and he was so funny. He just sat there. The kids weren't even upset. There are just some things you remember and I can't forget that."
Vivier, who coached in the PYO for 30 years, remembers everything about her "little angels." She can tell you all the teams she's led, all the great championship games, and even the most humorous episodes from her time on the field.
Vivier is retiring from coaching this year. At age 68, she'll stay on as the minor league commissioner, but said it's time to step down from the mound at Ronald W. Montbleau Field.
"It breaks my heart," she said.
Vivier started with the division in 1984. Her niece, Rose Bergeron, then 17, wanted to coach but she was too young and needed an adult supervisor. Vivier volunteered.
"I said, 'Rose, I don't know anything about it.' She said, 'Let's just put your name down. Come on the field with me and I'll do everything,' " Vivier recalled.
Vivier said a part of her wanted to prove something to her husband, Bob. He had been coaching in the PYO for a year, and was always down at the park. She said she grew tired of waiting for him to come home. One night, she told him said he'd be seeing less of her.
"I said, 'You'll never be able to do it,' " Bob Vivier remembered. "At the time, she used to know nothing about it and I'll tell you how much she didn't know. She took the little kid by the hand and helped him run to first base in her first game. I was there and I told her, 'You can't do that!' She said, 'He's got little legs. He can't run that fast!' "
Bob Vivier, 67, a Lowell native, is in his 32nd season with the PYO, is its senior league commissioner, and continues to coach ages 13 to 16. He said he is proud of his wife, whom he met when they were both 16. He said she was waiting on him as a server at an ice cream stand in Billerica and he asked her out.
Through the years, Pauline Vivier coached her children, Paula Descheneaux and Bob Vivier Jr., and her grandchildren, Tyler and Ryan Descheneaux. One of her "little angels" coaches alongside her husband.
"She learned it all herself," Bob Vivier said. "She has a great rapport with her kids. And the kids love her."
Ray Boutin, president of the Pawtucketville Youth Organization, said it will be a different Opening Day for the league this month without Pauline. Boutin said few of the 140 coaches in the league typically stay longer than the time their kids are in the sport. He said she's a volunteer to admire.
"She's been a past president. And she was the concession manager when we didn't have parent volunteers. Pauline used to open and close the concession stand at the start and end of every game we had," he said. "It goes deeper, the dedication that she has. ... And she really cares about her kids."
Pauline Vivier still works part time as a housekeeper at Lowell General Hospital. She said she knows parents today don't have as much time, but she hopes people will continue to give back to the youth league.
"My heart is still into it," she added. "I'm going to miss all my Angels I've had."
At Montbleau Field, she said she knew she had the respect of her younger players. She said her team won the championship last season, a perfect retirement gift.
"I went into the dugout and I told them when we were a little behind for the score, 'Do you guys want to win the game? You want trophies? ... Go out there then and prove it to me,'" she said. "And they did. They respected me and I respected them. That's what's important."
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