No one wants to see it come to an end. At least that’s the feeling I got at Sunday’s celebration of the Petaluma’s third place finish in the Little League World Series. Graduations, weddings, and a ticker-tape parade – those kind of events, regardless of what else is happening in the world or in your life, are an opportunity to share pure joy with a community of people who feel exactly the same way. That feeling doesn’t happen very often and when it does, it should be savored.

The Petaluma Downtown Association which worked closely with the Little League officials on organizing the event is to be congratulated. It could have turned into a commercial free-for-all because lots of people wanted to share in the reflected glory of the team. But to their credit, it was all about the kids. Only the team and the Petaluma Junior High and high school bands were in the parade. There weren’t any floats promoting businesses or organizations, just the somewhat stunned faces of the adorable kids and their bursting-at-the-seams proud parents and siblings waving at the enthusiastic crowd. It was short but sweet.

At Walnut Park where the introductions, speeches and awards were given, the same non-commercial, non-exploitive atmosphere continued. The hot dogs and ice cream were free, thanks to the Rotary and Clover-Stornetta and water was a very reasonable $1 with the proceeds going to the Ugandan team. It would have been such a shame if the park had been filled with vendors hawking merchandise in order to make a buck off the achievements of the Little League-rs. Instead, it stayed pure to what it was all about: honoring an amazing group of talented kids, wise and devoted coaches and sacrificing parents.

To Petaluma and the team; you made us all proud from beginning to end.