WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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"That's awful," Fadule says of the show. "That goofy stuff on the tel- evision, it's the worst thing for football. It's guys that never grew up, projecting that stuff onto kids." Maiona calls the people on the show "dinosaurs," representing a dying breed of coaches who use the notion of "character development" as an excuse to verbally abuse kids, and whose real goals center around winning to stroke their own egos. Both Fadule and Maiona say that youth sports have undergone sev- eral transformations over the past few decades – from kids playing dis- organized sandlot ball, to hardnosed coaches advising injured kids to "rub some dirt on it," to leagues that give every child a trophy to boost their self esteem. Now several manifestations exist all at once: there's the unchecked aggression of Friday Night Tykes, the free spirit of leagues that don't keep score, and the relentless intensity of some par- ents who push their kids to play a single sport year-round in hopes of snagging a Division I college scholarship. (Although Fadule's older sons throw with a private quarterback coach, he doesn't like the idea of young kids becoming one-sport specialists. "It starts to have the feel of the 1970s Iron Curtain, where kids are taken from four-years-old and told they're going to be weightlifters or skaters," he says.) So, which of these approaches does it take to lead a group of kids to 40 straight victories? Fadule says he tries to strike a balance with his team, demanding hard work and smart play from the boys without putting pressure on them. "Honestly, I never mentioned the word 'winning' before this year," he says. "And if I did mention it this year, it was when we were in the playoffs. For me, it was about, what you want to do in life is you do your best. If the other team beats you, and you walk off that field and you did your best, that's all you can do." "There's some yelling, but it's constructive yelling," says Sandy Seifert, whose son Charlie plays on Fadule's team. "If the kid doesn't do their job, they're going to get called out on it. But I've never seen a kid cry. Charlie's never come home and been upset." "His style is a little gruff," Maiona acknowledges. "He can be a bit of a disciplinarian. But the kids all knew that the bark was worse than his bite, and they grew to love him, and they expected it." Much of the recent discussion about youth football has centered not on winning versus losing, or yelling versus mollycoddling, but on a sin- gle word: concussions. Pop Warner, probably the best-known youth football organization in the country, has reported drops in participation during the past couple of years as head injuries in sports have received more attention, and Maiona says there have been small dips in partici- pation in Wellesley, too. Some commentators, including a Boston Globe columnist, have predicted that football is on its way to the same fate as 112 Little Champions W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 4 B A C K G R O U N D : D A V I D L E E J I M F A D U L E J E N N I F E R H A L L O R A N S A R A H G R E E N E 108-114_WWMb14_football champions_v2_WellesleyWeston Magazine 4/24/14 4:02 PM Page 112

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