By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,719)
For Coach Vincenzo Salamone football is more than winning or loosing games. It’s an opportunity for his fifty (50) middle school students to learn about being on a team and what that means.
Coach Salamone, who grew up on Munjoy Hill, is struggling against a strong tide as fewer and fewer middle school students participate in football. Last year there were sixty-five (65) on his team and this year fifty (50) signed up to play.
There are probably a few reasons for this decline. More kids are specializing in sports. The on-going negative publicity about concussions is a factor as well. “It’s a very different world today. Kids are distracted by technical advances like video games,” the Coach said. The middle schools in Portland have cut funding for their football programs so there is less exposure to the game early in their lives.
Despite struggling against the tide, Coach continues his commitment to teaching the skills of the game as well as how to be part of a team. “I emphasize that to get things done we all have to work together. When things aren’t going well, we don’t criticize and point fingers at each other,” said Coach this past Saturday afternoon near the East End Community School on Munjoy Hill. “Football is about time management as well. Kids need to learn to balance it with school work. We also teach respect for each other. For some, there is no other place to learn the values of team play.” The team had just finished its only fund-raising event of the year.
Coach Salamone played his college football at Acadia University in Nova Scotia at an offensive guard. He was on a National Championship eam in 1981 and four times was an all conference player. He and his wife run a Day Care Center, Annie’s Place. .
The team practices Monday – Friday at Fox Field between 5:30 – 7:00 pm. It is playing Windham on October 6th.