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Tough love, responsibility practiced on fields in Cambridge, Mass.

Jun 11, 2012 10:59pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Cambridge, Mass.) - The CYSTEM is a way to help kids and they sure practice tough love.

The co-founder said to one complaining boy, "Excuses are for losers, you are a winner."

It's a CYSTEM that seems to work.

For most 10-year-olds, June is not a month to weave through cones and dance through ladders on the football field.

Baseball season is almost over. So is school.

The mind is thinking sand and surf, not sprinting 100 yards with a parachute at your back slowing you down.

Or so you'd think.

"It's kind of tiring, and we just have try our best at what we're doing and we keep working," said Derrick Catwell, of Cambridge.

Back in 2008, a guy from Cambridge named Tyson Boling was coaching Pop Warner.

His team had an undefeated season - and he noticed something else.

All of the kids started getting better grades.

"So we felt like, wow, we don't want to leave this in November. They have a long school year ahead of them, so we've come up with the CYSTEM, City Youth Sports Training and Education Movement," Boling said.

The CYSTEM follows a code of discipline to empower and instill confidence in 8- to 16-year old boys, most of them city kids.

"I like to say they come from pretty good families, but there are some I would worry about. We've filled a void we didn't intend on filling," Boling said.

We met these boys outside of a Celtics playoff game a few weeks ago and were immediately impressed.

On the field, they follow that same code.

We should point out that there is no game after this warm-up - the CYSTEM is only training - but the kids don't seem to mind.

"What I like is about it is how they're trying to keep us fit," said 12-year-old Darian "Tank" Johnson.

"It's helped me get my grades better, helped me get better at football, a lot," said 12-year-old Zyair Boling.

Off the field, the kids check in with a weekly academic report which is incentive based, take classes in sports trivia at the Frisoli Youth Center, and learn about nutrition.

"We get phone calls from home, parents say, my kid's telling me that he's had enough carbs, he needs more protein," Tyson Boling said.

The dangers facing youth were impossible to ignore just last weekend - senseless violence that came much too close for these boys and their parents  - a tragic drive-by shooting that left 16 year old Charlene Holmes dead right across the street from their football field.

"That was an isolated incident. It doesn't really happen over here. It can happen anywhere. And I think that's a lesson for everyone to learn," Tyson Boling said.

The CYSTEM keeps kids engaged, focused on successful outcomes.

Many are already there.

The program costs nothing to parents and kids, which means the CYSTEM generates no money and relies on donations only.

If you'd like to give, or to get involved, go to the website, thecystem.com
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