âIt’s a snapshot of what’s happening to youth sports in the downtown area,â she said. âThere is a lot of money and greed. Some of these coaches pursue the same dreams as children. That being said, downtown children do not have access to this training. When somebody comes in and says I’m gonna get you out of the Bronx, you can play in a Division I school, these kids jump on it. It can change not only their life, but also the life of their family.
Isiah Miller, a 5-foot-8 outside linebacker and defensive end, said he will attend junior college in the spring, join the track team and lose 25 pounds to reach his ideal weight of 225 pounds. He was sure he would be noticed by the colleges.
Jaquan Baxter, 22, who played in a Christians of Faith game the day after arriving in Columbus, is done with football, is done with school. He delivers for Amazon. âI’m motivated by work now,â he said outside the door of his no-elevator apartment on the fifth floor, every landing cluttered with unwanted household appliances – a fridge, stove, heater. âWhatever I put on the pitch, I want to put it into practice. I love the money and I love the fly clothes.
No one is further from the big dreams shared on that FaceTime call than Rodney Atkins.
As he sat on the bed in his otherwise empty psychiatric ward at Jacobi Medical Center on Wednesday, he reflected on his future. He said he took too much of his medication and was admitted against his will. His hair and beard, once neatly combed, had become unruly. His prescribed medication left him foggy and lethargic at times.
Atkins checked a bracelet on his wrist to remember the date he was admitted: November 28.
Until then, he had been busy repairing the house that belonged to his grandmother, who died on her return from Columbus two years ago. He rents two rooms to earn money and eats most of his meals at the local grocery store. âIn my head, as long as I have three meals and a bed, then I’m fine,â he said.
Atkins is hoping to regain the trust of his former neighborhood teammates, who are suspicious of him for supporting Johnson after all the broken promises. A lot, Atkins said, has been on his shoulders. He did not give up football and school.
Does he regret having gone to Columbus?
âI would say no,â he said. ” It’s an experience. You can always have the pros and cons of everything. I still think it’s a good opportunity, a good vision. But it takes money to make the dream come true, and it was lacking.