Young football players from some of the city’s most violent neighborhoods huddled with their coach in Jackson Park, their white helmets and red jerseys glowing beneath the playing field’s high-intensity lamps.
Champions in their local league, the 13- and 14-year-olds in the Wolfpack team had four days to practice for a regional competition in Tennessee. “I don’t have time to be playing around,” coach Ernest Radcliffe told his team at a recent practice. “If you don’t listen, you go home. Hey, let’s go. One lap.”