‘I Still Think It’s a Good Opportunity’
A lot of the Bronx players who took a probability on Columbus have since returned to Latest York. Some, like Agyen, who’s attending Louisville and hopes to walk on to the football team next season, are in college. A number of are pinning their hopes on a community college. Some said they’d not return to high school.
During a walk across the neighborhood where a few of them grew up, Tara Tripaldi, a teacher who has stayed in contact with Agyen since middle school, said the scholars had bonded over a shared struggle. Tripaldi sent Agyen money for food when he called her from Columbus and told her he didn’t have enough to eat.
“This can be a snapshot of what happens to youth sports within the inner city,” she said. “There’s lots of money and greed. A few of these coaches are chasing the identical dreams as the children. That being said, kids within the inner city don’t have access to that training. When someone comes along and says I’m going to take you out of the Bronx, you possibly can play at a Division I school, these kids jump at it. It could not only change their life, but their family’s life.”
Isiah Miller, a 5-foot-8 outside linebacker and defensive end, said he would go to a junior college within the spring, join the track team and shed 25 kilos to hit his ideal weight of 225 kilos. He was confident he could be noticed by colleges.
Jaquan Baxter, 22, who played in a Christians of Faith game the day after he arrived in Columbus, is finished with football, done with school. He delivers for Amazon. “I’m job motivated now,” he said, outside the door of his fifth-floor walk-up apartment, with each landing cluttered with unwanted appliances — a refrigerator, a stove, a radiator. “Every part I placed on the sphere, I need to place into work. I like money and I like fly clothes.”
No one is farther from the large dreams shared on that FaceTime call than Rodney Atkins.
On Wednesday, as he sat on the bed in his otherwise empty room within the psychiatric ward at Jacobi Medical Center, he considered his future. He said he had taken an excessive amount of of his medication and was admitted involuntarily. His hair and beard, once neatly groomed, had turn into unruly. His prescribed medication sometimes left him foggy and lethargic.