After football practice at Overtown's Williams Park each day, 13-year-old wide receiver Gerald Johnson walks off the grassy field with sweat sluicing down his forehead. "Bye, Fat Albert," his buddies call. That's Gerald's nickname, even though he's skinny as a twig. He tucks soggy shoulder pads into a bag and saunters home through Town Park Village -- a smattering of tightly packed public housing that borders the field. Folks on door stoops nod. A few whistle. He's a hero.
Photo by Chuck Strouse The Rattlers have practiced in Overtown for more than 20 years.
"This is where I grew up," the Jose De Diego Middle Schooler says with a crooked smile. "People in the neighborhood know me. They take care of me."More »