From Albert Samaha’s feature, Mo Better Football: An Imperiled Pop Warner Program Still Draws Middle-Class Families to Brownsville:
The writer Alfred Kazin described his native Brownsville as “a place that measured success by our skill in getting away from it.” Yet twice a week, professionals like Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Sylvia Ash and sales rep Parrish Johnson drive in from middle-class enclaves like Bensonhurst, Kew Gardens, Westchester County, and Staten Island, rolling through tolls and traffic to get their sons to a dilapidated field in one of Brooklyn’s roughest areas by 5:45 p.m.
About half of Mo Better’s players come from outside the neighborhood. Dwight Clark, a Port Authority police officer, makes the hour-long trek from Bergenfield, New Jersey. Laurisse Rodriguez, a high school teacher in Far Rockaway, sacrifices overtime pay during the season to pick up her eight-year-old at school in East New York, stop at McDonald’s so he can eat and finish his homework, then hustle to practice, where she grades papers during the tackling drills and wind sprints.
ALL PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER FARBER