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Never Ran, Never Will

Boyhood and Football in a Changing American Inner City

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


This uplifting story of a boys' football team shines light on the under-appreciated virtues that can bloom in impoverished neighborhoods, even as nearby communities exclude them from economic progress.
Never Ran, Never Will tells the story of the working-class, mostly black neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn; its proud youth football team, the Mo Better Jaguars; and the young boys who are often at the center of both. Oomz, Gio, Hart, and their charismatic, vulnerable friends, come together on a dusty football field. All around them their community is threatened by violence, poverty, and the specter of losing their homes to gentrification. Their passionate, unpaid coaches teach hard lessons about surviving American life with little help from the outside world, cultivating in their players the perseverance and courage to make it.
Football isn't everybody's ideal way to find the American dream, but for some kids it's the surest road there is. The Mo Better Jaguars team offers a refuge from the gang feuding that consumes much of the streets and a ticket to a better future in a country where football talent remains an exceptionally valuable commodity. If the team can make the regional championships, prestigious high schools and colleges might open their doors to the players.
Never Ran, Never Will is a complex, humane story that reveals the changing world of an American inner city and a group of unforgettable boys in the middle of it all.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 30, 2018 – In an inspiring tale of sports and inner-city youth, Samaha, a criminal justice reporter for Buzzfeed, chronicles a season in the lives of the members of a Brooklyn youth football team, the Mo Better Jaguars, and its devoted coaches in the high-crime neighborhood of Brownsville as it was becoming gentrified. Of the team's six coaches, some of whom work two jobs, Chris Legree and Vick Davis are the standouts as they struggle to keep the floundering team afloat throughout the 2013 2014 season. Davis's son, meanwhile, was in jail, charged with armed robbery. The Mo Better players ages eight to 13 prove to be determined and are eager students thanks to their dedication to football, and, indeed, at a time when one in three boys in the neighborhood were entangled in the criminal justice system, nearly all of Mo Betta players kept out of trouble. Samaha recalls key episodes, showing the coaches teaching the kids life lessons through football ("Start thinking big.... You don't have to get a job; get a business, own something," Legree told the players in the huddle at the end of the first week of practice). At the heart of Samaha's unflinching book are the life-affirming themes of sports, transcendence, courage, and manhood.
Never Ran, Never Will
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  • $16.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Football
  • Published: Sep 04, 2018
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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