Murry Bergtraum team "doing it for Chicken"
The remaining members of the Murry Bergtraum basketball team are striving to win this season for Tayshana Murphy – their teammate who was murdered in September. They have her number and nickname on their warmup jerseys:
The rest of the team gathered in Ms. Plazaâ€™s office…..â€œThat day a lot of adults were coming into the room,â€ she said. â€œBut the girls just wanted to be together. They didnâ€™t want to talk about their feelings, and if anyone asked them, theyâ€™d clam up or shut down. The more adults there were in the room, the more it shut down.â€
The players resolved to dedicate the season to Ms. Murphy and to rename their winter tournament the Tayshana â€œChickenâ€ Murphy Memorial Classic. They added the name Chicken to their practice jerseys.
….For Shequana Harris, who emerged as a quiet team leader, too much was in flux. On Oct. 11 she made an early commitment to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She said the killing had a lot to do with her decision.
â€œI canâ€™t trust these streets,â€ she said, adding that she rarely left her home even before the shooting. â€œIâ€™ve been here for 17 years. I figure, maybe I should experience life elsewhere.â€
In November, Ms. Coe lost another friend, Shaquille Jones, a male basketball player who was shot in the head after school in Canarsie, Brooklyn, apparently caught in a dispute between two groups of teenagers.
….Mr. Murphy sat with the team and urged them on, cheerleading the way his daughter had the year before. He wore a T-shirt with her photo, and another photo of her on a chain around his neck. â€œIt felt funny walking in without her,â€ he said, â€œbut it felt like I was back to doing what I usually do. In a sense she was with me. This is where I feel Chicken at. Iâ€™m at ease. Believe me, 11 oâ€™clock at night, 12 oâ€™clock, Iâ€™m staring at the ceiling.â€
….Mr. Grezinsky said Ms. Murphyâ€™s death sometimes kept him up at night.
â€œYou think, maybe I couldâ€™ve done more,â€ he said. â€œMaybe there was something I could have done that I didnâ€™t do, that would have kept her alive. You always say that.â€