Separated from his own children while trying to win visitation rights, Sands is putting his all into Corey.
“I was good in sports and took it for granted. Now that he has a lot of trophies and accomplishments, I encourage him to say ‘Thank you’ and work harder.”
In Florida City’s new gym opposite Loren Roberts Park — where membership is $15 a month, almost as good a deal as the one at Miami’s Jose Marti Park — Dewberry demonstrates wrestling moves with Harvey for the other kids. Their eyes follow the pair, entranced. When Dewberry barks an order, they jump to it.
“The kids demonstrate so much respect for him,” says Lisa Oberlander, another volunteer who also learned to wrestle with Dewberry. For the love of sports, when she’s not teaching art and photography at Herbert Ammons Middle School, Oberlander — “Miss Obie” to the boys — helps teach the youngest wrestlers the basics.
One of them, 5-year-old Tedrick Lee, competed in his first tournaments this year, winning second-place medals in Greco and Freestyle. His father, Teddrick Lee Sr., who coaches football and comes to his son’s every practice and tournament, says wistfully, “I wish my father had been around to watch me.”
And so it goes, in a circle of boys and men supporting one another through life as well as sports.
As the late-day sun slants across Florida City, the park fills with parents and kids psyched for summer football training.
“I look at it as giving back to where I came from,” says Coach Baldwin, a football in one hand and a sign-up sheet in the other.
Recently, a teacher asked one of the boys he coaches to draw a picture of his family. The boy, whose dad lives far away in North Carolina, drew his brother, his sister and his mother.
And his coach.