Escaping Violence Via the Drill Team, but Not Completely

April 26, 2011  |  

(Chicago News Cooperative) — As his team pulled into Dayton, Ohio, at 4 a.m. one day in early April, the head coach of the South Shore Drill Team was confident that his sleepy squad of 15 teenagers from some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods had a shot at glory for the first time in nearly 20 years.  They had done everything he had asked. They had worked hard in practice for months and were ready to win the color guard world championship if they could complete one more task: block out the violence and struggle back home.  It would not be easy. There were 62 teams chasing the same dream, and the ghosts and hardships of the city had followed the Chicago squad on the road. The team barely had enough money for food and gas. Hotels were out of the question.  In Dayton, a lucky few slept on air mattresses scattered across the gym of a Boys and Girls Club. But most of the team, including the coach, Michael Borum, 32, had only sheets and blankets, which they spread on the floor.

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