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WP:After Tragedies, an Effort to Carry On


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After Tragedies, an Effort to Carry On

Sunday, November 9, 2003; Page E02

While the town remains obsessed over the Redskins' four-game losing streak, more weighty matters occurred last week involving the football program at Anacostia High School. On Oct. 30, junior tailback Devin M. Fowlkes, 16, was killed leaving a homecoming dance at the school, an innocent victim of a shooting involving rival gangs.

Longtime football coach Willie Stewart, honored by the NFL several years ago for his work in the community and for being one of the best high school coaches in the country, has coached Anacostia for 23 years. In that time, he said, 20 of his football players have been shot and four have been killed.

Instead of practice on Thursday, Stewart, his team and the Anacostia High School community attended Fowlkes's funeral. It was not an easy day. But it was a day "we all remembered Devin, showed how much we cared about him," said Roscoe Thomas, a dean of students and assistant football coach.

"We had him [Fowlkes] for three years," Stewart said. "He was a nice kid; 5 feet 5, with a big heart, so cheerful. You coach a kid one day, the next day he's gone. I tell my players life goes on; you can't dwell on what happened. You can't make last Thursday disappear, and bring him back to us."

The Oct. 31 homecoming game at Anacostia against Eastern was postponed until Nov. 15. The following Monday, Stewart had the players back practicing at Anacostia Park.

"It shook us all up, but we're trying to stick together," said Alfonzo Moore, an offensive guard and a team captain, after a cool Friday afternoon practice. "Everything we do now is for him."

Stewart knows his role at Anacostia and loves it, aware of how rarely the team and coaches get attention. "I enjoy what I do with my kids," Stewart said. "If I turn one kid around, get him to do the right thing, I feel good about what I'm doing."

On Saturday, Wilson High School hosted Coolidge in a football game honoring students who have lost their lives to gun violence, in an effort by D.C. coaches to raise awareness of gun violence in town. Other schools will follow suit. Today, the Redskins will honor the Anacostia football team at FedEx Field, a gesture worth applauding.

Here Comes the Judge

What's happened the past month, with the Redskins in the midst of a four-game losing streak, merits at least a show trial, in the true spirit of China's memorable Cultural Revolution, all of us in ill-fitting gray jackets, looking up at the bench, presided over by Judge and WTEM commentator John Thompson, our transgressions read by Fox's Redskins critic Cris Collinsworth.

Cris Collinsworth: Charge: Solomon, a Florida grad, and Spurrier lapdog, still purring at Spurrier's game-winning field goal for the Gators against Auburn in '66 and the '96 national title, oblivious to the shortcomings of the Fun 'n' Gun and the fact maybe the NFL does stand for Not For Long.

Sentence: Three years taking results on the phone at the Gainesville Sun.

CC: Charge: Dan Snyder, for talking to Jimmy Johnson and most of the other unemployed former NFL coaches/consultants.

Sentence: Two seasons of driving the Metro shuttle bus to FedEx Field.

CC: Charge: Steve Spurrier, for ignoring the swing pass, rollout and draw play, and other ploys that could perhaps deter the impending hospitalization of Patrick Ramsey.

Sentence: Three five-hour dinner meetings at Olive's with Snyder and New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams.

CC: Charge: Vinny Cerrato, for putting together a defensive line that couldn't rush the podium at Donald Rumsfeld's news conference.

Sentence: Four five-hour dinner meetings with Snyder, Joe Theismann and Riggo at Olive's.

CC: Charge: To the Redskins' brain trust, for allowing Stephen Davis to sign with the Carolina Panthers, where he is running straight to the Pro Bowl.

Sentence: Three days in solitary confinement, listening to tapes of Sonny, Sam and Frank describing the last four Redskins games.

CC: Charge: LaVar Arrington, for telling WTEM listeners on Monday, "I don't know what to say; I'm playing my heart out. . . . "

Sentence: Two weeks in solitary confinement, listening to advice from Rick "Doc" Walker and Tony Bennett's rendition of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."

CC: Charge: Bruce Smith, for saying on Monday he needs to get a little "selfish" in order to reach team and individual goals, and pouting at his benching when his weekly game check tops the GNP of some countries.

Sentence: Play every down, on defense and specials, for the next three games.

CC: Charge: Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels, big-shot tackles, miss too many blocks and get too many penalties.

Sentence: Three days of watching grainy game tape of Vince Lombardi and Fordham's Seven Blocks of Granite with Joe Bugel and listening to the last two years of Joe Jacoby's postgame radio shows.

This court stands adjourned.

Making the Rounds

What a boost for our baseball chances, now that the Greater Washington Board of Trade has created its own Sports Alliance, led by one Fernando Murias, to go with the D.C. Sports Commission and its new chairman, Mark H. Tuohey III. Flushed with our success in trying to lure the 2012 Olympics and 2008 Super Bowl, this Dynamic Duo might consider getting together and paying Commissioner Bud Selig a visit. Hey, guys, in case you don't know it, there's a bankrupt baseball team owned by the league bouncing between Montreal and San Juan, Puerto Rico. You take Fred Malek and his checkbook, a couple of dozen K Street lawyers (who aren't on the TV show), pay Bud a visit in Milwaukee and stay there until you bring back the team. Are we clear?

At Red Auerbach's Tuesday lunch at China Doll the subject was former Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Bob Cousy's intention to sell his own memorabilia, such as his fabled green jersey, championship rings and basketballs. That isn't Red's style, but between bites of duck John Feinstein said he would consider selling the stained blue denim shirt he wore daily during the reporting of "A Season on the Brink." My feeble offering to the Baseball Hall of Fame is 31 years worth of notes from every baseball commissioner from Bowie Kuhn to Bud saying a team's return to Washington is "imminent."

I like what I see so far of the Wizards; very disappointed in the Capitals' performance in Philly on Thursday night after winning at Tampa Bay on Monday; and believe the pro soccer season will end after Christmas, with D.C. United playing for some Cup. Virginia at Maryland football game Thursday night has my interest, but I don't like Georgetown using the Susan O'Malley marketing technique of hyping an opponent -- Duke -- to sell basketball season tickets, unless they are in the same conference. Are they?

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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CC: Charge: Bruce Smith, for saying on Monday he needs to get a little "selfish" in order to reach team and individual goals, and pouting at his benching when his weekly game check tops the GNP of some countries.

Sentence: Play every down, on defense and specials, for the next three games

lmao that would be an excellent idea. also if he gets pancaked 5 times in a game or two in a row, he's out.

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