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. Plaza’s office…..“That day a lot of adults were coming into the room,” she said. “But the girls just wanted to be together. They didn’t want to talk about their feelings, and if anyone asked them, they’d clam up or shut down. The more adults there were in the room, the more it shut down.”
The players resolved to dedicate the season to Ms. Murphy and to rename their winter tournament the Tayshana “Chicken” 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.
“I can’t trust these streets,” she said, adding that she rarely left her home even before the shooting. “I’ve been here for 17 years. I figure, maybe I should experience life elsewhere.”
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. “It felt funny walking in without her,” he said, “but 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. I’m at ease. Believe me, 11 o’clock at night, 12 o’clock, I’m staring at the ceiling.”
….Mr. Grezinsky said Ms. Murphy’s death sometimes kept him up at night.
“You think, maybe I could’ve done more,” he said. “Maybe there was something I could have done that I didn’t do, that would have kept her alive. You always say that.”