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Chicago’s youth football team is looking for funds for a trip to the national championship after the tragedy

CHICAGO — Tim Hall believes he coaches in one of the toughest areas in the city of Chicago.

Hall says his football team even practices shooting.

“Most teams probably aren’t in East Garfield Park,” Hall said.

Over the decades, some of the young players who called Hall “coach” have died in gun violence.

SEE ALSO: Loved ones are remembering the mother who died weeks after the West Rogers Park shooting

“It was a bad year. Two former players were killed and one high school player was killed,” Hall said.

A few months ago, the Garfield Gators family suffered another blow a tragedy.

“It was really hard for me to deal with because my mom was my best friend,” said son Aiden, whose 28-year-old mother, Aisha Lewis, was shot and killed in West Rogers Park in September. “I have to deal with her not coming back and I have a little brother to take care of.”

The young football player said that since the fatal shooting, he has been bullied at school.

“Now she is gone. No one understands where I’m coming from when I say I’m really, really hurt,” Aiden said.

Coach Hall tries to encourage his boys as he takes them on the journey of a lifetime.

“We are raising funds to get our football team to Florida for the 2022 national championship,” Hall said.

“I’m an honorary all-star. These people behind me are also all stars. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where I can go to Florida and enjoy myself,” Aiden added.

Coach Hall said they have a few surprises in mind when they get to Florida – a trip to an amusement park or meeting their namesake.

“We are alligators. I always take them to the gator place so they can see the gators. Let them hold them, play with them, pet them, let them know you’re a real alligator,” Hall said.

The All-Star trip is scheduled for December 2. The cost of transporting 40 children to Florida, along with some accompanying adults, would be about $30,000.

Read more: The latest Chicago news headlines

The team set up a fundraiser to reach the target, but Hall says that even if they don’t hit that target, they’ll find a way to get on that plane.

“We are still going somewhere. Somehow, God will find a way for us to get there,” Hall said.

“Mom looks after me and my little brother,” Aiden added. “Onward alligators.”


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