What we learned during Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season
INDIANAPOLIS — If someone went to their car and popped the trunk, Zack Moss knew it was time to run. Basketball was his outlet, an opportunity for him to put his mind at ease while growing up in Liberty City, a neighborhood in inner-city Miami. But for as much bliss as those concrete courts provided, the park was no safe haven.
The games were fierce. Hard fouls and trash talk were expected — part of the game, as were the guns kept in the trunks of nearby cars.
“I had uncles that was in that lifestyle, cousins that was in that lifestyle and still probably (are) to this day,” Moss said. “I played ball with dudes or had friends that would rob a house and then come play ball just like that. It was like, ‘What y’all just did? Oh, OK, cool. I guess we’ll just play ball now.’”
This was a part of life in Liberty City, Moss said. He didn’t allow it to faze him, though, instead focusing on the games that were only intensified by monetary stakes.
“You got family, friends, random people kind of just betting on games,” said Moss, who was a teenager at the time. “… Personally, I think it helped me, just to kind of be in those pressure moments, which, obviously, now I’m in kind of almost every day.”
Moss’ life has changed a lot since the last time he played in those games. As a running back for the Indianapolis Colts, who’s stepped up alongside rookie QB Anthony Richardson in the absence of star Jonathan Taylor, Moss has made a living playing with that same bruising style he had to play with to conquer the courts of Liberty City. The difference, of course, is that in the NFL, there are rules, and officials there to enforce those rules.
But on the courts of Liberty City, there was no rulebook. The rules were unwritten, you learned them from experience.
For example, if someone lost money while betting on one of the games and an argument broke out Moss “knew what it meant” if someone said they were going to the trunk of their car.
“The park that I used to go to, there was always a lot of shootings,” Moss said. “I mean, it would be little league football games going on (nearby) with kids 8, 9 or 10 years old, but these things was normal all of the time.
“But I knew that’s not what I wanted. That’s not where I wanted to be.”
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