Brendan Ridge, rugby player. Portrait taken with a 4×5 view camera for a story on the Boston Rugby Club in Watertown, MA on Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
Chris and Ellen Finlay of Uxbridge dance on a stage in front of an American Flag as the house band plays “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney would eventually speak after the polls closed on Super Tuesday at the Westin Copley Place in Boston, MA on Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
Visitors to the Widener Library at Harvard University pose for pictures and climb the steps on a warm day in Cambridge, MA on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
A dedicated fan sat through part of the rain delay in the bottom of the 8th inning as the Boston Red Sox play the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in a regular season MLB game in Boston, MA on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.
A firefighter clears debris and burning pieces of the interior of a unit after the roof had collapsed. Firefighters fight a four-alarm fire in a residential building at 1471 Beacon St. in Brookline, MA on Monday, January 16, 2012.
Leighlani Andrade, 6, of Brockton, watches the parade under an umbrella along Dorchester Ave. during the annual Dorchester Day Parade takes place in Dorchester, MA on Sunday, June 3, 2012.
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo #9 is fouled hard by the Raptors Linas Kleiza #11 in the 3rd quarter, ruled a flagrant 1. Rondo made 1 of 2 free throws, left the game as the Boston Celtics played the Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden of a regular season NBA game in Boston, MA on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.
Mehr Kaur of Hopkinton lights candles for those attending the a candle light vigil at the New England Gurdwara Sahib, for the victims of the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, in Milford, MA on Monday, August 6, 2012.
Claudia Yanez stretches before a dress rehearsal for “Roller Disco the Musical!,” a new parody of the 1979 movie “Roller Boogie,” at the Oberon in Cambridge, MA on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
Multi-discipline New York artist Pat Oleszko, left, helps Osmar Ramos-Caballero of Holyoke with his costume of a BP employee being eaten by a shark at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA on Sunday, December 30, 2012. Oleszko has a costume-themed “Global Warning! Writhin’ See/Change” group that will march in the Grand Procession on First Night.
The Boston Rugby Football Club play hard and rugged. They don’t get paid, but they compete in the full-contact sport, often paying out of their own pockets for travel when funding runs out. They came in third among 12 teams at last year’s USA Rugby Super League championships. They diverse group are locals and foreigners and work as teachers or web designers. They represent the true competitive spirit of an amateur sport, also at its toughest. “I’d say a common mis-perception is that everyone always thinks it’s football without pads. It’s a lot different. Every man on the field has a chance to get the ball. Every man has a vital role in both offense and defense,” says Brendan Ridge, a five-time captain.
“We’re really a blue-collar team. Bringing that physicality above and beyond the other team has really been a key to success for us,” says Purpura. Tony Purpura continues to practice despite re-opening a cut on his head.
The Boston Rugby Club plays a scrimmage with the Middlesex Barbarians at Madison Park High School in Roxbury, MA.
“It takes a lot of dedication,” says Vota. “Nobody’s getting paid to be there.” Club members will often pay their own way when sponsorship money runs out. Duran Vota gets a massage from physical therapist Melissa Buffer-Trenouth before the Boston Rugby Club plays the Dallas Harlequins Rugby Football Club at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA.
Tony Purpura, left, and Will Haydock, prepare for the game.
“Guys, keep your heads up. Whatever happens, we’re playing for each other. We’re going to win this thing ‚Äì together,” says captain, Derrick Isoka Wavomba. Teammates jump in a circle before the game to get pumped up. The Boston Rugby Club plays the Dallas Harlequins Rugby Football Club at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA.
The Boston Rugby Club practices in the last moments before the game at sundown.
Players from both teams struggle for possession of the ball during the game. The Boston Rugby Club plays the Dallas Harlequins Rugby Football Club at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA.
Brendan Ridge, a five-time captain of past teams plays hard during the game. Ridge, at 35, has considered retiring this year. The only thing keeping him in the game is the prospect of a title.
Exhausted players from both sides embrace and shake hands after a physical game, resulting in a tie 16-16.
Team captain Derrick Isoka Wavomba looks sullenly on after a the tie game with the Harlequins. Boston would end a disappointing season at 1-5-1.
“Rugby has a great concept of brotherhood…I may have punched someone in a game or something along those lines…afterwards, you kind of let bygones be bygones. We go to our sponsor bar and we have our beer sponsors bring in some beer and we have a pint with the other team. To us it’s normal. To someone who this is foreign to – they find it crazy,” says Ridge. After the game, the Boston Rugby Club shares beers with the Dallas Harlequins Rugby Football Club at the Southside Tavern in Quincy, MA on Saturday, April 14, 2012.
Light in the dark
Bowdoin-Geneva is a 68-block section of Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston. It has long been plagued by gun violence and gangs, but it is also home to families, community organizers and people who are working to make it a place where children can be safe. This essay looks into their lives. Nathaniel Davis Jr. puts in a new set of solar lights at the tombstone of his son, Nicholas Fomby-Davis at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Roslindale, MA. Fomby-Davis, was shot to death in 2010. He was 14. Davis had heard that gang members associated with the shooting planned on desecrating the grave. On the night of Nicholas’ murder Nate had taken a bucket and mop to wash the blood from his son’s crime scene. “I didn’t see no blood. And I just stood out there and I stood out there and pretty soon the sun came up. I didn’t go to sleep for that whole week.”
Flavio Daveiga, center, a neighborhood coordinator, prepares to lead a group of city officials through the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood. The 24-hour tour of the city was an attempt by the mayor to get city officials more involved in problem neighborhoods.
Trinecia Davis displays a tattoo in memory of her murdered 14-year-old brother Nicholas Fomby-Davis during a cookout. The tattoo depicts a Sony Playstation controller with his name, birth date and date of the murder. “I’m the oldest. I always had to look after and protect my little brothers and sisters. And I felt like I was no use that day. I wasn’t there to help my little brother,” says Davis about the day her brother was murdered.
Sean Dale-Johnson enters a courtroom for a new evidence hearing. Dale-Johnson has been associated with the Franklin Field gang and is jail for being in a passenger in a vehicle from which shots were fired. His mother Theresa has given him an ultimatum ‚Äì¬†his family or the street life. Dale-Johnson says he is done with the streets and wants to learn a trade. “I wish I never god involved,” said Dale-Johnson regarding that night.
A police cruiser drives by a kite festival organized by the Friends of Ronan Park in Dorchester, MA. Ronan Park was the site of a shooting two months earlier. The festival attracted few children.
Oslin “Coach Jack” Mayhew shows off his soccer ball handling skills on the first day of the weekly Bowdoin Geneva Farmers Market. While small, the market has become a welcome source of fresh produce and a gathering place.
Trinity Dale-Johnson, daughter of Sean who is jail, looks out the window of her grandmother’s home in Dorchester, MA. Theresa, Trinity’s grandmother, is often worried about all of her children, especially at the sound of sirens. “People tell me I worry too much,” she says. “But you never know. I’ve just heard too many stories of mothers thinking everything’s OK.”
Violence Intervention & Prevention coordinator Susan Young, left, checks in with Antonio Walker, right, at “the office.” This gathering space along Olney St., is a hang-out where people pass the time drinking alcohol. Young is very close with many of the homeless substance abusers of the neighborhood and works to get them off the street. She has always carried with her the lessons of her parents, “Be good to people and get your blessings.”
On the last day of the the Dotwell D.Y.C. St. Peter’s Basketball league, team Ronan Park practices layups before a game against team Soldiers. Organizer Steve Drayton says that many children who come to play are gang members, yet his program offers them a safe space. Drayton can’t monitor what they do off the court, but on his time, he says they can just be kids.
Just as the basketball tournament ended a man in his early 20s was shot multiple times, two blocks away, at Winter and Adams St. in Allen Park.
A man lifts his dog into the truck of Boston Animal Control just after his house is condemned by the City of Boston. The city had long identified the triple decker where he lived on Hendry St. as a “problem” house because of suspected drug and gang activity. Months later, this man was arrested along with almost 30 people in a raid.
Susan Young and Antonio Walker embrace as she leaves him in his new apartment after helping him go grocery shopping. “I don’t want people from Bowdoin Street up here,” says Young. Young has helped homeless substance abusers in the neighborhood get sober, find an apartment and get a job. “As quick as you got this, you can lose it,” she tells him before leaving.