I wish I knew the answer.
The last time I saw Jon Field was Nov. 29th at the Maria Carrillo High School boys soccer banquet.
It just couldn’t have been a better ending to a soccer season that couldn’t have ended any better. The team was together, all together, for what turned out to be a last time.
The ate together.
They laughed together.
They looked at a slideshow of themselves during the season, a season in which they won the 3A NCS championship for the first time in the school’s history, together.
They gathered in a Carrillo classroom and applauded as their coach, Mike Mastin, handed out awards.
Except for a couple of them, they were awards the team had voted on themselves.
They listened as Mastin brought each one of them up to the front of the room, said a little something about their efforts during the season, cracked a joke here and there, offered some insights about them.
They applauded each other.
Jon Field was one of those players that night. One of 10 seniors on the team, he was introduced by Mastin, who said something to the effect of what a hard worker on and off the field Jon was.
Jon smiled and he sat down.
When it came time for the awards, Mastin held up the “Scholar-Athlete” award and it went to Jon. Mastin said something like Jon had a 4.5 plus GPA and that he was the academic leader on a team that didn’t have one player suspended for academic reasons all season.
The parents and friends applauded and a smiling Jon sat down.
On the soccer field Jon was a defender. He wasn’t the best player on the team, he wasn’t the best defender on the team. What he was was a player who made it work.
In soccer, forwards score, midfielders control the ball, defenders stop the opposition and goalies save shots. But all that happens because of what happens on the practice field. None of those players achieve anything without a complete team behind them.
That’s the tough part, being a role player and doing it well. Any coach will tell you in any sport that that is where success begins and usually ends, with the team concept and on the practice field.
Jon fit that role perfectly. When asked, he started or entered the game as a substitute and he produced. When not asked, he didn’t complain, he gave it everything on the practice field and he and the reserves on the bench with him were the reason the banquet was so joyous that night.
It was a team and all 22 of them knew it.
Jon was so much more than a soccer player, but it was a large part of his life from the Pumas to the Rincon Valley Rebels. And on various stages he crossed paths with so many other kids from outside the Carrillo realm.
One scene worth remembering came last March when his Rebels team, playing in a Redding tournament, took the field in a snowstorm.
A freak weather front had moved through the area and dumped about 4 inches of snow on the field which was 10 miles east of Redding. A half-mile away there was no snow.
But there was Jon and his teammates, including Ellio Torrano, now maybe the best defensive player on the Cardinal Newman football team, playing in the snow, slipping and sliding, acting like 10-year olds again.
They eventually won the game and posed for pictures in the snow afterward.
Jon was all smiles. He was a kid doing what kids do.
His talents stretched way beyond the soccer field. He touched many lives in many glorious ways. But those of us in the soccer community who were privileged enough to see them will never forget his performances on a soccer field.
It was our pleasure watching you grow, Jonathan.
Thank you for that gift.
A week after the Carrillo banquet, Jon was no longer with us.
I wish I knew the answer.