CROWN POINT | Consistent. Steady. Reliable.
These were the things that Crown Point's Christopher Jones was. Plus so much more.
The father of Bulldogs' football star Sean Jones was at as many football practices and games as his busy work schedule allowed. Great pride filled his chest when he watched his son knock people on their backside for a running back in red.
Sean Jones will play in Friday's North-South All-Star game in Indianapolis. He certainly belongs. But his father, sadly, will not be in the stands.
“He taught me what it takes to be a man,” Sean Jones said.
On May 19, 2012, the family was excited for the wedding of Christopher Ryan Jones, Sean's older brother. All were assembled for the festivities.
The cake, nut cups, photographers and DJ were ready.
But fate had a different play.
“The morning of the wedding he didn't wake up,” Jones said.
Kevin Enright was starting his first year as C.P.'s head coach. He knew how good of a lineman Jones was. He heard of the tragedy. He was impressed with the way a young man showed such courage and maturity.
“Sean was such a great leader for us last season,” Enright said. “A lot of things were new. He was able to communicate the things I was trying to say to the kids on the field. Like a coach on the field, he was a true leader.
“And when you think about what he was going through in his personal life it just shows what kind of young man he is. Tremendous.”
St. Xavier will be the next to benefit from Jones' life. Not only will he be playing for a very good football program, he is looking ahead to the rest of his life.
The fingerprints of his father are all over Sean's days.
“I've been accepted into their nursing program,” Jones said. “I want to help people out, every day. I don't want to have a boring job where every day is the same. Helping people will make every day special, important.”
I have always been a fan of the IFCA's North-South game. Yes, it is about the competitive nature of America's game, but it is about much more, as well.
The best football players in the state will go to Camp Riley and have fun with children who are battling tough medical situations. Jones, for sure, will be an All-Star in this game, too.
The players will go to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. I used to laugh that there was such a place. Basketball, I get that. But football in Hickory-ville?
Those chuckles are gone now.
The North-South game gives great players one more chance to run out in front of a packed place on a Friday night, which is what Jones will do at North Central High School.
He did the same on Senior Night at C.P. last fall. That was very difficult. Walking out there without his father on his arm was a gaping wound.
But his family was there to fill the gap. Just like they will be next Friday. I believe that his father will be there in spirit. Just like all those times before in the flesh.
Consistent. Steady. Reliable.
“It was difficult the first few games when he wasn't there,” Jones said. “But I used it as motivation. I played so he would be proud of me. I am so thankful for this opportunity. Despite all the hardship I've been through I've been able to be successful.
“I know this makes my father proud.”
I do, too.