• JAWANN BROWN IS TRULY “MR. MATAWAN”    by Bobby Carnovsky

    I don’t know why, but I always forget to introduce my wife to people I see in publicSuch was the case last year at a Lakewood Blue Claws game.  While waiting out front, I felt a tap on the shoulder and heard a sarcastic “Hey, Carno….”  It was Jawann along with some of this friends.  We talked for a few minutes about school and his last year of football.  He looked great and I told him I would make it out to one of his last games at Pace this year.

    Once he walked away, my wife’s eyes rolled and she said “ You did it again.  Who was that?”  That moment and question have resonated with me in the recent days as we all heard of Jawann’s passing.  Who was he?  Well, in retrospect, if I told my wife all of the great things about Jawann, we might have missed the game.  But now she should know why we are all saddened by this loss and how our community is a little less brighter than before.

    I could have told her that I knew Jawann since he was 9 or 10 when I coached Pop Warner football.  Juwann was one of those kids who never missed practice and always aimed to please.  I could have told her about the first time he showed up at baseball camp as a middle schooler, and the impression he made, hitting the ball so hard that we feared for the safety of other kids on the field with him.

    I should have told her of the success he had growing up and the many friends he had made through youth league football and baseball.  Friends that he has kept until now.  I could have told her about his prowess in the classroom and how every teacher you would speak to – “loved Jawann Brown”.

    I could have told her about his years at Matawan High School.  He had big shoes to fill as his sister Shardea was a tremendous student, admired by her classmates and teachers.  Jawann did not disappoinnt as he kept up his end of the bargain. 

    I could have told her of the time when he was a freshman, playing JV baseball, when he hit the ball so far at Raritan’s field that their coach walked out of the dugout dumbfounded as to what to tell the umpire because a ball had never gone that distance before.  Another  time he hit a home run at Matawan’s gargantuan field in the late innings to beat Rumson and their best pitcher, keeping them from winning the division title.

    I should have told her of Jawann’s respect for his team as demonstrated on the football field when he changed positions several times to fit whatever the team needed.  Without complaint, he just did what was asked of him.

    I could have told her of Jawann’s sense of humor:  his smile, his laugh, and his overall demeanor.  As a coach, it was hard to get mad at him because you would smile, and then he would laugh and say something funny, making you forget what you were talking about in the first place.  Jawann was a model student-athlete and you would know why if you had ever met his parents.  These are two of the nicest people you will ever meet, who go out of their way for the others in their community by their years of involvement in the parents’ club.

    As my wife sees our community saddened by this loss, I can now tell her that it is only because we know we lost a great person bound for great things.  He made us proud to say he was from Matawan-Aberdeen.  I would hope my baby daughter could one day befriend a person like Jawann.  Even in some of his darkest hours, Jawann found a way to bring out the best in all of us as evident in the huge turn out for his blood drive a few weeks back.  His dad was taking pictures and I made a funny face hoping Jawann would see it and smile.  Many people also did their little part to try to help Jawann, surely hoping to pay him back for all the years he gave us something to smile about.

    God works in mysterious ways.  There is always a plan.  I can only guess that God’s team “up there” is down a run in the 9th and needs a model person of great character to come through in the clutch with a game winning hit, and that person is Jawann.

Last Modified on April 17, 2013