Dancing in the Reign: For My Friend
Selfless was his demeanor: Welcoming conversation, advice, and help to anyone and everyone.
Charismatic was his presence: Lighting up any room with witty opinion and insight fitting into a broad array of discussion.
Affectionate was his attitude toward others: Always taking dialogue to a personal standpoint, showing you he truly cared about you as an individual.
Momentous was his résumé: A well-traveled man who had been a staple in the sports media industry for over two decades.
Warm and considerate was his heart: A man who wore it on his sleeve in every aspect of life, protruding its love and care to everyone and everything around him.
- – - – -
That heart of his stroked it’s final pulse today, Jonathan Moncrief passed away this morning at the age of 42. Jon died after suffering a pulmonary embolism, believed to be sudden. Jon and I were just talking on Saturday, bruising our thumbs in a text message conversation as he was en route to Santa Monica for the second annual KingsCast Roundtable. As I cycle through waves of tears – the biting of my lip the only thing granting me respite, my heart yearns for one last goodbye; one more banter about the Kings, one more personal conversation to check up on each other, one more. Before I move ahead with the coping process, I’d like to share my relationship with Jonathan Moncrief, the extraordinary voice for the Los Angeles Kings for the past three seasons at the LA Examiner.
- – - – -
A displaced Kings fan I currently am, situated on the other side of the country for the time-being. In my second season as the blogger here on KingsCast, I invested in a two-week hockey trip to Los Angeles in late December. Along with my plans to have a few drinks and put in some work with the fellas here on the site, I followed their recommendation and reached out to Jon for some advice and guidance in the sports media industry. Advice and guidance doesn’t justify what he did for me. Damnit, Jon…
Not many industry professionals would respond to an e-mail from a 21 year old kid in pursuit of joining them hand-in-hand to divulge in their every day work, let alone take it seriously. That, he did, and put forth effort in every imaginable way possible to make it the best experience for me.
His initial plan was to get me credentials to join him in the Staples Center press box for the January 6, 2011 contest when the Kings hosted the Nashville Predators. His attempt in asking the Kings’ front office was rejected. That wasn’t good enough for him; Jon emailed his chief editor, requesting for him to personally approach the Kings about granting me credentials. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out either. The funny thing is, the kindness exuded in his substantial effort was plenty in satisfying me.
To substitute my press box experience, Jon met me on the Staples Center balcony during each intermission of that January 6th contest against Nashville. Here, he dished out raw material from the Kings, Predators, and the NHL to provide me with the exact documents that were provided in his chair upstairs. This isn’t basic stuff, folks.
During my visit, we hopped on the Metro Rail together a couple of times with El Segundo as the destination, in pursuit of getting close looks at the Kings in their pre-game skates. We were both in bliss as we took in a couple of mornings in the Redondo Beach-side confines that securely houses two sheets of ice from the California heat. It was business and pleasure for Jon; Coca Cola in-hand, notepad on the dashboard, and a tape recorder ready with a fresh battery. That tape recorder was handed to me, loaded with interviews, passing on the responsibility for me to write the next Kings article on the LA Examiner – under his name. I mean really, what else could the guy do. Above and beyond, fucking above and beyond Jon…man oh man.
I asked him for an interview, I wanted it to be a feature segment here on KingsCast. He accepted the request immediately, and we sat down days later for the recording. We chose the Denny’s on Figueroa, three blocks from Staples Center. What can I say, the guy had good taste. I think our table rotated through two different waitress shifts, it was non-stop dialogue, and boy was it great. I had hours of transcribing ahead of me, and flew back home to a heavy semester at College. Jon pushed for me to concentrate on school, making a strong point to me that my studies should be top priority. I then made plans to make it an off-season feature, a 2-3 part summer series. That plan was tabbed to be my next published article, with transcribing beginning this weekend. Instead, this is. The audio from our interview sits just a double-click on the mousepad away from me. I’ve got to wrap my head around this. Whether or not I decide to go through with publishing that interview, the audio file will remain with me for life.
“Keep writing.”, he would tell me. And that, I will, Jon.
I’ll miss you, buddy.
Gann Matsuda of Frozen Royalty also had a nice write-up. Find it here.