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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | ERIC SONDHEIMER

Brewsters' Link to School Is Not Over

May 14, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER

Lying on the kitchen table, with a bloody gash protruding from his right elbow, Jonathon Brewster wondered if letting his older brother, Scott, and his wife, Erin, both emergency room doctors, apply stitches in the family home might be a little too weird.

"They were all laughing and sticking shots in me," he said. "I told them it better not hurt or it would be bad news."

Maybe Scott was getting revenge for a younger Jonathon barging into his room when he brought home dates in high school.

"I'd run in there and mess up his game," Jonathon said.

Considering Scott and Erin became high school sweethearts, Jonathon's shenanigans may have helped bring them together. Now their marriage has made Jonathon an uncle.

On March 23, Timothy Scott Brewster was born, and the clock began ticking to the day in 2014 when another Brewster is scheduled to enter Notre Dame High.

"He's going to be a [ballplayer], I know it," Jonathon said.

Until then, Jonathon will be the last of the Brewsters to wear a Notre Dame uniform. There has been at least one Brewster competing for the Knights in 16 of the last 18 seasons.

When Jonathon graduates next month and turns in his baseball uniform to head off to USC, his parents, Greg and Karen, will feel a sense of sadness, just like Notre Dame's coaches.

"They've been everything you could ask for," baseball Coach Tom Dill said.

First there was Scott, a wide receiver who attended from 1982-86. Sister Keri, who competed in track, was at Notre Dame from 1986-90. Brother Robbie was a wide receiver and outfielder from 1991-95. Then there was Jonathon, the little brother who turned out to be the best athlete in the family, an All-Southern Section quarterback and a standout shortstop.

"I remember him being a little kid, a baby really," football Coach Kevin Rooney said. "I saw him at the games carrying a football that was bigger than him. I never thought to myself one day that baby would be graduating."

Memories of Jonathon's days hanging out at Notre Dame are everywhere.

"When my wife and I started dating in high school, he was 4 years old," Scott said. "He used to come to Notre Dame games with his diapers on."

Said Dill: "I remember meeting Jonathon when he was this little tiny kid. He was on a traveling basketball team and had all these wrist bands."

Jonathon played four sports--basketball, football, baseball and soccer. He would be so excited before games as a youngster that he slept in his uniform the night before.

"I remember playing tackle football on the baseball field during my brothers' games," Jonathon said. "I remember going to games and talking to all the little girls and not even watching the games. I remember after the games going on my brothers' shoulders or the coaches' shoulders, putting on their helmets and shoulder pads."

One of the toughest times for Jonathon was when Scott left the region for five years to attend medical school at Northwestern.

"I knew he had to go there and get things done," he said. "It was hard not having him around. He's helped me a lot. If I get down or have a bad game or need advice on sports or girls, he's there."

Of course, the whole family has begun taking advantage of the doctors. Sniffle, sore arm, sore back, sore throat--they call Scott or Erin.

Another difficult moment came after Jonathon's sophomore year. He was competing in three sports and everyone was advising him to drop one if he expected to land a scholarship.

He was the best point guard at Notre Dame, but he reluctantly gave up basketball to put more time into baseball. The decision paid off when USC and UCLA offered him baseball scholarships after he made dramatic improvement between his junior and senior years.

"It gave me an extra edge in baseball," he said.

With no more children at Notre Dame, what are Brewster's parents supposed to do? Greg has been in charge of sideline security at football games for 16 years. Karen has participated in numerous school and charity events.

"My parents are going to have serious empty nests," Scott said. "Their lives have revolved around Notre Dame and games. I don't know what they're going to do with their time."

What's certain is the birth of Timothy has made Jonathon's soon-to-be graduation more acceptable.

"We'll be back," Karen said.

There's already a battle under way for Timothy's affections. Jonathon gave him a USC baseball uniform. Scott and Erin, both employed by UCLA Medical Center, have allegiance to Bruin wear.

"My wife says the only time Timothy is going to be wearing USC colors is at USC games," Scott said. "Right after that, they have to come off into a Bruin outfit."

Uncle Jonathon is volunteering for baby-sitting duties and feeling good he's no longer the youngest family member.

"It's awesome," he said. "I feel a different responsibility. I feel I have to be a real good role model."

The only Brewster to have played on a Southern Section championship team at Notre Dame was Robbie in 1994 in football.

"He's never forgotten that," Jonathon said. "He just shows around his ring. He says, 'No matter who got the scholarship, I have the ring.' "

Jonathon has one last chance to earn his ring when Notre Dame (15-9) begins play in this week's Division IV baseball playoffs.

Whatever happens, the Brewster family has left a lasting legacy at the Sherman Oaks campus.

*

Eric Sondheimer's local column appears Wednesday and Sunday. He can be reached at (818) 772-3422 or eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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