Los Angeles Times
Barnes preparing for the big game
the City Section.
“We’re praying for a City championship in the house,” Jamaal said.
Jayden, a 6-foot, 170pound junior, leads the team with 29 receptions for eight touchdowns. He also has seven interceptions.
Jamaal, the family photographer, has so many photos of his children playing sports through the years that he could put together his own Sports Illustrated magazine.
Jayden used to be part of the “breakfast club,” waking up when he heard his father’s alarm to train early in the morning. He’s developed into a standout athlete who stars in football and basketball.
“It was never hard for me to get him to work out,” Jamaal said. “He would nag you, ‘Are we doing anything today?’ ”
Dad is rooting for his son’s football season not to end this weekend even though it means he might not have his All-City point guard for several weeks. Daughter Jada, 15, is a sophomore All-City player for the girls’ basketball team.
Although other siblings attended La Verne Bonita, Jayden has grown up around his friends from East Los Angeles.
“I’ve surrounded myself with a lot great people,” he said. “There’s a lot of tradition and everybody sticks together.”
In particular, the community comes out for big games, such as against rival Roosevelt in the East L.A. Classic, which drew a crowd of 30,000 at the Coliseum this season. Garfield should have another strong fan representation at Valley College, making Birmingham
feel as if it’s a road game.
On Thursday morning, Jayden will be practicing with the football team, then return to watch the family battle.
Then it’s time to feast on his mom’s cooking. They’ll be watching football on TV and doing “smack talk to see who gets the food first,” Jayden said.
Everyone will be nice to mom, no matter who wins the street football game.
“She’s our backbone,” Jamaal said. “Sometimes we let her win so she can make our food with love.”