By Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
John Bloomfield is going to make his older brother’s day the next time he visits him. Good news does not come too often for the Sierra College sophomore’s brother, who is serving a life sentence.
Bloomfield paid a visit to his brother a few days before playing his first football game with the Wolverines in 2009. He dedicated his two seasons at Sierra to his brother and “biggest role model.”
Now Bloomfield has two more seasons to dedicate. The long-haired linebacker has been “blessed” with a scholarship to Sacramento State. He is the first in his family of eight to go to college.
A dismal 2010 season for the Wolverines, who went 0-5 in the Valley Conference and 3-7 overall, did not prevent six players from receiving scholarships. Bloomfield is the unlikeliest of the group.
Bloomfield did not graduate from Grant High School in 2009 because he was short of the required units. He skipped more classes than he attended as a freshman and sophomore in East Palo Alto.
As a sophomore at Sierra, Bloomfield was the defensive captain until his season came to an abrupt end in the fifth game. A broken radius bone in his left forearm knocked him out of action.
Bloomfield, 21, also feared the bad break would end any chances he had of receiving a scholarship.
“It was a scary moment. I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “But I’ve got great family support. My family was with me when I went down and I knew they would be with me when I got back up.”
Imagine the look on his brother’s face the next time Bloomfield pays a visit and shares his good news.
“I’m going to surprise him,” he said. “He will be very excited. I know it’s going to make him happy.”
The other Sierra players to accept scholarships were offensive linemen Casey O’Connor (West Texas A&M), linebacker Joe Brunet (Eastern Oregon), defensive end Aaron Wagner (Iowa Wesleyan) and cornerbacks/brothers Kevin Frank (Montana) and Kiki Frank (Montana Tech).
O’Connor is from Lincoln High, Brunet from Del Oro, Wagner from Roseville and the Franks from Elk Grove.
They are all fortunate, but none more so than Bloomfield. If ever an athlete truly earned a scholarship, it would have to be a guy who admires a brother who will spend the rest of his life behind bars
Bloomfield has learned from his brother’s mistakes and holds nothing against him. He honors his older sibling by being an example to his 14-year-old sister, Rose, and 10-year-old brother Paul.
“I can’t tell them to do their homework if I’m not doing mine,” he said. “That’s being a hypocrite.”
By playing at Sacramento State, Bloomfield will be close enough to keep an eye on his younger siblings. And now that the family has a car that works, they can make it to the games on Saturdays.
Bloomfield has yet to decide whether he will live on campus or stay at home. It is Tongan tradition for children to live with their families until they are married. Bloomfield can’t afford a girlfriend.
At least his last two years in college will be free, but Bloomfield paid for his scholarship in currency other than money. The price was paying respect to his brother by not following in his footsteps.
Bloomfield stands on his own two feet these days.