A basketball player for Marin County’s Branson High School Bulls is desperately trying to find a jersey stolen out of his car that belonged to his fallen classmate.
The team held one last practice on Thursday morning before yet another big game. And while they will have five men on the court, this team will still go into battle feeling one man short.
“Kwentyn was like our distributor, scorer, playmaker, he was everything,” said teammate Mike Keefe. Hence the words on their shoes, which read, “All For You.”
The former #11, Kwentyn Wiggins, died in a late-night, solo car crash on Highway 101 in Corte Madera last June.
“There were 10 to 11 colleges on his list,” said Kwentyn’s mother, La Tanya Wiggins.
When asked how you go from such promise to such pain, his mother said, “It’s the hardest thing to deal with. I have no idea how I keep going.”
Now Wiggins wears her son’s image around her neck and carries his image permanently on her left arm.
She did have his #11 home jersey, but gave it back to the team, where his best friend Peyton Mullarkey opened the season wearing it.
“We wanted his jersey out there for senior year,” Wiggins said. “We felt that we needed Peyton to wear that jersey.”
Mullarkey added, “He’s like our sixth man. Always with us.”
Bad luck intervened after a game in Oakland last month when someone broke into the Mullarkey family car and took the backpack containing that jersey.
“When we came back and saw that glass, my heart dropped,” he told us.
Getting that jersey back has become as important for the team and family as winning a championship. Branson High School had planned to retire it this year.
“You know, having a duplicate jersey is not the same as the one he sweated in, won a championship in, played with his team in,” Wiggins said.
Sports jerseys. Those of us who get attached to them do so because of feelings and memories. Their value transcends cloth and numbers. To the rest of the world, and probably the thief, it’s just like any other high school jersey.
In this case, friends and Wiggins want it back, no questions asked.
“It means everything,” she said. “It is absolutely priceless. It is one of a kind.”
As is every child.