LA soccer original: The Times’ Grahame L. Jones in his natural habitat – The Home Depot Center press box.
I sat next to long-time LA Times soccer reporter Grahame L. Jones in the press box at Galaxy, Chivas USA and assorted other soccer games for the last decade or so of his almost four decade-long career.
Grahame’s elegant game stories concisely and authoritatively encapsulated the game; his columns provided nuanced perspective and context, yet never alienated the novice fan.
He pioneered soccer reporting in Southern California, enduring copy editors to the end of his career who were largely clueless about the sport. His was a national voice for a largely ignored sport, contributing to the game’s growth in a way few others did.
If his worst fault was that he was too harsh on the nascent Major League Soccer (The Times, with its global pretensions, preferred he focus on the European game anyway), well, Grahame had earned the role of grumpy uncle by virtue of his long career.
Typical of Grahame, his final column was not about him, but Southern California’s rich soccer history – much of which he had chronicled.
Grahame’s retirement e-mail bemused those who don’t know of his passion for maritime history and culture.
But if he hadn’t retired to take care of his elderly parents, you would likely find him aboard a freighter with a good book in one hand and a whiskey in the other, content in the slow inexorable journey across the ocean rather than the destination.
Which is a good metaphor for his career: It has been a grand voyage and one that smoothed the waters for those of us who came after.