Just To Be Asking: Emily Jones

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald

Staying competitive while having a blast: It’s what all high school athletes try to fuse and what Emily Jones excels at. One minute, the Jasper senior guard is in your grille on defense. The next, she’s as animated as an 10-year old. Whether it’s soccer, basketball or band, Jones is at full-throttle.

We’ll start with the important stuff. Thanksgiving. What’s on Emily Jones’ plate?
Mashed potatoes, for sure. Turkey, of course. That’s a given. And everybody doesn’t like green bean casserole, but I love green bean casserole. I specially asked my Aunt Janet to make it for me this year. We all met at my grandma’s house up in Wisconsin. Both sides of my family live up there. I just sleep the whole time (on the drive), so it’s not that bad. You wake up and you’re like, “Oh, we’re here.”

Quantitywise, would you say you can pull your weight?
Compared to my little brother (Zach), I can’t pull my weight. He goes three or four plates in. But I can probably do two.

That’s respectable.
You have to make room for pumpkin pie.

You’re a veteran at this.
You have to make room for pumpkin pie.

I think the first time we talked was last year during basketball. And I had asked you about a defense and you explained “Monster” (Jasper’s zone trap defense) and you growled at me. I’m curious, was that the first time you ever growled at a reporter?
(Laughs) Yeah.

But that’s what people like: someone who’s outgoing. At the same time, you’re really focused. How do you try and balance that, having fun but also staying focused?
My dad (John), at the beginning of my senior year, he goes, “What’s one goal you want to have your senior year?” You know, because of basketball, soccer and band and that stuff. (I said), “Well, I want to have fun.” (He said), “Yeah, that’s a good goal.” So after every game, even if we won or we lost, he’s like, “Did you have fun?” And I was like, “Yeah, that was fun.” ... I guess just being out there — you know, it’s just me, Tori (Sermersheim) and Brooke (Lueken) — even if it’s us three seniors, it’s fun to be out there with Maddie (Ubelhor) and Nicolette (Eckert) and all those girls, because they’re my friends. And at the same time, we’re at practice today and Coach (Ryan Erny) gets really mad at us and we run down-and-backs; it’s still fun to be here because I love playing basketball. And it’s just being with your friends and doing something that you love. You put that together so it’s hard work but it’s worth it.

You developed a nickname freshman year of soccer. Is it Dug? What does that stem from?
All right, so it started at the Princeton game, in soccer. I had just gotten in and it was a corner kick. And I remember this because the ball, whenever it happened, I ran in and if (assistant coach Andy Daub) wouldn’t have said (“Jones”), I would have headed the ball into the goal. And I was very mad at him because I would have scored and I was so angry. It was a varsity game and I was so excited and then Daub’s like, “Jones!” And I turned my head really fast like (I’m looking at) the stupid squirrel in (the Disney movie) “Up.” And they’re all laughing on the sidelines because I missed this header and I’m just like, “No!” I was so angry!

Have you now been able to shake that? Can you now concentrate?
I can. Freshman year was bad because everybody’s got ADD freshman year. They’re just like, “Ugh! What’s going on?!” But once you get into the groove of things, like sophomore year, he’d say (my name) and I’m like (reluctantly turns head), “Yes?”

And you play the saxophone in the Jasper band. But that’s tough to do that and a sport in the same season. What’s that like juggling the two at the same time?
Sundays are homework days. I get up in the morning and go to church, I come home and I put on my sweatpants and T-shirt and I sit on the couch and watch football with my dad and do my homework. And then I get to bed really late, but that’s OK. Mondays aren’t bad because I only have practice or a game because we only have band on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but if it was a (band) practice day, then I would go from school to soccer practice and then my mom (Kathy) would bring me food and I would eat at band and then change in the bathroom.

At the Evansville Memorial game (Nov. 23), Brooke Lueken carried you off the floor at the end of the game.
I was so embarrassed by that!

You go from soccer and band to getting carried off the floor by a teammate. Are you getting lazy?
(Laughs) We shook hands and I always do this stupid thing (begins subtle dance move) and we walk really weird and (Brooke) was laughing at me and she was like, “Jones, jump into my arms!” And I leapt into her arms and I didn’t know the (Herald photographer) was right there or I wouldn’t have done it. My mom brought that picture to Thanksgiving in Wisconsin and my grandma (Ruth), I thought she was going to stop breathing because she was laughing so hard.

You want to play with people who enjoy the game and are competitive but have fun. So what do you think you’ll miss most about high school sports?
I’ll miss my teammates the most. Even when we’re at practice and we’re running a diamond drill — we do that a lot, it’s just like slides and all this — because you’re going through it with the same people every day, and they know that you’re playing for them and they’re playing for you. You’re all on the same level playing for each other. And that brings you closer than you would actually think. So when I walk down the hallway, I see Elizabeth Verkamp; I’m not kidding, every single passing period. And we don’t even plan it. We’re walking down the hallway and I’ll look up and be like, “Oh, hey.” (laughs) And I play soccer with her, too, so it makes it even better. And we have so many inside jokes, and that makes it even better. If I’m walking down the hallway and I see Tori, she’s like, “Jonesyyyy.” I get that a lot. It’s weird.

Do you have a favorite nickname? Do you prefer Jonesy or Dug?
I have a lot of nicknames. I don’t really go by Emily. So whenever Coach says, “Emily,” I’m like, “Oh, me?” And everyone else is like, “Wait, did he just say that?” (laughs)

Interview by Joe Jasinski

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