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HOW CAN YOU NOT BE ROMANTIC ABOUT SPORTS?




I was trying to think of ways to get you, the reader, to understand me, Evan Jones, a little better. If you asked my wife and other family members about how to understand me better, they'd say, "good luck" probably. When I asked my wife, Mackenzie, this question, I heard crickets for about thirty seconds and then she had a wonderful answer to my surprise.


She said I am "passionate." It took me by surprise a little. Kenzie went on to say that passion flows into my work ethic and how I prioritize my faith, her, and the rest of our family.


But I'm not here to toot my own horn. I'm here to tell you why I decided to get back into the sports media business.


Warning: as you read this, you'll learn that I try my best "feel my feelings" and that I wear my emotions on my sleeve.


We'll go back about 18 years ago, after a long day as a second grader at Cambridge Public Schools. I went to the living room and flipped on the television. I found a channel playing classic sporting events. What was on the screen had me entranced. The 1998 Finals, which of course featured the Chicago Bulls versus the Utah Jazz. I discovered the love of basketball as Michael Jordan and his incredible play was one of the first core memories I have about sports.


As much fun as it was to watch the game, what sticks in my mind so often were the announcers. Specifically Bob Costas. The way he called the game with such grace, preparedness, and smoothness was incredible. So after watching that game, I went outside to play basketball. But I didn't just play the game, I called it too.


The court I grew up playing on was unique. We moved north of town when I was young, my father placed the basketball hoop on a small portion of the buffalo grass and said, "make your own court." So I got to dribbling. I turned the buffalo grass into a dirt court quickly as I pounded the ball into the ground. I remember asking many times for my birthday, to get a concrete court. I'm glad my dad never made it one though.


But, back to the playing basketball and calling the games at the same time. I would find myself often times becoming so winded because I would be running, jumping, and shooting the ball while jabbering about what myself and the team was doing on the court. Good conditioning I guess? The beauty of it all was how at that time I thought I was working on my basketball skills, but at the same time without knowing, was I that I was becoming a broadcaster.


How can you not be romantic about sports?


Let's fast forward to college. It was my second year working for the Rural Radio Network in Lexington and they began sending me to cover Husker Football games. I remember it like yesterday, September 17th, 2016. The Huskers were down 32-28 against Oregon. with just under four minutes to go. I was down on the field getting ready to go do post game interviews. Things were dicey, but quarterback Tommy Armstrong scampered in from 34 yards to give the Huskers the lead and ultimately win the game. It was deafening. Magical to say the least.


My adrenaline was pumping and I had to look around and take it all in.


Following the postgame interviews, I was taken aback. I sat in my car in the parking garage in awe. Growing up a huge Husker fan, it was surreal to be covering the Big Red and being a part of a game like that.


How can you not be romantic about sports?



Mackenzie captured this image on television when Tommy Armstrong scored late in the game.


I was raised as an Atlanta Braves fan. My aunt and uncle lived in Atlanta for years and it was engrained in me to love the Braves. I probably took it a little far though as a youngster and I may have fibbed a time or two. When new kids would move to Cambridge, I would tell them my uncle was Chipper Jones and I would spend my summers on his ranch in Texas.


Of course, that was not true.


But this past year, on November 2nd, 2021 the Braves won the World Series for the first time since 1995. I cried like a baby in my living room. It was wonderful. I had the opportunity to share the moment with Cody Gerlach, who runs the Valley Voice. The text conversation is perfect.





How can you not be romantic about sports?


Now on a more personal matter, following college I took a job within the Rural Radio Network in York and began covering high school athletics and then in my second year there, the Concordia Bulldogs. It was a dream gig.


In the winter of 2020, my wife Mackenzie and I had our first child who was to be due in the spring. Due to complications, we lost our baby, a beautiful girl named Scout.


But I will never, ever forget, my first game back for the Concordia Bulldogs. I brought my wife with me as being apart was hard. Concordia set up a chair right next to me for her to sit. The Athletic Director Devin Smith came by and chatted with us, giving us his condolences prior to tip-off as he was my color commentator for the games. Then their SID Jake Knabel did the same thing. And finally, Angela Muller, the Associate Athletic Director came over, with tear-filled eyes and wrapped my wife in a hug.


They had never met. But Angela treated my bride with such care and kindness that isn't found just anywhere. I began to cry and had to recompose myself before going on the air.


Concordia holds a special place in my heart and always will.


How can you not be romantic about sports?





A couple of months after we lost Scout, I decided I couldn't do it anymore. There were a number of contributing factors, but my love for calling games and the energy it took was gone.


So we moved home.


I initially worked for my dad at our family business, Bernie Jones Automotive, but certain circumstances made us make the decision to close. Currently, I work at First Central Bank, a wonderful place that has allowed me to grow and learn, and also has allowed me to do this project on the side.


When I moved back, my mother in-law, Jennifer Kaps, mentioned this idea--a blog and podcast covering the RPAC. I told her at the time I wanted nothing to do with it.


But here we are, launching a media business to cover the RPAC and do some personal projects. I am forever grateful that she planted the seed to get back into the media.


This journey is going to be a ton of fun and I'm glad to have you along.

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