‘BoniBlog – Jonesy is a Games’ kind of guy

Keeping score on the lengthy – and accomplished – career of Terry Jones is no easy feat.
“There aren’t really statistics for sports writers other than event coverages,” the man called “Jonesy” said during cocktail hour of the Laureus/AIPS World Press Nite Vancouver. “I’d love to know how many national anthems I’ve stood for, airline miles I’ve piled up, all those nights in hotels, all that kind of stuff, I have no idea. But you can keep score of the events coverage: 16 Olympics, seven Commonwealth Games, three Pan-Ams, there was a Goodwill Games in there and, of course, we had the Universiade in Edmonton.
“I don’t know what it is but I like the challenge of getting up and covering something that’s out of my wheelhouse a little bit and hopefully convincing somebody that I actually know something about that sport. I’m a Games’ kind of guy.”

2003 Sports Media Canada Outstanding Sportswriting Award recipient Terry Jones

Jones is an affable big man whose career honours include the 2003 Sports Media Canada Award for writing. His career spanned from 1967 to ’82 with The Edmonton Journal before he made the leap to The Edmonton Sun on his birthday in 1982. He’s covered virtually everything that’s anything over his 42-year-and-counting journalism career.
“I think it’s 36 consecutive Grey Cups and for all I know it might be 37,” he said. “I know I’m over 100 in World Series games, over 20 in Super Bowls, every Canada Cup/World Cup of hockey since ’76 and a real variety. I’ve done pushing 20 World Figure Skating championships, we’ve had the World Track and Field in Edmonton and I went to two or three of those. That’s one of the things we’ve had so many major international events in Edmonton that in an attempt to educate the town I got educated. It’s a pretty interesting place.”
He hails from Lacombe, Alberta, a town now of about 11,000 in central Alberta, north of Red Deer and south of Edmonton. He remembers making $4 per week when he was in Grade 7, collecting kids’ sports scores for The Lacombe Globe and was full-time in the business by the time he hit Grades 11-12.
“I might be the luckiest guy in my time in the business,” Jones said. “I mean, I covered Wayne Gretzky and arguably the greatest, if not the greatest, I’m sure the most exciting hockey team I think, in the Edmonton Oilers. They and the Montreal Canadiens were pretty good, too. But there were five Stanley Cups in that time (for the Oilers). And then there were five consecutive Grey Cups with the Edmonton Eskimos.
“You know, in my first 10 Grey Cups I also had my team in the game. There are two things they say you don’t want to take to the Grey Cup, your wife and your team!”
With that, he let out that Jonesy laugh all of us have come to know. After all the work he’s done, Jones is always, always a magnet for drawing other members of his lodge for some good times and fun banter.
He had a great time at the Laureus/AIPS World Press Nite in which he engaged Alberto (La Bomba) Tomba in an interview. Even at a social event, he couldn’t resist the urge to have his pen poised for a column.
His Olympics career was launched with Montreal in 1976 and since then he’s only missed the Games of Moscow and Lake Placid. As Vancouver heads into its final days, I thought Jonesy’s perspective would be invaluable.
“These have really been strange,” he said. “On some levels, they’re brilliant. They had a really bad start – a lot of it to do with bad luck and some of it to do with bad weather. But the one thing that impressed more than anything else was that VANOC made some mistakes but they were pretty good at correcting them.
“I’ve found that particularly with the Games we had Seoul and the recent one in China which was an unbelievable Olympics in a lot of ways they were trained to hit the fastball but didn’t know what to do with the curve. Well, these guys here hit the curve.”
Well put, Jonesy!