Bringing Joy to the game

A good mother will always go the extra mile for her child, and Anne Jones is no exception. Despite her daughter Joy’s multiple injuries that haunted her tennis career, Anne was convinced Joy could still play. So Anne sent secret emails to college coaches, and the resolution is Joy Jones has joined the Grambling women’s tennis team this spring.

Jones wondered if playing tennis in college was still possible after graduating high school without any letter of intent. But Anne Jones’ unwavering faith in her daughter’s talent led her to send various emails and make numerous phone calls to college coaches, all without her daughter’s knowledge. 

After being injured during her junior year, Jones’ ranking began to drop, causing college recruits to divert their attention to other rising players. 

“Everyone knows your junior and senior year is your time to truly show recruits what you’re about,” said Jones, a native of Las Vegas. “I didn’t get a chance to show my 100 percent” 

Time elapsed quickly and the summer of 2011 raced by, Jones decided to remain in Las Vegas to continue to train and attend tournaments to help raise her ranking. 

 Until the day Kenneth Meyers, head coach of the GSU tennis team, emailed Jones’ mother back. 

“(Meyers) informed us of his visit to Las Vegas and (scheduled) to meet with me,” said Jones. “I was honestly nervous, scared and everything above because I hadn’t played tennis for a while and here’s this D1 coach wanting to meet with me.” 

Coach Meyers put Jones’ pride, determination, heart and, most importantly, her talent to the ultimate test as they worked out together for the first time during the summer of 2011.

“My performance was not up to par and I was so out of shape, however, he saw the ability I had within,” said the sophomore biology major. 

Jones was forced to sit out sat out her first year at Grambling during the 2011-2012 season, due a NCAA ruling that some of her home-schooled classes didn’t meet the NCAA requirements. 

Jones was home-schooled her entire life, but she took one Sociology class her senior year at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas. 

“We wanted Joy to have a faith-based education,” said Anne Jones, the Senior Pastor  of Life Christian Center in Las Vegas. “We wanted her not only to be academically strong but also strong in her religious faith.”

Jones was allowed to compete with Canyon Spring tennis team while being home-schooled. She graduated from the Gateway Christian Academy home schooling program in June 2011. 

Jones believes everyone should vote “yes” to the proposed Athletic Bill in the 2013 SGA Elections. It will give a chance for the Lady Tigers to receive much needed funds. 

The Lady Tigers currently practice under unfortunate circumstances. There practice court is “the one with all the cracks” located on the side of Grambling’s Intramural Center. 

According to Jones in order to develop better tennis players, the athletic department must change the training regime and improve the training facilities.  

“We do not have our games in Grambling because the tennis courts are so bad,” said Jones. “We have play our home games at Ruston High School.”  

“I do believe if our training had been more intense as far as weight training and a better facility at practice at, we would made it to the SWAC tournament.” 

The Lady Tigers ended this season at bottom of the SWAC, with a 1-6 in SWAC and 1-11 overrall. As a freshman on the court, Jones and her doubles partner, Tafadzwa Chiridza, received 2nd All-SWAC double team award.

“I am not yet satisfied and I truly think I will never be satisfied,” said the youngest out of five children. “I haven’t accomplished all I am capable of and I will continue to work until I am no longer capable.”