The simple word “fencing” brings all manner of images to mind. From white picket fencing, which represented the suburban American Dream of the 1950s, to border fencing, which has become the most divisive issue of the 2016 presidential campaign, fencing resonates deeply with the soul of the American public.
The sport of fencing doesn’t have quite such a universal national appeal. But that’s certainly not the fault of Simon Jones ’16. On the contrary, Jones is doing everything he can to make fencing more exciting to a national audience, starting by qualifying for three NCAA championships in his four-year career with the Bears.
Jones, who fences “epee” — which, despite widely held public belief, is not an electronic toilet device, but a type of fencing — recently qualified for his third NCAA championship as a Bear, and placed 12th in the competition, earning his second All-American honor.
Born in Louisville, Colorado — which holds the prestigious distinction of the No. 2 spot on the “best-known towns named Louisville” list — Joneshas now completed his career as a student-athlete, but he’s not done with the Brown Bears: He’ll return next year as an assistant coach for the fencing team.
Jones’ life has been built around fencing: He’s fenced in the junior olympics and nationals as well as Junior World Cups in Slovakia, Sweden and Finland. And now, as his career with the Bears concludes, he leaves Brown a three-time NCAA finalist and two-time All American.
For reaching his third NCAA championship in his final days as a Bear, Jones has been named The Herald’s Athlete Of The Week.
Herald: First of all, do you have any nickname, rap name, professional wrestling name, anything like that?
Jones: Whenever we play soccer, they call me “the wall” because I’m a good goalie, but I don’t have a particular fencing nickname.
Preparing for the biggest competition of your life, you’ve got to eat a huge pregame meal somewhere on campus. Where are you going?
Gotta be a campus eatery … It’s got to be the V-Dub. It’s unlimited food. Hopefully it’s Chicken Pot Pie — that’s the plan, that’s the way to go.
If you had to be any famous fictional villain, who are you, and why?
Kilgrave. I mean, he can control people with his thoughts. I think I would be Kilgrave, because he’s … the creepiest. He’s in Jessica Jones … I’m not sure what universe he’s in, I think he’s in Marvel. I should know.
I’ve got two would-you-rathers. First: step on the Pembroke Seal, or give up Andrews cookie slices?
Give up Andrews’ cookie slices.
Second: Spend a Winter night alone on the top floor of Sayles, or eat only at the Ratty for a week?
Oh, the top floor of Sayles, that’s fine, no problem. It’s not haunted or anything.
Do you have any funny fencing stories?
I once lost 15-14 because the other person accidentally hit my back foot. It was the most frustrating thing. It was actually a comeback: I was down 13-7, and I brought it back to 14-14, and we got in close … He took a parry prime, which no one will understand if they don’t fence, but he took prime and accidentally hit my back foot and won. I was like, damn. It’s the worst. But you know, it happens.
Finally, who’s your favorite celebrity Simon?
I don’t really know very many celebrity Simons. The only one I can think of right now is Simon Cowell, but he’s not my favorite celebrity Simon because it would be pretty much anyone else. Let’s go with Paul Simon.