Rock ‘N Rumble VII: Emily Jones
Thursday, March 23 2017
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Rock ‘N Rumble VII in Boston on May 18th. They’ve committed to four months of fundraising and training in preparation to get in the ring and literally fight for a cure. Whether their mom is battling, their father has passed or their friend has put up a victory against the disease – they’ve all got a story to tell and they’ve all got a reason to fight. Below you’ll hear from Emily Jones, fighting out of EverbodyFights in South Boston.
Where are you from?
Harvard, MA a small town about 45 mins outside of Boston.
Where’d you go to college?
Undergrad at Wellesley College, grad school (Masters in Marine Science) at Northeastern…been in the Boston area all my life.
Did you play any sports growing up?
I played soccer all growing up and still play whenever I get the chance. My first semester in college I joined the rugby team and never looked back. I’ve played rugby every single season, fall and spring, since 2003. After I graduated from college I joined the Beantown Rugby Football Club, a top-level women’s rugby team based in Boston. I have played with Beantown for the last 10 years. Over the years I have also participated in National Team training camps and tryouts.
What do you do for work?
I’m an Associate Scientist at the New England Aquarium. Most people don’t know that there is more to the Aquarium than just the animals you see on exhibit; we also have a research department that does cutting edge marine research and conservation. My research program focuses on sharks and other fishes. We primarily study fisheries interactions with these species. (For example, we ask questions like: when a shark is accidentally caught and then released, what are its chances of survival? Are there ways to modify fishing practices to improve its chances of survival?) Our research is field-based and we partner with commercial or recreational fishermen to conduct our studies and collect data. This means that during the field season I get to spend a lot of time on boats on the ocean. I love my job!
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
I began boxing casually as a way to mix up my rugby training a little bit—hitting a bag is way more fun than sprint workouts or weight lifting. But in the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to fight. How much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight? I knew I wanted to fight before I decided to do Haymakers. I wanted to fight because I wanted to learn something about myself. After years of team sports, I wanted to do something where 100% of the accountability was on my shoulders. If I failed it would be entirely on me and if I succeeded it would be because I got myself there. I wanted to pour my entire focus and effort into something and see what I could get out of it.
Why on earth did you sign up to fight??
In the end, taking into account the answers to the questions above and the below, it was a no brainer! I feel so incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in H4H. I believe this is going to be a transformative experience and I’ve loved every second of it so far. It’s been a rollercoaster—one day I feel like I’m going to be okay at this sport and then the next I feel completely hopeless at it—but I’m enjoying the ride and I relish both the ups and the downs in equal measure. I am doing this in part to feel challenged and frustrated and uncomfortable. I’ve never left the gym upset or disappointed.
You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure - where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
Like everyone else, I’ve watched friends and family members fight the disease over the years. However, in December, my uncle was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. When I found out, I immediately decided that I wanted to do Haymakers. My uncle, Dr. Philippe Gros, is a brilliant geneticist and biochemist and a leading cancer researcher. His groundbreaking work has helped advance our knowledge of the disease and its treatments. He has literally worked his entire life to fight cancer for others and now he has to fight for himself. I want to help champion the fight against cancer for him the way that he has championed the fight against cancer for so many others. He inspires me and he is the reason I am fighting. I want to show support for him and for my family.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
The biggest challenge so far has been getting myself to bed at a reasonable hour so I can get enough sleep!
When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
My main sport is still rugby. I also play soccer when I can and I really love indoor rock climbing. Climbing is my off-day activity every Sunday!
The fight actually falls right in the middle of the competitive rugby season, so I’ll be juggling boxing training with playing rugby and captaining the team…hopefully to a National Championship. Here’s hoping I don’t accidentally punch someone on the field or tackle someone in the ring!
I actually think the two sports complement each other nicely. I think rugby makes me a good fighter because I’m aggressive and unafraid of contact and the boxing training has made me a better rugby player through improved quickness and agility. The drawback of my rugby background is that the years of smashing headfirst into contact appear to have quelled any instinct to move my head out of the way when punched repeatedly. Haha! I really need to work on my head movement!
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
My rugby teammates are pretty excited, I think. Full contact practices can be intense and we hit (tackle) each other a lot…I think they’re excited to see someone else beat me up for a change. They are incredibly supportive of the whole thing. I wish they could be there on fight night, but we have practice! On the flip side, considering they’ve watched me get run over on the rugby field for the last 13 years, my parents have surprised me by being very nervous about the whole boxing thing.
Be sure to check out her fundraising page here! Best of luck, Emily!