#STINGDAILY: Love On The Flats

June 14, 2013

Jon Cooper, Sting Daily –

Mandatory Study Hall.

They’re not the words most often associated with a positive college experience.

But for former Yellow Jackets star athletes Scott Blair and Christy Jones, those three words hold a special place. It’s where Blair and Jones met five years ago and began a journey that will take another big step forward today when they exchange wedding vows.

The way they met is right out of a movie.

Picture it: Local boy (say, from Calhoun, Ga.) takes a seat in study hall. He looks across the room and sees the pretty girl from the heartland (say, Wichita, Kansas).

He decides he just has to meet her. So he makes his move, walking up to her, talking to her — in the process, interrupting her from her studies — and asking her out.

She agrees to go and on that first date they click.

Turns out both are athletes representing the school. Blair is the kicker on the football team, Jones is the centerfielder on the softball team. They fall in love and, after graduation, get engaged.

This afternoon comes the wedding scene.

The ceremony and reception will be held at Primrose Cottage in Roswell, in front of a group of about 150 friends and family from the southeast as well as from as far away as Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.

Both Blair (class of 2010) and Jones (class of ’11) still remember that  first encounter.

“We both had mandatory study hall. Needless to say, she was studying while I was focused on introducing myself,” he said, adding, “See, mom and dad? Not studying has its perks too!”

“I was just sitting in study hall reading my physics book when this guy caught my attention!” Jones remembered. “Fortunately, he made the first move and asked me on a date to Chow Baby!”

The two became each other’s No. 1 fan, always attending the other’s games.

“I absolutely loved watching Christy play softball,” said Blair. “She would fly around the field, making full-out diving catches, crashing into fences to rob home runs, and gunning people down trying to take an extra base. A couple of us — the softball boyfriends — painted up for the big games and had a blast cheering the girls on as they dominated.”

“It was a blast cheering Scott on,” recalled Jones. “It’s nerve-racking being the kicker’s girlfriend. Some of the other softball players and I tried to go to as many games as we could. We made so many great memories traveling to UNC, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Tampa, and Miami. My favorite part was watching Scott chase down some of the really fast guys to make some tackles!”

Each gave the other plenty to cheer about.

In Blair’s years on the Flats, Georgia Tech football won the school’s first ACC Championship in 2009 (later vacated), with Blair providing a reliable leg, converting 15 of 17 field goal attempts, a single-season school-record 88.2 success rate — including going 4-for-4 in the Conference Championship Game against Clemson — and 36 of 37 extra points. In 53 career games (tied for third-most all-time), he was 41-for-56 on field goals, a school-best 73.2 percent success rate, and 116 of 120 on PATs. His 116 extra points rank fourth all-time in Tech history, while his 239 points rank fifth. He also was a superb punter, as in his sophomore year, his lone season punting, he dropped 11 of 41 punts inside the 20 and boomed six kicks over 50 yards.

Jones was a key part of Jackets’ softball teams that won three straight ACC regular-season championships (2009-11), and back-to-back ACC Tournaments (’09, ’10). The speedy center fielder, a two-time All-ACC second-team selection, slapped her way to a career .310 batting average, with a .397 on-base percentage, and stole 95 bases, the third-most in school history. As a senior, she hit .342 with a .412 OBP and 33 stolen bases, all career-bests. Defensively, Jones played an immaculate center field, fielding at a career .966 clip, with a perfect 1.000 her senior year.

She was as dynamic in the classroom, making All-ACC Academic Team all four years, capping her career by earning Capital One Academic All-District Second Team and 2011 ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

About the only time the two weren’t together was in the the classroom, as they took divergent paths to graduation. Blair graduated with a Management degree, while Jones finished the next year as a Mechanical Engineering major.

“I could not pronounce the classes that Christy took,” he said. “We did have one Econ class together. Luckily I only had that one class with her. It was tough to focus with her beside me.”

“She is the brains, the looks, the athlete…I really haven’t figured out what I bring to the table,” he added.

Blair deftly brought his management skills to the table last April 28, when he planned the couple’s “house-warming” party for the place they bought in March, turning it into an engagement party — without his fiancée’s knowledge.

“Christy’s family is from Wichita, Kan., so I wanted her to be able to celebrate with her mom, dad, and sister,” he said. “Once all of our family was there, we went outside to take a picture together. As Christy and I were taking a picture by ourselves, I dropped down on a knee and asked her the big question. She figured out later that the house-warming party was actually an engagement party so she could celebrate with all of her friends and family. Thank God she said yes!”

Jones said there wasn’t any doubt about what her answer would be, once the initial shock wore off.

“I was so surprised! I believe my first reaction was, ‘That’s not mine,'” she said, referring to the ring. “I had no idea he was going to pop the question that day. Eventually it set in and, of course, I said yes!!”

When Jones and Blair say ‘I do’ today there will be plenty of reminders of Georgia Tech abounding, as amongst the bridesmaids are former teammates Amelia Beach and Kristen Adkins, while groomsmen will include R.B. Clyburn, Chandler Anderson, Chris Tanner, and Andy Elakman. Anderson, Tanner and Elakman all were kickers — “Can you tell the kickers got along?” Blair quipped.

The Ramblin’ Wreck also will be there, serving as the couple’s car as they ride away from the event.

Blair, who has worked for two years at Morgan Stanley, where he currently serves as a financial adviser, and Jones, who recently started working at The Home Depot corporate office, where she is an energy analyst for their energy management group, are understandably excited about the big day.

Having risen to the occasion in so many pressure situations on the field for Georgia Tech they’re sure they can fight off the nerves and be at their best.

“I have been getting butterflies the week leading up to the wedding!” Jones said. “It’s somewhat similar to the feeling of playing in a big game, like an ACC Championship. I’m excited, nervous, but I know it’s the right decision!”

“I was always told by coaches, ‘If you have butterflies before a game or a big kick, it just shows how important it is to you,'” said Blair. “Not that I can compare the feelings I have for Christy to a big kick, but I do have butterflies as this is the most important and meaningful time in my life.”

The couple’s first song will be a beautiful acoustic ballad entitled “I Won’t Give Up,” by singer/songwriter Jason Mraz.

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