Aaron Jones glances down at the tickets and commits the section number to memory before every road game. It serves as his compass, guiding the Packers third-year running back to those who matter most amidst the game-day chaos.
This critical part of Jones’ pregame process tells him which direction to look to find his two biggest fans should he break off a big run or score a touchdown
Somewhere, typically high above, Alvin and Vurgess Jones watch their son intently, cheering with the same energy and enthusiasm they did when he and his twin brother, Alvin Jr., were playing sports at Burges High School in El Paso, Texas.
Back then, the twins would scan the gymnasium and stands to find their parents in the crowd. Once they made eye contact, nothing more needed to be said. It was game on.
“It’s like a sense of security for me,” Jones said. “They’ve been at my games ever since I was a little boy. To me, it’s the same thing when I’m out there, I’m just a kid playing the game I love with my parents there watching me.”
Since Aaron was drafted in 2017, Alvin Sr. and Vurgess haven’t missed a moment of their son’s NFL career. Home or away, they find a way to be in attendance. Because for so long, those cherished moments with their children weren’t always tenable.
The Joneses served in the military for 56 combined years – Alvin Sr. for 29 years before retiring in 2013 and Vurgess for 27 before joining her husband in retirement in 2016.
The family moved around a lot when Aaron was young, which required an endless number of sacrifices to be made. Aaron and Alvin Jr. lived with relatives for a time when both parents were deployed to Iraq in 2003.
Later on, Aaron can recall when his mother would do three-week tours in Iraq. She’d fly back to the United States, spend the workweek in South Carolina, where she was stationed, and then fly to El Paso to attend Aaron’s and Alvin Jr.’s games on the weekend.
No matter how far life took the Joneses from each other, Alvin Sr. and Vurgess preached to their children the importance of family, and since retiring, the two have crisscrossed the country to be there for one adventure after the next.
“I cherish all of them because the next day or hour is not promised to any of us,” Alvin Sr. said. “We cherish any minute I get to spend time with our kids and our favorite time to spend with them is watching them play.”