For fans of Virginia Basketball, John Paul Jones and the initials JPJ represent the home arena of the 2019 NCAA Champion Cavaliers. Some hear the name and think of the naval commander that uttered the famous words “I have not yet begun to fight!” during the American Revolutionary War, or the legendary bassist for Led Zepplin.
More recently, however, John Paul Jones has emerged in popular culture as the affable contestant with surfer bro vibes from the ABC series ‘The Bachelorette’ and this summer’s ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ (BIP). Jones, a 24-year-old financial analyst from Maryland, was a suitor on Hannah Brown’s season of ‘The Bachelorette’ before hitting the beaches of Mexico in the ongoing spinoff featuring “Bachelor Nation” personalities.
Quick explainer: ‘The Bachelor/ette’ features one person that is pursued by 25 (or so) suitors of the opposite gender. ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ puts former “competitors” of ‘The Bachelor/ette’ on a beach and they try and find love.
If you’re super tuned in to the Virginia Basketball online presence, you may have noticed John Paul Jones the arena taking to the Twittersphere to live-blog JPJ the suitor’s journey to find love. The tweets started in earnest in mid-May when ‘The Bachelorette’ got underway.
Since then, the JPJ Arena Twitter account — which has just shy of 5,000 followers — has appointed themselves the No. 1 JPJ fan.
“Although JPJ Arena is not named after John Paul Jones from BIP, the opportunity to support a fellow John Paul Jones on the national scale could not be passed up,” one of the people running the JPJ Arena Twitter account told Streaking the Lawn via direct message. On top of the familiar name, it turns out that Bachelor JPJ has something else in common with our favorite university. “Once it was discovered that his mother was a former UVA athlete as well (Cross Country), the love of JPJ was solidified.”
The arena account is run by a trio of people, and they asked to remain anonymous to keep the JPJ magic alive. It’s not run by anyone affiliated with the athletic department, but instead is managed by SMG, a group hired by the University to run the arena. None of the social team watched any of the franchise pre-JPJ, but once a fellow John Paul Jones entered the mix, that was that. Now, the entire office likes to follow along and check in on the timeline.
When they bought in to the JPJ Bachelorette experience, they fully committed to the bit. Tweets about champagne and rose ceremonies populated the feed, and they changed the account header picture. There was even mention of potentially hosting a watch party in the 14,593 seat venue.
Should we host a watch party for #TheBachelorette next week with free flowing Champagne? Either way, as long as John Paul Jones keeps getting a rose, he stays on our header! pic.twitter.com/nXieC5BvfN— John Paul Jones Arena (@JPJArena) May 14, 2019
JPJ made it all the way through Week 4 of Hannah Brown’s season before failing to get a rose. Paradise started shortly after, and Jones has been a major player throughout the summer series.
It hasn’t all been rosé and roses, however. When John Paul Jones’s relationship with Tayshia Adams was threatened by another suitor — Derek Peth — the JPJ Arena account started taking some flak from annoyed viewers that confused them with the person.
Disclaimer: We are not the account of John Paul Jones the person on Bachelor In Paradise. Your harsh tweets are amusing however #BachelorInParadise— John Paul Jones Arena (@JPJArena) September 4, 2019
The arena social team took it all in stride, saying, “...none of the aggressive tweets are actually aimed at JPJ Arena, and are actually supposed to be aimed at JPJ himself. @JPJArena was just verified last week and thus the timing of the drama on BIP and the verification made it easier for people to mistake the arena account with JPJ’s account. Everyone who tweeted at the arena by mistake got a reply and everyone laughed about it when they realized.”
Fans that tweeted at the arena instead of the man got witty responses in turn, some as if an actual building was talking, some using UVA gifs to get the point across:
Really? Did something happen to the exterior brick facade we should know about?— John Paul Jones Arena (@JPJArena) September 3, 2019
JPJ Arena occupation is being the largest indoor arena in the commonwealth of Virginia— John Paul Jones Arena (@JPJArena) September 3, 2019
John Paul Jones is still alive on BIP, and you can catch all the action tonight (Tuesday) at 8pm on ABC for the penultimate episode of the season. Or, just hit that follow button on JPJ Arena.
John Paul Jones Arena will be alive and hopping on Friday night as they welcome back the National Champion basketball team for the banner raising and ring ceremony.