Quick story that has a good bit of importance to me…
I was born in 1980, just in time for a pretty spectacular period of VCU basketball. J.D. Barnett was our new coach and in charge of a group talented enough to take us to our first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. We followed that up with four more tournament appearances over the next five years, and won a game in each.
Of course I don’t remember a lick of that because I was five by the time that original golden age ended and the Mike Pollio era (or error) began. But I do remember a few things from that time…
I remember growing up with a dad who would listen to Terry Sisisky call our games on AM radio before we were getting consistently televised games on ESPN and Comcast SportsNet. I remember wearing VCU sweatshirts to school when my friends were wearing UNC and Duke. I remember going to Sonny Smith basketball camp at the Franklin Street gym and playing hoops all day in a 100-degree room before many of our current players who practice there daily were even born. I remember spotlights and GNR’s “Welcome to the Jungle” before home games at the Coliseum. This was before any daggers, and before any Final 4s, and I know there are a lot of folks that visit this site that probably remember that time a lot better than I.
But that time was very important to me because it was really the beginning of my journey with VCU hoops.
That of course has become a major part of my life. It influenced me to get two degrees from this University, the first a BFA from VCU’s famed School of Fine Arts, the second a master’s degree from VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership — which is on it’s way to that same acclaim. But perhaps more importantly, or at least for the purpose of this article, it’s a major part of why this website exists.
I created VCURamNation.com with three of my good friends in 2007, but would venture to say that had my dad not raised me in black-and-gold, there’s a good chance this site might not be here.
I’m glad he did though, and I’m glad we’re here. I’m glad you’re here with us. I’m glad I’ve dedicated the last few years of my life to learning how to turn a website into a career (still a lot to learn in that regard), and glad that through it I was able to fly all the way to Houston, Texas to join up with my dad, William “Bill” Shelton, as VCU played in their first-ever Final 4 a little over a year ago.
But mostly I’m just happy, and lucky, to have grown up with a dad who cared enough to do all those things with me. Someone who has provided a great example of how I hope to parent now that I’m raising a child myself.
So this blog post is dedicated to you dad, I love ya, and Happy Birthday.
I like to think that this day all the way back in 1951 was a pretty important day in the history of “Ram Nation”…or at least for VCURamNation.com
PS: This is your card, so don’t expect one at dinner tonight.