A tribute to Gene and Honey Hunt, from Torey Burston
Torey Burston wrote the names “Honey” and “Gene” on a tape job on his right wrist for the Black and Gold Game on Saturday. If you looked closely last season, you may have seen a pair of sneakers with those same names etched on the soles in Sharpie. They aren’t just friends or family, these are the names of two of the biggest fans in VCU history, and they had a lasting impression on Torey.
If you look closely on our forums, you’ll see that years back, we dedicated the men’s basketball forum thread to Dr. Hunt. He always kept his message positive, and contributed so much to the program through his years.
Dr. Hunt contracted pneumonia while cheering on the Rams during their Final Four run, an illness which would cause lingering complications. In his last years, he would still come to VCU games (health permitting), fans admiring as he slowly made his way down to his seat, greeting nearly everyone along the way. He passed in December of 2014. Michael Litos wrote this wonderful piece about he and his wife, Honey. Honey passed away just a few months later, in March of 2015.
When Torey Burston moved in with his grandma and uncle in December of 2012, his uncle kept telling him that he needed to meet with the Hunts. They lived 3 doors down. The day before Torey moved to live on-campus at VCU, he walked over to meet Gene and Honey. He remembers the day – December 26th, 2012. Torey tells me he sat in their house and talked for an hour – about the history of VCU, and what it meant to them. The conversation that took place in that living room was one that would build a strong relationship between Torey and the Hunts. On various occasions, he would go back to their house, to check in on them, and to sit and talk basketball.
Torey considered the Hunts family. In fact, both families were quite connected – Torey’s aunt would do some of the housework for the Hunts, cutting grass, and whatever else needed to get done.
Fast forward to Torey’s senior season here at VCU. He has a nagging wrist injury which requires him to tape it up. He writes Honey and Gene on the tape for every practice, every game. He tells me any time he does something good – create a turnover, get an assist, etc, he looks at the tape as a reminder. And when things don’t go so well, the tape is a reminder to him to stay positive. For that, he feels that they still have an impact on VCU today.
If you follow Torey on Twitter, or you’ve had a chance to talk with him, there’s one thing to really take away – he is happy, and appreciative. That is something we can all aspire to be. He learned this from Honey Hunt, who told him every time he saw her: “live happy all the time”.