HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico basketball player Walter Williams vividly remembers that night in 2005. He awoke in the middle of the night and watched as his father was carried down the stairs on a stretcher. His father, also named Walter, would die of an asthma attack. His oldest son was just eight years old.
"I didn't really get to say 'I love you,' he remembers. "The only thing that was said was 'goodnight, go to bed,' so i never got to tell him i loved him before he left, which is kind of hard to deal with now."
Walter knows he could have gone down a rough road, but instead, chose to grow up a little bit quicker than most kids his age. Still in elementary school, he became the man of the house, doing his best to take care of his younger brother, as well as his mother, who worked full time. Walter says it was about a year after his dad's death when he decided that he had to step up and be a role model for his brother, and that he wouldn't use the tragic event as an excuse to make bad decisions.
Basketball was introduced to Walter at a young age and it gives him an outlet through his challenges. Now a senior guard for the Warriors, he keeps his dad in the front of his mind. He writes 'RIP Dad' on his shoe, and before every game he touches the inscription and points to the sky, knowing that his biggest fan is watching.
"Every time, when I touch my shoe and I point up, I can hear him saying in my head, good luck I love you son," says Walter."
The Henrico senior's basketball career won't end when he graduates in the spring. Walter will attend Virginia State on a basketball scholarship, something that means a lot to him, considering his father was never able to go to college.
"He didn't go to college, so for me to have his name and go to college and be good at what I do... he would be really happy for me."
Walter's Henrico team is currently 14-1 and is widely considered one of the best high school teams in the state. To view the story on Walter, click on the above video.