RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VCU fans are passionate about their basketball. If years past are indicative, Barclays Center in Brooklyn may become Siegel Center North this week as many make the trip to the Big Apple to cheer on the Rams in the A-10 Tournament.
One longtime member of Ram Nation getting an unexpected opportunity to take in the Atlantic 10 tournament, but she’ll do so with a noticable void.
April Sullivan was attending the VCU-Richmond game on Feb. 13 when a chance to win a trip to Brooklyn for the Atlantic 10 tournament popped up on the big screen.
“Wouldn’t it be so cool to go up to Brooklyn, but it’ll never happen. We can’t afford it, New York is expensive, I’m a single mom, it’s never gonna happen, and then hello! Now it’s happening!”
This longtime Ram fan texted to win two round-trip Amtrak tickets, including spots on the VCU RamCar on the way up, along with hotel accommodations.
Among all the celebration, though, one person was missing.
“When this happened he was the first person I wanted to call and tell because I know he would be so excited, so it’s a little bittersweet,” she said of her dad.
Dr. Herbert Hirsch, a 38-year political science professor at VCU, had died in January just five weeks after learning of a cancer diagnosis.
“He had just turned in his grades, he was preparing for his spring semester, and it just sorta came out of nowhere," she said.
Basketball was a love that both Sullivan and her father shared, and whether they were together during a game or not, they would find a way to make it a family affair.
“He and I would watch games together all the time," Sullivan said. "If we weren’t actually in the same room, we’d constantly be texting of we’d be on the phone either criticizing or praising how they were playing.”
Hirsch and Sullivan, a 1991 graduate of VCU herself, have seen plenty of basketball since arriving in Richmond nearly four decades ago, and she says her dad would be especially proud of this years’ Rams.
“It just seems like they’ve really come together as a team and I really wish he were here to see that," she said. "He would love this team and the way that they are together.”
Sullivan and her two children will head to Brooklyn on Thursday and plan on being there through championship Sunday.
“I think about my dad everyday, and I miss him every day," she said. "I just really wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him, so I’ll definitely think about him while we’re there, a lot.”