Howard (60) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (70) 12/11/2022

Game #109 of 363 30% complete

This was my third and last stop for this trip. I did not get to the arena till 10 minutes left in the first half despite a hurried ride from the Hampton campus. It was poor planning on my start which I will try hard to avoid in the future. I missed my usual tip off picture to start the game. But once again, I was afforded a free parking garage next to the arena.

So I was immediately impressed with the energy of the VCU crowd. Many were dressed in yellow and were very much into this non-conference game. The cheerleaders, dance team and pep band were loud and enthusiastic.

Who could forget VCU’s cinderella run in 2011? The Rams defeated USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas on their way to the final four. I was there in 2011 rooting for the UConn Huskies and watched Butler take down VCU in the semifinal. There is a video homage paid in tribute to this team in the arena hallway.

Although Junior guard Ace Baldwin Jr., the Rams’ leading scorer this season, did not play due to a sprained left wrist, the VCU jumped out to a 10-point lead at half time and never looked back. Graduate forward Brandon Johns led the way with 16 points for the Rams.

I try to buy at least one team shirt on each of my trips. I was fortunate to get a yellow VCU T shirt which my wife thinks is ugly for 10 bucks. It will make an appearance in my bowling league this week.

If you are ever in the Norfolk VA area, be sure to check out the USS Wisconsin. This ship was there for the first gulf war firing tomahawk missiles. The lights you may see in the picture were for a nighttime XMAS event. The admission was $15 and well worth it. Next door is the free Naval Museum which was also interesting to tour. I do these museums trip on Operation 351 trips because the rest of my family hates museums and historical stuff.

I also toured the Yorktown Battlefield preserved as a National Park. I was miffed that I forgot my newly acquired senior pass for National Parks and had to pay admission. It was self-guided tour driving through the battlefields. Not quite on the scale of Gettysburg but it is still hallowed ground and served as a turning point of the revolutionary war. Be sure to visit the American Revolutionary Museum in Yorktown. There was an incredible amount of history learned on this trip.

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