Some people are born to be West Virginia fans – literally. Little Jim Ashley was born during a Mountaineer football game. Although he grew up watching WVU football and basketball games, his passion exploded in 2005 when the Mountaineer football team went 10-1 in the regular season, including an undefeated 7-0 record in the Big East. Beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl only made the season sweeter.
After transferring to WVU in 2006, Jim became (if possible) even more hardcore about WVU athletics. He attended every home football game in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Jim even flew to Jacksonville, FL for the Gator Bowl in 2006 (WVU defeated Georgia Tech 38-35 in a comeback victory).
In 2007, after WVU lost to Pittsburgh 13-9 in the final game of the regular season, Jim said, “I drowned my sorrows so heavily with booze I thought I would have to be taken to the hospital.”
He even attended Pat White’s last game in Morgantown on “White Night.” It snowed and a mini snowball fight broke out in the stands near where Jim was sitting.
The Mountaineers returned to the Gator Bowl last season, prompting Jim and several friends to take a road trip to Jacksonville. “That entire road trip, everything went wrong, from having to go two hours out of our way to trade rental cars, a flat tire in Georgia, snow once we got back in West Virginia. I never knew so much could go wrong in one trip,” he said.
And, the Mountaineers lost to Florida St. 33-21 in Bobby Bowden’s final game. Very bad trip, indeed.
The basketball fan in Jim is just as maniacal. In 2009, he and some friends stayed overnight in the WVU Coliseum lobby in order to get in line early for the game against Pittsburgh the next day. “It was well worth it, despite Pitt beating us,” he said.
He also had a memorable incident involving Erin Andrews in 2009. ESPN’s College GameDay went to West Virginia for the matchup against Louisville on Senior Night, which meant that Erin Andrews would be there.
Jim had a sign that read “ERIN ANDREWS, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” eight rows up from the court. When Erin came out, the crowd greeted her with a big ovation. She saw Jim’s sign, smiled, and waved. “I was the center of attention in my section, and I was happy,” he said.
Although WVU lost by one point in a heartbreaker, Jim still hoped to somehow redeem the night by taking a picture with Erin. He approached her and requested a picture after watching her take photos with an older gentleman and several young girls.
“She just looked right at me, turned around, and headed right toward her dressing room. I yelled something at her that can’t even be printed,” he said. “On the way back to my friend’s house, I ripped the sign up and threw it in the woods. Back at my friend’s house, I took five shots of vodka. I never drink vodka, but Erin Andrews drove me to vodka that night.”
Although Jim’s experience with Erin was not positive, she did inspire him to claim the domain http://www.peepholesports.com for his blog. He is also the lead blogger for http://hailwv.com, part of http://fansided.com‘s NCAA network.
Jim’s WVU stories have certainly been crazy. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @WVUeerJim.
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