BLACKSBURG, Va.—While Virginia Tech searches for a win in ACC play, walk-on Joey Racer can provide a dose of perspective on what is most important in life.
Like most walk ons, he's primarily a practice player for Seth Greenberg, but he has also been an example for the Hokies on how to handle adversity.
Just a lot of emotion came through all the hard work. I had done throughout my entire life to this point. This was a dream come true,” Racer said. .
Racer scored his first and only bucket for the Hokies against Florida International. His only regret -- his father Jimmy wasn't there to see it.
“He was my biggest fan and my biggest motivator. He was with me every step of the way,” Racer said.
Jimmy passed away suddenly in July at the age of 53 and never saw Joey suit up for the Hokies, but Joey might not have made the team without his Dad.
Over winter break, Joey returned to Clarke County High School in Berryville, honoring his Dad's memory, by announcing plans for the Jimmy Racer Memorial Scholarship, to be awarded to a male or female at Clarke County who has played basketball for at least two years.
“Dad was my best friend and there have been times in my life where I felt lost, so I’m just trying to figure it out. Basketball was the only thing that got me through. The reason we did it was my mom and dad were huge supporters of my high school team and not only my team but the teams before and the teams after. It really makes me proud because of all the stuff he's done for me and I'm hoping that money someone can earn will contribute to their future success,” Racer said.
Coach Seth Greenberg awarded Joey a scholarship for the second semester, and his contributions to the team are hard to measure.
“When I found out he was gonna do that I was pretty excited about it. It really helps my mom out too,” Racer said.
Greenberg said: “We're not giving it to him. He's earned it. It's a reward for being a really good teammate and really helping this team become a better team.”
And Joey knows that Jimmy would be proud of that.