By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
FAIRMONT — “It’s nine hours and 13 minutes. Exactly.”
That’s what Ava Fullenweider said when asked how long it takes her to get from her home in New York to Joe Retton Arena on the campus of Fairmont State University, where her grandson, Shammgod Wells, plays basketball.
She knows the trip well. But, of course, so would you if you made it several times a month.
Fullenweider retired from her job as a high school principal to take time off to watch her grandson play basketball at the collegiate level, a deal the two of them made when he was in high school.
“We made a deal a couple of years ago that when he went to school and started college that it’d be about time for me to retire and it just happened to be that time,” she said. “I retired July 1st and he was in the summer school session and I told him I’d be down here to support him.”
You may have seen Fullenweider, or Miss Ava as the basketball team calls her, at basketball games, both men and women. She sits in the crowd like anyone else, waving her pom-poms or holding signs to show her support of the teams.
For her, basketball is more than a sport. It’s a family. And that’s the message she conveys to the young players she comes in contact with through the journey of Well’s start at FSU…