Section 103, Row A, Seat 15. Every night Marist basketball is on the court, you will find economics professor Della Sue and her husband sitting front and center, watching and cheering on their Red Foxes to victory.
“My first game was a men’s game probably around 2005 or so,” said Sue. “We started coming to men’s games once in a while. Then we liked it, so we started coming to the women’s games and we subscribed to both men’s and women’s around 2007 or 2008.”
It is often that Marist will have two or three home basketball games scheduled in a typical week’s stretch. With plenty of games being anywhere from 7:00 p.m. on weeknights to afternoons on the weekends, it creates a significant time commitment that can add to the already tight schedule of a full-time economics professor.
“If we don’t come, it’s for a very good reason,” explained Sue. “We miss only one or two games a season. I don’t think I’ve missed a game this season and last year I probably missed one game because of the weather.”
Sue was quick to attest to Marist’s atmosphere and excitement around the games as a reason to get more faculty and students into the building. They will bring friends and constantly warn them about the fun they may await.
“Marist does a nice job with their games,” Sue expressed. “My husband and I tell our friends about it. Sometimes they’ll come with us and when they haven’t been here before, we say, ‘You’re gonna enjoy it. It’s basically like a party.’”
The couple’s attendance sometimes goes far and beyond the confines of the McCann Center. “A number of years ago we went to the MAAC Tournament in Springfield,” Sue explained. “And at that time, one of my daughters was in college in central Massachusetts so we went then because it was an opportunity to see her also.”
The MAAC Tournament was held in the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts from 2012 to 2014. It then moved to the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., and will now be held in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. starting this season through at least 2022.
Sue’s reason for attendance is far from only an interest in basketball. She has always been interested in cheering on her students and helping bring spirit to Marist athletics. “I like supporting the teams and I like supporting the students.I really like the coaches and it’s kind of nice to support them as well.”
While the women’s team has endured substantially more success than the men’s in recent years, Sue finds the beauty and entertainment in both teams. The Ulster native — who has committed countless nights to support both teams no matter their successes or failures — embraces the contrast between the two.
“I like watching the men’s and the women’s games for different reasons,” said Sue. “The men’s games are much faster and they have an athletic element to them. The women’s games are fun to watch because there seems to be more teamwork. Even though basketball is basketball, it’s really not. The men’s games are very different from the women’s games.”
An important aspect of the games is taken away from Sue and the local fans for a good chunk of the season. When winter break rolls around, it removes nearly all students from the gym, making a big difference in the type of environment the McCann Center can create.
“I really enjoy the dance team, the cheerleaders, and the band when they’re here,” said Sue. “When winter break rolls around, I really miss them.”
The sport of basketball has been in the blood of Sue and her immediate family. Both her husband and daughter have experience as officials at the collegiate level and have been surrounded by basketball for years.
“My husband used to officiate basketball when he was in college,” explained Sue. “He was talking about how that was a lot of fun and I said, ‘Why don’t we go to some of the games at Marist?’ So we started coming and really liked it.”
To many faculty, Marist College is simply a workplace. Somewhere to show up, teach, and earn a paycheck. To economics professor Della Sue, the home of the Red Foxes means much more than that.
“I wish more faculty would come because I think they’re missing some entertainment and it really is nice to support the school and to support the students.”
Edited by Sam DiGiovanni and Lily Caffrey-Levine
Header Image by Lily Caffrey-Levine — Photos courtesy of Mike Cahill