Marist College was teeming with excitement on Saturday September 25. Not only was it Alumni weekend but also homecoming weekend. A sea of red and white was spread throughout campus as current students, and alumni geared up for the homecoming game. As a freshman I was excited with the anticipation of my first college football game. My roommates and I headed to the bookstore to stock up on Marist apparel to show our school spirit. We were not alone; everyone was decked out in college attire.
When I entered Tenney Stadium I no longer felt like a lost freshman, unfamiliar with the routine, a stranger to everyone I passed by. A sense of camaraderie embraced me as I realized each person in the stands all had the same goal – cheering on our team, our colors, cheering on our school. The weather held out and the sun was strong, as the heat increased so did the school spirit. This was my first college football game, and everything seemed bigger and better than in high school. As a varsity high school cheerleader I viewed the games through a different perspective. The excitement in the stands on Saturday was palpable and it gave me a rush of enthusiasm. Though it may have been one of many college games to some, it was an exciting experience to me. The joy of being in the stands and watching the crowd cheer on their fellow Red Fox players was something I will never forget. As kids we don’t choose our schools. Typically you attend school where your parents chose to raise you. For me, I went to my town’s public schools. The kids I graduated with were the same kids I went with through elementary school. Our town, our state, our neighborhoods, our schools were our common bond and we were familiar with each other. Often the football games seemed more like a social event, an outing and an opportunity to hang out with friends rather than a coming together for our school spirit.
Now it was different and just sitting in the stands made it apparent. We all chose this school, it was away from our homes and families and we were a team in more ways that just football spirit. I laughed when I spotted Shooter, the Marist Red Fox mascot. I’m not sure that was such an exciting, or desirable job in high school and truth be told it could be a dangerous job in schools were the mascot was mocked. But in college that sense of insecurity is not as prevalent anymore and Shooter got the crowd rocking. I felt a sense of pride for that overgrown red fox, bobbing and weaving out there. I didn’t wonder who was brave enough to be in that costume, and really didn’t care. Shooter had a job to do as did the players…as did the fans.
Later after an amazing day I looked out of my dorm window overlooking the Hudson River, I was taken back by one of the most stunning and breath-taking sunsets I have ever seen. As I watched the sun go down I couldn’t help but think of my summer nights spent at my family’s lake house watching the sunset. A pang of homesickness hit me until I remembered this is why I chose this school; a little reminder of home was with me every day. I took a deep breath, realizing I was home, in a college filled with school spirit. Cheering on my school with the sea of red and white Marist apparel was not just any old football game. The students, staff, faculty, and alumni were my family, my Marist community and I am so lucky to be a part of it.
Class of 2015