The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Section 5, row B, seat 1

Bob Foltz, basketball superfan
Photo by Austin Carey for The Lafayette
Bob Foltz can be found on the sidelines of nearly every basketball game.

One night in Kirby Sports Center, a basketball player shoots a miraculous three-pointer, the ball swishing into the net. The occupant of section 5 row B seat 1, jumps out of the seat with exuberant energy.

It’s become expected that this fan will be present each game at section 5 row B seat 1 because Easton resident Bob Foltz doesn’t ever miss a game.

“Lafayette is my team,” Foltz said. “I want them to win, and if I’m cheering, I’m helping them out.”

He’s not new to the game, or Lafayette basketball to say the least — an attendee of Lafayette basketball games since his youth, Foltz can’t remember the first game he attended. He owes his first experience at a game to a neighbor.

“My neighbor Cy Fleck worked for Lafayette, and I would come with [his family] to the basketball games at an early age,” Foltz said. “I’ve had season tickets for a long time.” 

Foltz would attend basketball games with Fleck and his wife, forming a dynamic trio of Lafayette basketball fans who would always be in attendance. Predating its major renovation in 2013, the crew would sit in the same section of the old Kirby Sports Center.

Time has passed. Lafayette basketball went through five coaches, there were three March Madness appearances that came and went and eventually life dealt its cards. Cy Fleck passed away. His wife, now 93 years old, is unable to physically make it to the games.

But Foltz is still in the same seat, supportive as ever, despite not admiring any specific players or really knowing the coach. He simply loves the team.

“I’m the last one [from the group], but that doesn’t matter to me,” Foltz said. “I let the team do their thing.”

Foltz’s passion for watching basketball transcends the game’s complicated rules. It’s the end goal of every basketball game that truly matters to him — winning.

“I don’t always understand why certain things [on the court] happen,” Foltz said. “But you know, there’s a human factor involved, so the fans always want the win.”

Foltz especially treasures the fast-paced nature of the game.

“There’s more variables going on in basketball compared to football,” he said. “It’s a different kind of game. I like the way the players move so much faster.”

Foltz has an entire section of seats nearly all to himself, with attendance in the hundreds rather than the thousands. He’ll stick out on the jumbotron at halftime. Replay cameras often zoom in on Foltz as a show-stopping basket is scored.

However, section 5 row B seat 1 was left vacant five years ago due to Foltz having a health scare. While the scare disrupted his attendance, the illness nearly cost him his life.

“The [doctors] labeled it a virus, but something attacked me,” Foltz said. “It caused a problem with my right lung, and that put a strain on my heart which knocked me down for a while.”

Throughout his health scare, fans slowly began to notice his absence. Eventually, the teams caught on and acknowledged Foltz’s lack of presence. 

“The women’s basketball team, I got cards from them,” Foltz said. “I got a … t-shirt that I often now wear to the women’s games. They signed cards because at that point I wasn’t supposed to be out and about because my immune system was compromised.”

He now has a heart implant that helps him stay healthy. Around one year after his first diagnosis, it was time for Foltz to get back to his usual routines in the basketball arena.

When Foltz made his return to Kirby Sports Center, normalcy seemed to be restored. But for Foltz, it was just another day at the office – he was there expecting a big Lafayette victory. 

“That’s simply my team,” he said. “It was great. When I was back, I was totally back.” 

And when he came back, he didn’t stop. Foltz didn’t miss a single home basketball game during the 2022-2023 season, men or women. Twenty-six games. Twelve wins. The same seat, with an identical amount of enthusiasm.

This season, Foltz will still be attending the games, just as immersed in the action as ever. 

“[The basketball players] have serious careers ahead of them, but they’re playing their hearts out now and I just love it,” Foltz said.

There are not many other people in the world who can say they’re a Lafayette athletics superfan. Foltz is one of the few that can proudly hold that honor.

“I just love everybody,” Foltz said. “I love it as an overall team. That’s just what we are.”

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About the Contributors
Andreas Pelekis, Assistant News Editor
Tennis addict.
Austin Carey, Staff Photographer

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