Accounts Receivable Maryville, Rams Report Their Partnership at Training Camp Worked for Both Sides

Article excerpt

These are the bottom lines for the Rams and Maryville.

The football, fields, facilities and food worked out fine at Maryville University for the Rams training camp in St. Louis.

And Maryville could clear close to $100,000 - nearly enough to pay for air conditioning in its gymnasium in the Simon Athletic Center.

The Rams first training camp here drew about 30,000 fans.

"I think, overall, it has been very positive," Larry Hays, Maryville vice president for business affairs, said last week as the Rams' month-long training camp broke. "We've certainly enjoyed having the exposure that a smaller university loves to have. That and the opportunity to raise some funds to air condition our gymnasium, which has been needed for quite some time."

The Rams were satisfied, too.

"This training camp, by and large, has been an excellent experience for us," said Rams general Steve Ortmayer. He called the team's time at Maryville "overwhelmingly" positive. "And the one thing that Maryville enabled us to do was satisfy our desire to hold training camp for the fans of St. Louis in St. Louis."

Not everything was hunky-dory, though.

"There were a lot of speed bumps in the road, glitches or whatever you want to call them," Ortmayer conceded.

First, the Rams wished they could have squared away a training camp site sooner than they did. The university and the Rams didn't seal their deal until about June 20. The first reporting day for players was July 16.

"It did go right down to the wire," Ortmayer said. "But, fortunately, we had a very solid, backup situation. Very solid."

The GM declined to say what school was that backup. But Western Illinois University made a serious pitch to the Rams.

Second, the weather didn't always cooperate. Rain chased the Rams into the Simon Center gymnasium on two occasions and the heat and humidity interrupted their training schedule. The team had chosen to conduct training camp here so the players could get used to the swelter of late summer in St. Louis. That way they'd be prepared physically for their first three regular-season home games in Busch Stadium.

"Until those elements were thrown in, Maryville was a very excellent experience for us," Ortmayer said.

Third, the Rams put up with a few inconveniences. A longstanding commitment to a soccer camp at Maryville prevented the team from using the athletic fields and some residence hall rooms at the start of camp. Instead, during that first week, the players practiced at Parkway Central and the coaches stayed at a nearby hotel. …