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
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