By JACK CLARK
MT. VERNON —
Mt. Vernon resident Ron Marlow would be a prime example of the consummate Rams fan.
Marlow is being inducted into the Mt. Vernon Township High School Sports Hall of Fame after his selection as a Friend of the Rams.
“This is very special. This is tremendous, and I’m tickled to death,” Marlow said. “It’s a very, very special thing for me.”
To say Marlow is a sports fan would be an understatement.
“I like high school basketball. It doesn’t get any simpler than that,” Marlow said. “It’s enjoyable. It makes a long winter shorter. Really high school sports period. That’s the last of the true sports. Even in college, they can’t tell me that those guys don’t get compensated, especially the blue-chippers, those that go to the big Division I programs.”
Even though he is very fond of basketball, Marlow is just simply a fan of high school sports
“I watch football too, and occasionally a baseball game,” Marlow said. “Those kids are playing for the love of the game.”
Marlow is a 1965 graduate of Mt. Vernon Township High School. After attending one year at Mt. Vernon Community College (a forerunner of Rend Lake College), Marlow joined the U.S. Navy in January, 1967. He was discharged in November 1970 and spent a couple of years in Tennessee before returning to the King City.
Since then Marlow has missed very few Rams basketball games.
“I didn’t miss any in high school, but I didn’t start my streak until about 1982 or 83,” Marlow said. “Even then, I missed one game, sometime in December 1988. That was down in Harrisburg.”
There must have been a very good reason for Marlow to have missed a game.
“I was deer hunting. I was supposed to meet Greg Webb, Randy Odle and Rick Taaka at the truck,” Marlow said. “I had shot at a deer, thought that I hit it and went off to track it, but time got away from me and I didn’t make my ride.”
They say that what goes around, comes around, sometimes when you may least expect it.
“About 10 years ago, I got even when I ran off and left him in Belleville,” Marlow said. “Rob Wielt, Jeff Carello and I had ridden together over there (to a Rams basketball game). Randy usually rode back with me. After the game, we had gotten outside and it had snowed. Probably two or three inches of snow. As soon as we had gotten to the car, one of them said that he knew of an easy way out of there, so we took off. When we got back to Mt. Vernon, I took Rob to his car. We always went to the truck stop for coffee and whatever. So, Carello and I went on to the truck stop. We’re sitting there and I look up and here comes Randy. It was then that I realized that I had run off and left him in Belleville. That was the first that I had realized it all of the way back home. He had come out after the game looking for me and when he couldn’t find me, he had to ride the bus back.”
After having seen most of the players who have gone through the high school system over the last four decades, Marlow understands the caliber of the best players that he’s seen. So, who’s the most entertaining player of all that he’s seen.
“The most entertaining basketball player would be Kent Williams,” Marlow said. “As far as who would be the best athlete, there are two or three that come to mind. Jamar Sanders, Eddie James or Nate Hawthorne. Those three would be at the top of the list as far as athletes. I’m talking about guys who could jump out of the gym, and do things that were almost unbelievable. But if I had to pick a team like we did when we were kids, the first player that I would pick would be Kent Williams. And that was because he was a winner. He knew how to win. And he was one of the smartest basketball players that I’ve ever seen, as far as how he evolved as a player from when he was a freshman until the time that he was a senior.”