Watched the slide show last night and you captured the “essence” of an original. Marty was a person none of us will forget and he both enriched and entertained us every time we were with him. I once mentioned casually to him that my boys were big Larry Bird fans. A few days later 4 tickets to the Celtics/Bulls game at the old Chicago Stadium appeared in our mailbox. Not sure if you have ever been there, but they were first row, first balcony at center court which are some of the best tickets in the house. It was an evening my sons will never forget. I believe Jordan scored a bunch but alas poor Bird might not have even made double digits but still an incredible evening.
Marty Ruberry and I were both great intramural athletes in college at Western Illinois University. All you had to do was ask us. We competed intensely against one another on a regular basis in football, basketball, and softball. Marty was one of those “fraternity guys” and I was a product of the residence halls. I was sort of known because I was a Resident Assistant and Marty was well known because he was, well, Marty. We became close friends during college (winners or losers, we imbibed a bit after games) and then after college until his passing.
The experience to share is obviously of an athletic nature. We were playing in a “big” football game on opposing teams and it was a “heated” contest. It was the 4th quarter and the score was close. The team from Seal Six was driving against the men from Phi Sigma Epsilon. I was our ace wide receiver (I told you all you had to do was ask how good we were) and I was to do our famous “down-out-and down, catch the ball and run in for a touchdown. Our quarterback took the snap from the center, faded back and threw a perfect pass. I had run a flawless pattern and was there to receive the pass, score, and accept accolades from admiring fans. As the ball floated down from the sky into my arms, a huge hand reached out, ripped the ball from my waiting hands, having made an impossible interception and then raced the other way for a touchdown. I was mortified. What had just happened? Who was that? Where did he come from?
I had just met the great Marty Ruberry, best intramural athlete in the history of Western Illinois University–one of a kind, the very best kind.
Dr. Gordon A. Taylor