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Honoring a Ram

Honoring a Ram

Artwork Ritter, pictured in entrance, fourth from left, remembers the Stanton Excessive Faculty Rams receiving new leather-made helmets for the soccer workforce, through which helmets have been the group’s colours of purple and black. The staff would maintain residence video games at a area which is now the Metropolis of Stanton’s D. Hale Brake Park, simply across the nook from the highschool, which is now the Montcalm County Courthouse. — Submitted photograph

Earlier than he was a grandfather, a father or a husband, Arthur C. Ritter was a proud member of the Stanton Excessive Faculty Rams, competing in all of the sports activities the previous faculty provided.

A 1947 Stanton Excessive Faculty graduate and son of an ice harvester, Ritter competed in basketball, baseball, monitor and the game he most beloved — soccer. He earned no less than 15 letters throughout his highschool years.

“In my freshman year (playing on the junior varsity basketball team), we went the whole season without losing a ball game. By tournament time, our coach would sub some of us in for the first team (varsity),” stated Ritter, 90, who now resides within the comforts of Inexperienced Acres retirement residence in Greenville and is the oldest member of the inaugural class that might be inducted into Central Montcalm’s new Athletic Corridor of Fame later this month. “If I can remember right, I got to play two minutes, and that entitled me to a letter.”

Sticking with faculty

Artwork was considered one of six siblings in a household dwelling in Stanton, with 4 brothers and a sister, he being in the midst of the pack.

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At proper is Artwork, a 1947 Stanton Excessive Faculty graduate who performed guard, security and halfback for the Rams. He earned as many as 15 letters. Ritter is one in every of 10 individuals (and one group) who can be inducted into Central Montcalm’s new Athletic Corridor of Fame throughout a Jan. 26 ceremony on the center faculty. — Submitted photograph

His father, Clare, harvested and bought ice and labored continually, and was by no means capable of watch Artwork play any of his video games. The household was hit with tragedy when Artwork was 7 when his mom, Fern, died whereas giving delivery to his sister, Avis.

“I don’t remember much of my mother,” Artwork stated. “I remember her, but not very much.”

Being a one-parent family of six youngsters, Artwork’s oldest brother, Eddie, was pressured to forgo faculty. He took a job serving to his father to help the household. One other brother, Ellis, dropped out of faculty, as properly. It was Artwork and his youngest brother, Gerald, who they referred to as “Dooder,” who have been concerned in sports activities at Stanton Excessive Faculty all through their highschool years.

With the strain of with the ability to afford meals and a home again then, Artwork Ritter Jr., a 1973 graduate of Central Montcalm, stated it was superb his father continued via with faculty. He credit his father’s coach, Orval “Tom” Nook, who coached each sport at Stanton Excessive Faculty in these days, for retaining Artwork in class.

“Dad spoke highly of him,” Artwork Jr. stated. “He was one of the reasons he kept staying in school and kept going. I think that’s why his coach was so important. Otherwise, it would be easier for him to just quit school and find a job.”

Nook, additionally a instructor at the highschool, coached near 30 years and all by way of Artwork’s highschool years.

“He can get it out of ya to where you wanted to play. A lot of people didn’t like him, but I did,” Artwork stated of Nook. “He’d yell at you if you did something wrong. In fact, I went to a (basket)ball game in Alma and watched Hope College … there was a guy who shot one-handed in that game. Well, we got back to Stanton, and I got into a game and shot one-handed, too, and coach takes me right out and puts me on the bench. In those days, you used two hands.”

Nook stepped down from teaching in 1946 to grow to be principal and handed the whistle to Earl Cady.

Rams on the gridiron and hardwood

Within the mid- to late-1940s, Stanton Excessive Faculty’s groups, also known as “the county seat team” by the Day by day Information, have been affiliated with the Montcalm County Athletic Affiliation (MCAA), which, in soccer, solely had three groups — Stanton, Edmore and Carson Metropolis. Stanton often solely performed seven video games, which often included different groups like Greenville, Breckenridge, Saranac, Grant, Reed Metropolis, Lake Odessa and Alma.

Stanton Excessive Faculty was situated the place the Montcalm County Courthouse is situated at this time, with the soccer group’s house video games in an athletic area simply a brief stroll from the varsity, which is now a leisure park referred to as D. Hale Brake Park. Every workforce at halftime, Artwork added, would sit in a workforce bus to relaxation and regroup.

In 1946, Artwork final yr on the soccer workforce, the Rams clinched the MCAA for the third consecutive yr, going Three-Three general and 2-Zero within the convention, beating Edmore, 12-6, and overwhelming Carson Metropolis, 40-7.

Within the recreation towards Carson Metropolis, Artwork was the participant of the sport, scoring three touchdowns, in line with the Every day Information article. One other article mentions one in every of Artwork’s brothers, Ellis, who, as a freshman within the 33-Zero win over Saranac, was within the offensive backfield together with his brother.

That yr’s workforce additionally included names like Larry Brundage, Jack Leach, Kendall Neitzel, Richard Ragan, Ron Hadley, Ernest Petersen and Keith Getts. All of them performed basketball collectively, too.

“I started out as a guard when I was a freshman, and, on defense, I was a safety man,” Artwork stated. “After that, I was in the backfield as a halfback. They didn’t really have quarterbacks then. We played single wing and the quarterback was a blocking back, so I’d get the direct snap from center. We’d pass the ball maybe four times a game.”

Artwork remembers the uniforms the workforce wore, with the 1946 workforce getting new leather-based helmets.

“They were really nice helmets,” Artwork remembers. “The coach bought both ends new helmets and the backfield (helmets) were red and black. For at least the last couple years, not all the helmets were the same colors.”

The video games have been additionally performed through the day, although, a yr after Artwork graduated, Stanton put in a lighting system, permitting for night soccer video games.

Artwork remembers the times of operating to work out on the subject earlier than the lights have been put in.

Throughout Artwork Ritter’s highschool years, Orval “Tom” Nook, pictured in again at far proper, coached all the varsity boys groups at Stanton Excessive Faculty. He was additionally a instructor and, after the 1946 faculty yr, turned the varsity principal.

“I’d always like to jog, for track or whatever. And back in those days, if you’re jogging down the road, you’d always get stopped by people asking if you needed a ride,” he laughed. “They thought something is wrong. So if you wanted to jog, you’d go down to the school and jog on the track at night so you wouldn’t be interrupted.”

The 1946-1947 Rams boys basketball staff, which Artwork performed guard and was captain, was additionally profitable, going 6-7 general however profitable the county title after beating reigning county champs Lakeview, 29-27.

“Lakeview, they were a super team then,” Artwork remembers. “Crystal always had a good basketball team then, too. Edmore and Carson, though, were our rivals.”

Sheridan Excessive Faculty, which merged with Stanton Excessive Faculty to create Central Montcalm in 1963, weren’t thought-about a rival earlier than that, not in accordance with Artwork, that’s.

“They didn’t have a football team then, but they played basketball. But when we played Sheridan, it was like playing the neighborhood kids. We didn’t think much of them,” Artwork laughed.

The Rams had a 13-game schedule that included a Class C invitational at Ithaca and video games towards non-conference groups like Greenville and Howard Metropolis. Stanton was within the South Division with Crystal, Carson Metropolis and Sheridan and the North Division included Lakeview, Edmore, Howard Metropolis and Vestaburg.

After clinching the convention title, Stanton misplaced to Belding, 31-21, within the districts. The Rams had led Belding for 3 quarters earlier than squandering the sport. Artwork led the Rams in that recreation with eight factors.

After highschool

Artwork graduated in 1947 in a class of 21 individuals. He was class vice chairman however was abruptly promoted to president after the sudden demise of then-president Donnalyn Nickerson, who died from polio.

After highschool, Artwork obtained a job working as a forest ranger for the Division of Pure Assets in Stanton, stationed in a tower on the north aspect of city in an space referred to as the Nobs.

“You’d just sit there and watch for smoke. You’d radio it to the next station and give them a reading,” he defined. “You’d have a map with a string on it and run it from the reading you had to the reading on the map that they gave ya. You’d come within a quarter mile of the fire. Back in those days, mostly the freight trains that started the fires.”

Artwork then took a job at Gibson’s Fridge Co. in Greenville, the place he  stayed for the subsequent 40 years.

“He started out on the assembly line and worked himself up, and by the time he retired, he was one of the productions superintendents,” Artwork Jr. stated.

Artwork married Marian Christiansen, a 1945 Stanton graduate, who, in line with Artwork Jr., began noticing him after he broke a soccer participant’s leg in a recreation.

Artwork Ritter, pictured together with his spouse, Marian, youngsters and grandchildren, was raised in Stanton with a huge household, having 4 brothers and one sister. They misplaced their mom, Marian, when Artwork was solely 7 years previous. Their father, Clare, was an ice harvester who always labored and a few of Artwork’s brothers give up faculty to work so they might present for the household. — Submitted photograph

“I remember my mom telling me these stories, I don’t know how true they are, but she was 2 years older than my dad. She went to Stanton High School, then she went to County Normal, a teacher’s training school, and she ended up teaching over in Carson City. She was supposed to go to the movies with a kid on the Carson City football team. But (the day before) my dad — in the game between the two teams — he tackled the guy and broke his leg,” laughed Artwork Jr. “And then during basketball season, she goes to the Stanton-Carson City game, and this guy (points to his father) makes a shot from three-quarters of the court in the Stanton gym and won the game, and that’s when she started noticing him.”

They have been married for 52 years and raised three youngsters, Artwork Jr., who’s a minister in Novi and visits his father at the very least twice a month, and John and Laurel, who nonetheless stay within the space and have a tendency to their father’s wants on a every day foundation. Marian handed away in 2001.

This previous November, Artwork acquired a letter from Central Montcalm Excessive Faculty notifying him he was a member of the primary class to be inducted into the varsity’s new Athletic Corridor of Fame, which shall be inducted on the center faculty at four p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. He’s considered one of 10 people and one staff. Laurel, his daughter, nominated him.

He was touched by the information.

“It’s quite an honor, but any success I had, I had guys who helped me,” he humbly stated. “I had a great group of guys in football. Jack Leach was a great athlete for us in football. But he was younger than I was. Larry Brundage was a good player in football, too.”

Artwork is one in every of two Stanton Excessive Faculty graduates within the induction class, the opposite being Earl Richard “Dick” Bigelow, who graduated in 1953.

Artwork Jr. is glad to see his alma mater embrace members of the previous Stanton Excessive Faculty to recollect its previous, as properly.

“I am happy to see Central Montcalm recognize athletes from Stanton and Sheridan because it is part of the school’s heritage,” he stated. “I’m proud that my dad is being acknowledged as a result of he was a nice athlete and father.

“I hope that dad’s induction will make everyone from old Stanton High School proud because he feels he is merely representing that tradition and is grateful for his coach and teammates.”