I want my message to be stern and direct: Retire Roy Marble Sr.’s jersey at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and do it now.
As we are all unfortunately aware, one of Iowa’s greatest and most recognizable athletes in any sport is currently battling stage four cancer. We all hope for the best, but as is often the case, life can grievously be too short.
With tragic news comes incredible opportunity. Let’s create a moment – a happy ending to a sad plot. Before the inevitable happens, we can give generations of audiences, an assortment of a surrounding cast, and the two main characters a moment none will forget.
Here’s the script:
Roy Devyn Marble unveils his father’s jersey hanging high in the rafters, before pulling his dad in for a long embrace in front of a cheerful, applauding crowd, sending one last thank you to one of a program’s greatest.
Tears will be shed, by both Marbles and adoring fans, as all realize the past struggle that still haunts.
Stories will be exchanged from generation to generation about their favorite moments from each Marble, as no players in Hawkeye history have impacted such a vast age gap. Parents will insist Marble Sr. is the best – children will refute.
Goodbyes will be whispered, as this could be the last time Iowa City will salute its top player.
What the Marble name has meant to Iowa’s basketball program can’t be understated. The elder Marble led the Hawkeyes to a 30-win season, an Elite Eight and four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, cementing his legacy with records scattered throughout the books.
The second stayed true to his commitment in order to give life to a program desperate for revival.
The reasons to keep the Marble name off a hovering jersey are clear. The issues in his past are tough to swallow, numerous in quantity and reveal a set of flaws that a program may not want to be associated with.
But this isn’t Pierre Pierce. By all indications this isn’t a bad man. Marble never hurt anyone but himself. His issues are publicly known, but a private problem.
Having bad associated with the Hawkeyes is something to avoid. Having troubled isn’t.
Despite those troubles, he never abandoned his Hawkeyes, just as the Hawkeye fan base has remained faithful to him. Autograph sessions are the norm whenever an appearance is made, and Marble has never seemed shy about expressing his love for the university.
Iowa can’t wait too long to show the love in return. Nothing in this situation would be more hurtful than having to hear Devyn Marble represent his father years down the road and be forced to say “I wish my dad could be here.”
We have the opportunity to avoid that forlorn line.
Let’s give Marble the stage one more time to tell us how much we meant to him and his family, to say how Iowa is his adopted home state, and how he will always be a Hawkeye. Then, right before he takes his final bow, we throw vocal flowers onto to the stage to show him how much more he has meant to us.
And then the credits roll.
The script is written, actors chosen and now the audience is waiting for this Hollywood moment to premiere.
Iowa just needs to produce it.