The Clarkston house was pretty somber the past two days.
Just when life was getting back to normal after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl loss, I woke up Tuesday to the sad news that a good friend had taken his last breath on Earth.
Even though I knew it was coming, it still took my breath away. I couldn’t believe that Ron Sears had died at the young age of 56 from congenital heart disease.
Sears was a member of the Daily Mirror, KMXT-FM and Kodiak sports family. The University of Oregon graduate — he just might have been the biggest Ducks fan on the island — was a regular panelist on the Mirror’s Gridiron Guessers NFL pick-’em game and a key member of KMXT’s “Jock of the Rock.”
He was a devoted sports nut, who often took up residency in the corner of the high school gym during basketball games or in the bleachers at Baranof Park for summer baseball games.
Better yet, he was fanatic about dogs. He met Gizmo once and wanted to take him home.
I first encountered Sears at the Bear Valley Golf Course. He laughed at my girlfriend for twirling herself to the ground after taking a mighty hack at a ball. She traveled further than the ball.
I didn’t know it then, but Sears would become one of my good friends here, and judging by Facebook posts, he was part of so many other people’s lives around the island as well.
I got to know Sears when he took a job in the Daily Mirror’s advertising department — there probably is still some cheese left in the drawer of the desk he used.
We spent a few summers co-hosting “Jock of the Rock.” I will always remember the 30-minute interviews we did with Chris Kavanaugh, Mark Putney and Trevor Dunbar.
The show that stands out the most is the one that we did by ourselves that ended up going 15 minutes over because the board operator didn’t cut us off. We just kept looking at each other struggling to come up with fodder to fill the air.
Sears always sneaked in the question “What do you think the hardest pitch to hit in baseball is?” to our guests, even if they hadn’t played baseball.
For the record, he went with the knuckleball and I went with the cut fastball.
It was during his time at the Mirror that he suffered a stroke that changed his life forever. For the past few years, he spent more time in a hospital room than a person should.
Yet, he didn’t let the stroke get the best of him.
Sears joined my Tuesday night bowling team and continued to toss darts. We teamed up to win the Division II Doubles event at the 2013 Kodiak Island Bowling Association City Tournament and tried to repeat in 2014, but finished third.
This past summer, he found his way back to the diamond and helped coach one of the City League co-ed softball teams — a sport he coached before his stroke.
Sears was a man that enjoyed every type of game — poker, Sorry or even youth athletics.
He often sat in his car during the months of April and May watching Little League games. Heck, he even tried his hand at umpiring and being a Kodiak Football League referee — those stints didn’t last long.
He got pure enjoyment out of watching kids play a game. Maybe it took him back to his youth days in Oregon.
What he looked forward to the most during his last few years was “Jock of the Rock.” The show will never be the same without him.
He always referred to me as “Superstar,” and to this day I’m not sure why, but what I do know is that he was the real “Superstar.”
Derek Clarkston is a staff writer at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact him at 907-486-3227. 625.