Opinion Corner: Ron was one of a kindMore than any sport that I’ve been involved in through the years, baseball has always produced the most colorful characters. All sports have their Rollie Greenos. People everybody has a story about, but baseball seems to produce some of the most unique folks.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
More than any sport that I’ve been involved in through the years, baseball has always produced the most colorful characters.
All sports have their Rollie Greenos. People everybody has a story about, but baseball seems to produce some of the most unique folks.
In Jamestown, Ron Frydenlund qualified on that account.
Of all the people I’ve met here, Ron was as fun a guy to be around as any.
Frydenlund, who ran the American Legion baseball program in Jamestown for more than two decades, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.
During the mid-to-late 2000s, the Jamestown Legion baseball program went through some lean years, but those four or five hours in the Jack Brown Stadium press box with Ron and Mort Pederson was never dull.
I’ll never forget my first doubleheader with Ron. By the time that summer night in June of 2000 was over, I had been schooled in the art of “spooning,” and acquired a nickname “Mr. Mild-Mannered Reporter,” that would stick more than 13 years to when I saw Ron last at a Jimmie baseball game last spring.
The spooning education will last a lifetime.
After a night of good-natured ribbing — they don’t come more quick-witted than Ron — he asked, “So, you’re married, right?” “Yes,” I said.
It was cool that night, so he continued, “You’ll have to go home and spoon,” Ron said. “Spooning?” I quizzically asked, not knowing what the act entailed. “I think I’m too cold for that, tonight,” I said.
Ron looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.
“Selvig,” he said. “Do you even know what spooning is?”
“Well, yeah,” I meekly replied. “It doesn’t require clothes, right?” Ron paused, looked at Mort, and said, “Where are you from?” he said half-annoyed. “Fergus Falls, Minnesota,” I said. “That explains it, Mort,” Ron said. “They can’t get nothing right in Minnesota. ... Now we gotta teach this kid how to spoon.”
And from that night on I always looked forward to Legion baseball games and getting an earful from Ron on the Twins, Blue Jays, politics, spooning … and, of course, hearing him mispronounce last names or changing them altogether … as he did many times.
“Now batting for Saskatoon (David Woronachuk was the correct name) … David Wor … then he’d trail off mumbling the last couple syllables into the microphone. After turning the mic off he’d declare: “Next time it’s David Smith.”
As many know, Ron lived a full life. He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, went to UND and eventually moved to Jamestown where he and his wife Denise raised a large family synonymous with sports.
But the thing I’ll remember most about Ron was his sense of humor. Even as cancer was taking its toll, he was as sharp and humorous as ever.
Chemotherapy had taken his hair, but certainly not his spirit. As he described his treatments in April at a baseball game, it was classic Ron.
“The next time I go in, they’re going to put a mask over my head and zap me with radiation. You think I’m smart now, you just wait until I’m done with that,” he joked.
That was my last conversation with Ron. Appropriately, in the stands of Jack Brown Stadium where one of Jamestown’s most unique characters left a lasting impact on me and many others in a very memorable and colorful life.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org