Alan Hunt remembered
We never really know the fleeting nature of our youth until the passage of time slaps us in the face with its reality.
I awoke this morning at 3:15 a.m. excited with the anticipation of beginning work on a retrospective of the 1982 CIF Championship Basketball Team at Burroughs. And after a discussing my vision for the project with former teammate Paul Vander Werf for hours the night before, my awakening prompted me to look up the man who covered us that year for The Daily Independent, Alan Hunt.
I pulled up the Google search engine on my phone and quickly queried his name only to find that he had passed in May of last year due to complications from leukemia. He was 65.
Alan was the sports editor at the paper in Ridgecrest when our team made its fabled run at the CIF title. He brought an air of fun and enthusiasm to everything he wrote, never missing the small side story or ironic event along the way. He provided all of us with enough clippings to never forget the great time we had that season.
The summer following my graduation from high school, I responded to an ad in The Daily Independent to be a sports stringer, whatever that was. As it turned out I was writing up results of local dart tournaments and bowling league standings, with an occasional obituary or weather report tossed in my then-owner Cliff Urseth.
But Alan was never content to let me keep doing those snippets. Before long he had me going out and covering freshman and JV sports and some of the local youth baseball. He’s read over my stories and took a genuine interest in not only what I wrote but how I wrote it. He wanted me to understand that while these contests seemed important to those involved at the time they were played, that they were in fact games. That they were fun and that in the end, that’s what was important.
I wrote a year or two for Alan before he left for Lompoc, his desire for being closer to the surf a driving force. I never really understood that as Ridgecrest had all the beach a man could ever want. We just didn’t have any waves to go with it. Evidently, that was pretty important to him.
About a decade later, I became the sports editor at The D.I. and couldn’t believe my good fortune. It was a great job covering all of the teams I had grown up with. As each day went by I’d hear Alan whispering something in my ear from days gone by, reminding me, “Tim, in the end they’re just games. Make everyone know they had fun, even if they lost.”
I remember trying to call Alan to let him know that I had gotten that job. I don’t think I ever did get to talk to him about it, but I had always wanted to tell him how grateful I was for what he taught me in the short time I knew him. And I hope that if this post somehow finds its way to the eyes of his wife and son that they will know how much I appreciated him and how much he will be missed.
When we do our retrospective on the 1982 team, it will be diminished by not having Alan’s voice among its roster. But rest assured he will be remembered. He was as much a part of that unique moment in time as any one of us wearing a jersey or stomp;ing the sidelines in a three-piece suit.
Since leaving The Daily Independent in 1998 I have had numerous people tell me how much they enjoyed my articles and how they felt I was the best sports editor it had ever had. The truth of the matter is that if that the latter is the case, it is only because I did a very good job of mirroring the man and the journalist that was Alan Hunt.