Getting to know Dr. Chris Sierk
He may rearrange teeth professionally, but his sports allegiances will never change
By Patrick Malee
The back office that houses Dr. Chris Sierk at Sierk Orthodontics in Central Village could double as a miniature sports museum. The walls are lined with posters and panorama photos of his favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and his desk faces a shelf carrying an Iowa University football helmet and basketball shoes that were once worn by Portland Trail Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden.
The door to the room just across from Sierk’s office, meanwhile, carries a more local theme highlighted by a poster of the state champion West Linn High School boys basketball team.
Put simply, Sierk is a sports nut. He routinely travels around the country to follow the Cardinals and Hawkeyes football in the playoffs, and in January began traveling to Bandon, Ore. — home of the world famous Bandon Dunes Golf Resort — to both help out patients in a remote location and hit the links.
Whether he’s at Busch Stadium in St. Louis or coaching a local youth basketball team, Sierk is never far from the playing field in his spare time.
Q: So you grew up in Iowa and attended Northwestern University, correct?
Yeah, I wanted to stay in the Big Ten because I liked the sports, and my brother went there after me. I went back to Iowa for dental school and then I moved here in 1996 to go to OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University).
Q: Have you just been into sports your whole life?
Yeah, my family were huge St. Louis Cardinals fans, and I grew up with season tickets to Iowa football – that’s why we did that. Even out here we follow them to the bowl games, so we’ve been to bowl games in Florida, Arizona and California to watch them play. And I get out to see the Cardinals play in the World Series when they’re in it. Last year they didn’t quite make it — the Giants got them — but we went to a game in the NLCS (National League Championship Series), and the year before I took my son out to the World Series to watch them beat the Rangers. (He points to a poster.) This is when I went in 2006 with both brothers to see them beat the Tigers; we were there the night they won the championship.
Q: How often did you go to the old Busch Stadium growing up?
My parents honeymooned at Busch Stadium; this is Busch three, that’s Busch two up there (on the wall), there was an old one even before that. But they honeymooned at Busch two in 1967, and we would go down once, maybe twice a summer – all of us. It’s about a four-hour drive from the Quad Cities.
Q: Was it tough to see that stadium go?
Yes and no. You see how all the new stadiums are so much nicer nowadays, so yeah, it had worn out its welcome.
Q: Did you play sports growing up?
Q: What sports?
I played baseball and soccer.
Q: It seems like football and baseball are pretty big for you. Are those your favorite sports?
Yeah, baseball is my favorite sport. But as far as spectator sports, college football as well. The NFL I like all right, but it’s college football and Cardinals baseball most of the time.
Q: Since you got out here, do you like any of the local teams?
I enjoy the Blazers, and when I was out in Evanston I followed the Bulls and the Blackhawks and did everything there. Here, the Blazers are the only team in town so it’s been fun to follow the Blazers and become a fan. I’m one of the few who likes the Ducks and Beavers alike; I don’t really have a preference. Iowa you’re either an Iowa or Iowa State fan, and same thing here. But here I just root for whoever has the most to gain.
Q: How do sports come into play at work? Do you talk sports a lot with patients?
Yeah, it’s fun — the kids are all involved. With the ages we see kids, it’s 7 to 16 most often. They’re all involved — they’ve got activities, they’re watching them on TV. We get involved. I’ve coached baseball, girls youth baseball, girls youth basketball, everyone’s got something to contribute. It’s fun and I like to sponsor them and get out to see games too.
Q: What all do you sponsor?
We sponsor anyone who comes to us — soccer, baseball, anyone that comes to us, I’ll donate something. I’ll always do teams for West Linn youth baseball, we sponsor the West Linn High School team — the Diamond Club — and we’ve done a “mouth guard day” for six years or so.
Q: Can you describe that?
Everyone in West Linn Youth Football, third to eighth grade, is welcome to come in on Thursday, July 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. We offer complimentary custom mouth guards, and people who have been coming for years know that, and they schedule their time around it. All of our patients that are in treatment, we give them free mouth guards. It’s super important, whether you have braces or not, to make sure you cover that. It’s something that’s important to me.
Q: And anyone can come by?
For that day, anyone. Anyone from the community.
"I’ve coached baseball, girls youth baseball, girls youth basketball . . . It’s fun and I like to sponsor them and get out to see games too."
Photos by Vern Uyetake