MSL Showdown Friday -- these are the nights Bob Frisk lived for

  • Bob Frisk, who spent 50 years covering high school sports for the Daily Herald, always loved Mid-Suburban League basketball as much as anything.

    Bob Frisk, who spent 50 years covering high school sports for the Daily Herald, always loved Mid-Suburban League basketball as much as anything. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/18/2021 3:52 PM

These are the nights Bob Frisk lived for.

Mid-Suburban League basketball.

 

And Friday night's version couldn't be any better, right?

Well, sure, it could.

The gyms would be packed full of fans. Cheerleaders and pep bands would be revving up the crowds.

Bob, Mr. MSL and the Daily Herald's Mr. Sports for 50 years, would be sitting center court, admiring the players and their athletic abilities. But Bob left us in May, so he'll be watching Friday, and every night, from his heavenly perch.

Also missing will be the cheerleaders and pep bands. There will be a max of 50 spectators from the host school only.

What a night Friday would be if it were a MSL doubleheader night.

Hersey and Rolling Meadows in the East, Fremd and Barrington in the West. A combined boys and girls record of 16-0.

But there are no MSL doubleheaders this year.

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Thanks, COVID-19.

Instead of packed stands, cheerleaders, pep bands and Bob Frisk, unless you're among the chosen 50, you'll have to tune in on your smart TV, laptop, phone, whatever device you so choose, and watch the livestream of these games between four teams looking to get a leg up on winning their division championships.

The games we speak of include Hersey's top-ranked girls team playing at Rolling Meadows, live streamed on RMHS YouTube. Hersey's boys, meanwhile, host Rolling Meadows (early tipoff at 6:30 p.m.) and you can catch that game on YouTube at https://youtube.com/channel/UCASXJBilzaA9YWQogyoFWcg. At Fremd, tune in to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaaLgk2Kk9oFkp_QUiXMG-g to watch the defending Class 4A state champion Vikings take on Barrington. Finally, Fremd's boys play at Barrington, also a YouTube game at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCepp--dvNeI226YvIbG0jOg.

Yep, basketball junkies, that's what 2021 has come to.

It's not all bad, though, so as Bob always did, let's focus on the positives.

•Basketball is being played, something we weren't so sure would happen a couple of months ago.

•The student-athletes in these four games, and games everywhere, are competing as hard as ever. While they, and their coaches, would love the packed gyms, the cheerleaders, the pep bands, and Bob Frisk to be there, I haven't heard of one kid yet this season saying he or she isn't putting everything they have into this short, but so important season. Important? Darn right it is, and maybe more so than any other season. We've all been through so much since March 13, 2020. And while the pandemic isn't over, we're making progress. Playing basketball is one very huge sign of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

•Whether you're in attendance or watching from a device, who can't get just a little fired up to watch Hersey coach Austin Scott's strategy to slow down Max Christie and his Meadows teammates? Or to see how Fremd's Bob Widlowski and Barrington's Bryan Tucker match wits for the top spot in the West. How about watching Meadows girls coach Ryan Kirkorsky fire his Mustangs up to try and knock off Mary Fendley's top-ranked Huskies? And, catching Babbi Barreiro's Fillies compete against Dave Yates' Fremd girls completes the quadruple treat.

Could it be better? Sure, it could. But the games will be played and, above all, the student-athletes competing in them deserve our admiration and support, even if it's from a screen and not a bleacher.

We know Bob will be watching -- he's probably scurrying around heaven right now trying to borrow iPads so he can see all four.

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