Editorial: Remembering Bob Frisk's annual column of sports quotes
Today, we enter into the last two weeks of a year that for so long has seemed never-ending. As always, you can expect to find year-end staples popping up in paper, reminders of 2020's flickering light.
But among the missing voices -- and in such a year of hardship, there have been so many lost voices -- is longtime high school sports icon Bob Frisk, who died of cancer in May at age 83.
Bob used to entertain sports fans at the conclusion of each year with a charming column of sports quotes that he collected throughout the year.
"Quote, Unquote" ultimately became the headline for those compilations, and they became such a tradition that he continued them even after his retirement in 2008 following more than half a century shepherding the Daily Herald's prep sports coverage.
"My annual column of best sports quotes (is) a labor of love that I didn't want to see abandoned and readers seemed to enjoy," he wrote in 2018. "I have always considered this column an adventure of both hard work and enjoyment. It's fun."
He always hoped readers would enjoy the fun with him. As the year of his passing concludes, let us pay a final tribute in the style Bob taught.
Sports Writer John Dietz: "What always amazed me were the 'Quote, Unquote' columns he produced at the end of the year. The dedication it took to put these pieces together ... And what pieces they were. Quotes to make you laugh. Think. Cry. Ponder. Snarl. Inspire. They truly ran the gamut."
Matt Troha, assistant exec director of the IHSA: "Bob was the genuine article. His wonderful personality endeared him to all the athletes and coaches he covered."
High School Sports Editor John Radtke: "Be positive, he always said, because these kids will have a lifetime of dealing with negatives."
Tom Quinlan, friend and retired sports editor: "All you had to do was tag along with him to a game ... Bob would arrive on the scene and ... coaches, parents, scorekeepers, announcers, athletic directors, referees, officials, trainers and boosters would spot him and come over to say hi. Before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, Bob Frisk was our social media."
Prospect High School boys basketball coach John Camardella: "When I first started going to Hersey games as a kid, Bob Frisk of the Daily Herald was a big deal and still is. You immediately knew who Bob Frisk was in the sports world."
Senior Staff Writer Kevin Schmit: "Being with him at the All-Area banquets was an absolute treat. Between you and me, I'd make sure he was sitting in the chair just left of the podium and then I'd rush to snag the seat next to him."
Sports Writer Patricia Babcock McGraw: "Bob loved high school sports, but his pride and joy was his grandson and Bob loved watching him play baseball."
Joe Aguilar, former colleague: "He wore that Daily Herald cotton ball cap -- navy with the white logo -- everywhere, never tugging on the bill, like ballplayers do. It just sat on top of his thinning hair ... He was immensely proud of his team."
Doug Millstone, former Buffalo Grove boys basketball coach: "I remember his gentleness. Everyone seemed to like him. He was the prep sports advocate. He never had a negative word to say about anyone."
Bob Frisk, Daily Herald's longtime assistant managing editor for sports, quoted in an IHSA biography of him: "I love watching kids compete."
Bob Frisk, in his retirement column in 2008: "I have tried to emphasize positive writing to all our full- and part-time reporters for all these years. I am proud of that legacy."
To paraphrase Bob's "Quote, Unquote" signoffs, we hope you've enjoyed the testimonials. If Bob made you smile, mission accomplished,