When Glenbrook North plays in the Class 4A Niles West Sectional final Friday night, Dennis Busch pans on being there just as he is for nearly every GBN game.
Busch is a loyal fan. How loyal?
Busch is 74 years old but drove to Waukegan last year to see the Spartans win in overtime in the CSL championship game. If GBN wins Friday night, Busch (pictured, left) plans on driving into the city for the supersectional at Illinois-Chicago Tuesday night.
“I try to get to as many as I can,” Busch said. “I hit all of the home ones and try to to get to the out-of-town ones. I’ll drive to the close ones at Highland Park, Deerfield and Glenbrook South all the time.”
GBN’s game earlier this year in St. Louis is an example of the type of the game that prevents Busch from having a consecutive-games streak for attendance.
At one recent game, Busch struck up a conversation with a fan sitting next to him. He commented on how he likes watching GBN’s 6-foot-6 junior center, Peter Szostak. Turns out the fan was Peter’s mother, Mary.
“He said he has been going to games since his daughter graduated (from GBN) in 1981,” Mary Szostak said.
Mary made sure Busch was guaranteed a ticket for both sectional games.
Busch watches the play of centers for a reason. He was a 6-foot backup center for old Northbrook High School, where he graduated in 1952. The starting center was Art Landwehr, whose family would later have a road named after them.
“I played varsity basketball for two years,” Busch said. “We were a very small high school. We had such a small football team. Half the line would practice against each other.”
As a former basketball center, Busch has enjoyed watching the development of Szostak (picture right, top) and 6-7 freshman Andrew McAuliffe (pictured right, below).
“Basketball strategy has really changed over the years. Their strategy is pretty good now,” Busch said. “I thought a couple of weeks ago that (coach David Weber) needed to develop his big men. That’s what he did.
“You’re starting to see the two of them (Szostak and McAuliffe) more. They are aggressive under the boards. They have taken pressure off Alex (Dragicevich), who is starting to hit outside shots and they have opened lanes for him to drive.”
On McAuliffe, Busch said: “He’s really developed more. The kid can jump. He’s agile.”
Busch arrived late to the sectional semifinal March 9 after driving his wife, Margaret, to a doctor’s appointment. Margaret often joins Dennis at games, but recently completed treatment for skin cancer and has been ruled cancer free.
Due to Margaret’s illness, Busch has missed a few boys basketball games in the past month. He not only attends basketball games, but is a regular at football games, attends swimming meets and even goes to plays and concerts at GBN. He remembers when the school would host men’s recreation nights, allowing the community to use the fitness
center and even the swimming pool.
“I’m trying to stay young,” Busch said. “I had bypass surgery nine years ago.”
Busch is a proud Bradley University graduate, but as a sports fan his main interest is in the local high school.
“I find high school (sports) more entertaining than college. But I like college too,” Busch said. “What these kids do in high school is phenomenal.”