BILLINGS — If you’re calling the house of Marvin and Linda Frank during Montana winters, you’ll most likely get four rings and the answering machine. No, it’s not because they snuck away to Florida.
Cooper Frank is a freshman guard with the Joliet J-Hawks boys basketball team and the grandson to Marvin and Linda. He can vouch for their extremely busy winters.
“Sometimes they go to my JV games, then skip over to Shayden’s varsity games and sometimes they’ll miss one of our games to go watch Mesa, Shayden’s older sister, in Dillon,” Cooper Frank said.
Cooper’s cousin, Shayden King, is a senior for the Big Timber Herders, and he said that his grandparents rarely miss any of his games.
“They came to Bozeman, they came to Manhattan, they tried to make it to almost every game if the roads were good and Cooper wasn’t playing closer. They put on quite a few miles,” King said.
We can call it the Marvin and Linda road tour. In Joliet, they watch Cooper, it’s then off to Big Timber for Shayden and the Herders. If they have time, it’s off to Dillon to support granddaughter Mesa King and her Montana Western teammates.
Marvin and Linda wouldn’t trade it for the world. In fact, they say the traveling keeps them young.
“Oh, no. Oh, no. Don’t want the grass to grow under our feet,” Marvin and Linda said.
Cooper says they’ve been putting on the miles for as long as he can remember.
“They’ve been there ever since we started travel in, like, fourth grade,” he said. “I remember going to Shayden’s games with them all the time when I was little, too, so it’s just nice.”
That can add up to 500 miles in a weekend.
Cooper jokes that they wear down the tires so much that they need a new car every basketball season.
“I think they go through one minivan a year,” he said.
Many times the rooting interest is clear, but what happens when the two teams face off, like they did Thursday in the first round of the Southern B divisional tournament? The toughest decision on those days revolves around what section to sit in. On Thursday afternoon, they decided to sit with the Herder faithful.
The Franks had a simple explanation: “Took the oldest one. It’s his last year, so the one from Joliet will have three more years.”
Shayden had a more confident take on the matter.
“I think I’m the favorite, that’s why,” he said.
That type of trash talk doesn’t stop with favorite grandson. The two cousins and best friends have quite the competitive edge to them. They often play one-on-one when the two families get together, but there is definitely a debate on who gets the best of those battles.
Cooper laughed that it’s “usually me,” while Shayden quickly refuted that claim.
“Oh, me, for sure. He has the range sometimes, or he used to, but I got my range figured out, so I got him in height and the range,” Shayden said.
When that final buzzer sounds, it’s off to the seats — hugs from grandma and a little bit of coaching from grandpa.
Shayden loves having another coach to lean on.
“My grandpa tries to sometimes and his advice is pretty good most times, but it’s nice, it’s nice to have another coach on the sidelines there sometimes,” he said.
Marvin joked that Shayden may not always listen to his advice, but he’s going to keep sharing.
“I just said, ‘Don’t let them get in your head, that’s all. Just play your game and you’ll do good,'” Marvin said.
The Joliet residents may not spend a lot of time at home, but that’s fine with them. As the old saying goes, home is where the heart is and Marvin and Linda Frank are two very proud grandparents.