Pat Aves is a DeKalb senior guard who will be playing in his final DeKalb-Sycamore game at the NIU Convocation Center. He shares his thoughts on the rivalry with the Daily Chronicle:
I remember when I was a little kid, I always looked forward to the DeKalb-Sycamore game at the Convocation Center. I knew how big of a rivalry it was as soon as I started playing basketball.
Ever since I was in seventh grade, my teammates and I always looked forward to playing Sycamore. That was one game our coaches always prepared us for and made sure we knew how big of a rivalry it was.
People don’t really realize it, but the rivalry starts as soon as you play them in middle school, and it progresses throughout the years as you get older. I’ve always had respect for Sycamore, but like Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo said, “You can respect your rival, but you can’t like them. It’s just un-American.”
The big game at the Convocation Center against Sycamore almost feels like Christmas when you’re a kid. That date is definitely circled on your calender, and that’s all you’re looking forward to. Then when it’s over, you can’t wait for it to come again the next year.
The night before the big game it’s like you can’t even sleep, then during that day you don’t even want to go to school you’re so focused on the game, nothing else really matters.
Another thing that’s so great about the “Convo” game is it gets the two communities together. It really shows how much support we get from our communities.
When I first stepped on the floor last year, I couldn’t believe how many people were in the stands. It was a bit nerve-racking.
Something I look forward to is visiting the schools and talking to the kids. I remember when I was a little kid, I used to always look forward to that assembly. There’s always so much spirit and support we get from the elementary kids or even middle school students. The last thing we want to do is let them down. They look up to us and we want to win the game for ourselves, but more importantly for our community and fans.
The rivalry we have with Sycamore is huge and it’s something that will carry on from generation to generation. Our whole school gets behind each other and supports our athletes, no matter if it’s basketball, football or soccer. All we’re focused on is winning the game.
The DeKalb-Sycamore rivalry is one of the biggest rivalries in the state. If everyone saw how hard the athletes prepare for these games, I’m sure they would understand. There are really no other games that compare to a DeKalb and Sycamore rivalry.