Consistency lacking with constant conference changes


Photo by Nayeli Lara

As a three sport athlete, I can say that I’ve competed against at least a 100 schools. A single cross-country race can have over 70 schools and a basketball season has about 30 games. Competing with all these different schools is fun, but the conference switches for every year of my high school career has made consistency a problem.

Cross country and track are easier to ignore since there are hardly ever dual school meets, but basketball has definitely been affected. Going from the DVC my freshman year, to the UEC Valley Division, to the UEC River Division, and then back to the UEC Valley Division- but with many new schools- has basically made rivalries non existent.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a school I have played every year. I can’t think of any girls that I have seen grow up and improve with me, someone that I can’t wait to bud heads with again. Sure, some nonconference games are the same, but different scheduling for conference games has changed many of those as well. And conference games have been different every year. A game that should be looked forward to every year has lost its appeal since it feels no different than a regular game.

High school athletics are always hyped up in the media to include rivalries. Glenbard North is always a fun school to hate since many of our students come from the Carol Stream area, but now that we’re in a different conference, some teams might not even play them.

Along with not having consistency with rivals, the switches have also made each year a bit of a guessing game. If we had stayed in one spot, it might be easier to tell what school is good, where you might place in conference, which player you had to watch out for, and just what to expect. Going into a meet or game we do get information from the coaches of what to expect, but firsthand experience is always better.

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Of course the big positive that has come from the conference switches is the different levels of competition. Running or playing against DVC schools is always a reminder of what we used to be up against. We aren’t completely crushing the competition in the UEC, but I think most sports have definitely seen an improvement. Girls basketball is able to get some conference wins, the boys team this year is first in conference, badminton won conference last year, and even football has scored some wins.

The loss of the rivalries that come with consistent conferences might have been a fair trade for better records. This senior class has had to endure with the change every year, but as of now, it looks like we won’t be moving again. It’ll be up to the following classes to really stake their claim in the UEC and let all the other schools know that not only are we’re here to stay, but we’re here to compete.