Long Distance Fandom

While at a restaurant watching Friday night’s Brewers/Cubs game on the big screen, I saw playoff hockey and the NBA playoffs being shown on smaller TVs throughout the room and I realized I couldn’t care less about what was happening in them – because I couldn’t identify with any of the teams.

I’m a huge college hockey fan, but I’ve never been able to get into the NHL. I’m certain this is because we don’t have a team here in Milwaukee. And despite the proximity of the Blackhawks or the Red Wings or the Wild, I’ve never become attached to a team.

The Milwaukee Bucks have been pretty awful my entire life. Again, I’m a big college basketball fan – but I’m just not interested in the Bucks’ season. They don’t draw me in.

I played soccer for 20 years and yet have no intense attraction or fandom for any team. I love the game and would turn on any game at any second, but I don’t have any particular affinity. I tried a few seasons ago to follow the English Premier League. I debated which team to follow and DVR’d the games on Fox Soccer Channel, but that lasted just a few weeks.

I clearly don’t know how to be a long-distance fan.

I’m used to going to 20-30 Brewers games a summer. We have partial season tickets to University of Wisconsin hockey. So much of my fandom is wrapped up in the live fan experience.

How do you entrench yourself in the team and get wrapped up in their ups and downs without that tactile group experience?

It’s difficult enough to keep up with all my teams when the season’s start to overlap and that’s when my team’s are on TV and covered in my morning paper and on the nightly news – this is where I got lost during the EPL season. When I have to go searching for games and coverage, that’s where I got lost.

How do the rest of you do it?

8 thoughts on “Long Distance Fandom

  1. Cutesports, if you don’t feel a burning desire to look for the coverage, maybe you’re just not that into it. Maybe your just a more casual fan. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    I don’t do anything out of the ordinary. My absolute favorite team is local, so this isn’t an issue for me. But I got DirecTV so I could have Sunday Ticket and watch whatever NFL games I want. As for soccer, I check repeatedly online for games on FSC so I can set the DVR.

  2. The Bucks were fab in the 80’s and made the Eastern Conference finals in the early aughts.

    NBA – where amazing happens.

  3. Its definitely hard to be a long distance fan. I’m a diehard Minnesota Twins Fan and a moderately passionate New England Patriots fan. Only problem is, I live in the Chicago area. But I think the hardest part of being a long distance fan isn’t getting coverage. Football and baseball translate onto television better than hockey and basketball do. I’m lucky that the Pats have been good and get a fair amount of nationally televised games and coverage on ESPN. MLB.tv helps me catch Twins games and follow the team. The coverage is there, you just have to work a little harder to get it.
    I would say the difficulty in being a long distance fan is more about not having fellow fans around you to share in the experience. Seeing the Twins is a lot easier because they are in the same division as the White Sox, so I try to go to at least one game a series when they are in town. I also coordinate my Summer vacation time/destinations to include Twins games. But going to games and cheering for the visiting team isn’t always the most fun/easiest thing to do depending on how hostile the home crowd is. In Chicago- White Sox fans are pretty hard core. And the ridicule I take while watching the Pats-Colts game with a bunch of Colts fans isn’t that fun. But when you love your team, you put up with it.

  4. Ugh, try following the NHL from bloody London! There’s like one pub that shows the games (on silent!) and I’ve had to rely on the kindness of an internet buddy who lets me use her account to watch the streams.

    Would definitely be nice to know at least one person here who a) likes the NHL or b) has actually even heard of it – I do my part by watching it on my iPod at the gym or on the Tube but I do kind of like having it all to myself at the same time – that way I can sneer from my high horse and feel superior

    • Heck, I live in Ohio & feel that way too! With the NHL on a station that I can’t even get and college hockey’s sparse coverage I might as well be across the Atlantic.

  5. The long-distance thing is hard, and nearly impossible w/out the internet. During my college years I was on the web constantly checking up on all my teams since they rarely received coverage down there, especially hockey (my first roommate could not conceive why a school or a city would even want a hockey team) and now I have to follow my alma mater the same way.

  6. It’s really hard. I grew up in the Twin Cities, so being a fan of my teams was easy, but I go to school on the west coast, and I have to say my fanship of said teams has decreased dramatically. Probably mostly because I’m so busy with school, but it’s hella hard to keep up with what’s going on. Without the internet and constant texts, it wouldn’t be possible at all. I did the best my freshman year, and it has slipped since then.

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