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Ormond Beach Observer Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 5 years ago

My out-of-town fandom

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Watching my favorite teams isn't as easy as it used to be. But I'll still do it, no matter where I live and where they play. 

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

For over a year, I lived with my brother in a two-bedroom apartment one block north of Wrigley Field, at the corner of Grace Street and Kenmore Avenue.

During the Cubs’ season, I could open the windows and hear the crowd cheer, or more likely boo, before I heard the reaction on TV.

This was my life, an in-town fan, until I was 25 years old.

Except for my four years at college, still in Illinois and still surrounded by Chicago fans, I had never been isolated.

Prior to moving to Ormond Beach, I lived in Knoxville for a year while earning a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, where I learned to love the Volunteers. It was a new experience, mostly enjoyable, but also filled with challenges I’d never been faced with.

I could no longer flip on a Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs or Bulls game minutes before it started. I had to plan when, how and where I could catch games, if at all.

Then, thanks to the Internet and all its wonders, I could stream hockey, baseball and basketball games virtually whenever and wherever I wanted, even during my media law class.

But of course, the Internet giveth, and the Internet taketh away.

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing HD quality picture, or the picture altogether, at a crucial moment. Thanks to Comcast, this happened all too often.

And then I moved to Ormond Beach. Now not only am I away from the largest concentration of like-minded fans and broadcasted Chicago games, I’m also in enemy territory (Go Vols).

So I show up to Houligan’s about an hour before the Bears kickoff, to make sure I can get a seat by the TV I need.

As soon as the NHL and NHLPA settle their labor dispute, I’ll gladly purchase NHL Gamecenter. I’ll do the same with the NBA. And I’ll probably do the same before next baseball season, so I can torture myself with another 100-loss campaign.

Why? Because I’m a fan, no matter where I live. And those of you who know this feeling, know this is what we do for our sports.

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