The Art of Being an Out-of-Town Fan

by Amy Yen

I don’t remember if I ever actually wrote this post before, but I’ve been asked a lot in my life why sports matter so much to me, and especially why, since I haven’t lived full-time in Dallas since I went off to college, I cling so fervently to my devotion to my hometown teams.

It’s a couple of reasons. One, it’s built into me. Among my fondest and most vivid memories of growing up was watching Cowboys games every Sunday with my dad. I grew up on the glory days of the 90s, when the Triplets ruled & we beat the Bills like a gazillion times. To this day, we spend every Thanksgiving at my friend’s house in Arlington, potlucking & watching the traditional Thanksgiving home game together. Even as the Cowboys have gone south in recent years, I feel like all those Superbowls from my youth have bought them my undying devotion for life.

When I went away to school, especially grad school in Boston, sports became my tie to home. The Cowboys were still on national TV almost every week & I would still follow the Mavericks, Stars & Rangers the best I could, even if it was just scoreboard watching, occasionally listening to an online radio broadcast & following game threads on team forums. When I went home for the holidays, I’d take my brother to a game. The first time we did this was the Stars’ opening night the year after the NHL lockout. They promptly went down 4-0, but came all the way back to win it 5-4 in overtime. It was the best game ever.

Being a fan of these teams, even an out-of-town one who hardly ever gets to watch a game, means I’m a part of a community. I know who the beat writers are from the Morning News & Star Telegram & who’s covering what for ESPN Dallas now. I’m a proud Ticket P1. I know what sites & blogs have the best commentary for each team & I know where to find the fandom online. It’s not quite being in the ballpark or the arena with them, but watching a game while following a game thread or Twitter conversation with other fans is still a blast & it’s still a unique fan experience.

This is especially true during the playoffs, since everything feels so absurdly emotional. Playoff losses feel like a black cloud over everything ever. I remember sitting in my dorm room in Austin at 2 am after the Stars lost in 5 overtimes to the Ducks in round 2 of the playoffs back in 2003, feeling like the world was literally ending, being so furious with Ducks fans for storming our forums (I have never really forgiven them for that, after all these years). Then again, the wins feel like the most wonderful, magical events in history. I was in Boston when the Stars beat the Sharks on a Brenden Morrow goal in the 4th OT to advance to the Western Conference Finals two years ago, by myself in the living room of my apartment, jumping up & down silently, since it was the middle of the night & my roommates were asleep. I seriously didn’t think I could be so happy. (Watching the video clip of that goal still gives me chills.) I had to work the next day, but I stayed up for another two hours, virtually celebrating with other fans, feeling as a part of something special as I have ever felt about anything.

This is why, when a playoff run like the Rangers are having happens, it hardly even matters that I’m in LA, a city that really could care less about baseball these days since the Dodgers didn’t make the postseason this year. Following Game 4 on Twitter & texting with friends back home, it still felt like I was a part of that win, that (and I’m aware of how silly this sounds to non-sports-fans) we were all in this together.

I’m having a great time, I don’t ever want this feeling to end. I know there’s a long way to go, but right now, everything is awesome. PS: Claw, y’all.

Go Rangers!


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