By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

The NFL season is finally underway! In my house football will be on the TV from midday well into the evening every Sunday from now until February. Growing up just outside of Philadelphia, I am a die hard Eagles fan. My husband who spent much of his youth in New York roots for the Giants, but he has been stationed in Washington D.C. enough times that he also cheers on the Redskins.

Living in northern Virginia, all the Redskins games are shown on local affiliate TV which means we have to head out to the local sports bar to watch our “hometown” sports teams on satellite. The problem is, in a transient area like ours, EVERYONE heads to the local bar to watch “their” team. On occasion, we have to wait until almost halftime to get seated!

Long Distance Fan

k_phils_hat_2It’s not easy following your favorite team from a distance!

You can’t check game summaries or stats easily in the newspaper. Rarely is the game you want to see being carried locally. The local TV sportscast doesn’t include any of the feature or background info on your team. For the casual fan this is not a big deal. But for a die hard, it’s tough. And walking around town in a rival team jersey is never easy.

Luckily, in recent years the internet and technology have become a friend to sports fans everywhere. One veteran Marine couple is in the same situation as my family. Shaun is a Cleveland Browns fan and Jennifer roots for the New England Patriots. “We don’t get their games often,” says Jennifer. “So we ended up getting NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV.”

Jan, a retired milspouse, is an avid Pittsburg Steeler and Penguins fan. “I listen to Steelers and Pens radio through an app or website. When a Pittsburgh team plays a D.C. team and the local feed is the only one we can get,” says Jan, “I mute the TV and put the Pittsburgh radio on.”

Social Media to the Rescuewp_20140104_004

Today’s social media also makes it a lot easier to keep up from afar. Some families put out a call to other families via the local spouse or base Facebook pages to see who else is a fan and who is watching the game where. This is an easy way to meet new like-minded friends!

Jennifer uses the NFL app on her phone to keep tabs on the Pats as well as liking the Patriots fan page on FB. While Jan has an NHL.TV subscription, she also follows along on several Facebook pages and groups that track the Pittsburg teams. “I follow some folks on twitter,” says Jan. “There are lots of Pittsburgh fans in the D.C. area. When the Pens win at the phone booth (the Verizon Center), the Pens fans meet on the steps of the National Gallery across the street and chant “This is our house.”

Rooting for your hometown sports team from several states away can be lonely at times but social media does help to keep a far away fan in the loop. I will admit to looking for another Eagles jersey each time I walk into our local sports bar, if only to give a nod or a high five after a win.

What is your hometown team and what lengths do you go to to follow?

COlivo (2)Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Coordinator previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation.  She has garnered numerous industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, and Documentary Reporting.  She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.