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Being a White Sox, Red Wings and Michigan Sports Fan in Abilene is Challenging

It’s easy to be a fan of the hometown team. I know, because until 2006 my son and I were lucky enough to have our favorite teams around our hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan showing on my TV regularly. And I would be able to go see a game in person from time to time. Now that I’ve moved to Abilene, I’m left out of the loop. I can’t make a day trip to see my favorite teams anymore. Regional sports teams like the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Aggies and Longhorns, and even the Dallas Stars are easy to come across on TV in Abilene, but not my White Sox, Red Wings and Wolverines.

I’m a sports transplant. I no longer get the latest, in-depth news about my favorite sports teams every time I turn on my radio or TV. They aren’t plastered all over the Sports Section of the local newspaper. I don’t get to talk to random strangers at the bar about how magical the ’97 and ’98 hockey and college football years were, and have them agree with me. And I can’t just change favorite teams. It’s how us Wheatons were raised.

5 of my 6 siblings proudly showing off their Christmas gifts from Dad

Sure, I can get the latest updates from my Scorecenter app on my iPhone. I could also pay extra for sports packages that will give me some games from my favorite teams (and a whole bunch of teams I don’t care about). But I miss the days when, if my team was playing, I could turn on my TV and they were almost certain to be on and it wouldn’t cost me more than a cable subscription.

I’m not complaining. I know I moved from a place where my sports alliances were in the vast majority to a place where even the biggest baseball fans’ knowledge of the White Sox is limited to the moment that Robin Ventura charged the mound on Nolan Ryan, and took his whoopin’. That was twenty years ago, people!

It’s also hard to find team apparel. In West Texas, you can go anywhere and buy a Texas Longhorns jersey, from arts and craft shows to grocery stores. But finding any Michigan Wolverines gear is tough. I know, you’re thinking I can stop whining and order whatever I want online. It’s just not the same, believe me. I can’t hold a computer screen up to my chest and look in a mirror to see if my Denard Robinson #16 jersey will fit well.

I love living in Abilene. I love the people, the hot weather, cold Shiner beer, the Mexican food, and the fact that you can catch live music at the mall on a Tuesday night is awesome. I have even become a fan of some of the sports teams. But I feel like the new kid in school sometimes. If you want to make my day, ask me about the Michigan basketball team’s chances in the tournament, or how terrible the White Sox are going to be this year. Ask me if the Red Wings are going to turn their season around in time to make a playoff run. Ask me how much I despise “Ohio”. And tell me how adorable my daughter looks in her Michigan Cheerleader outfit!

Baby Wheaton, Michigan Cheerleader
Dave Wheaton

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