When you’ve lived and breathed your local football team for a few years, moving to a new (rival) city can be tough. The neighborhood camaraderie is gone, and the local watering hole will be getting ready for the rival team’s games. Tailgate parties will feature the other team’s colors. And where the rivalry is strong, you might even be afraid to venture out wearing your jersey for fear of riling up the crowd.
Fortunately, you can be a football fan in a city where your team isn’t the favorite. It might take a little bit longer to find your people—and you may have to keep your gloating to a minimum—but there’s no reason for you to hang up that jersey just yet. > Scout Local Bars: Check out your local sports bars and dives to see who the favorite team is. Although most cities tend to gravitate toward their own local teams, you might find a hole-in-the-wall locale that welcomes outside views. The best way to tell is by looking at the paraphernalia on the walls—it’s pretty easy to spot a fellow fanatic. > Find Your Community: In larger metropolitan areas, there tend to be sub-groups who gather around a shared interest. Sports fans are one of these sub-groups. Go online and look for local forums for sports enthusiasts. Reach out on Facebook or other social media platforms to find anyone willing to meet up for a game or sports chat. Even if you don’t find friends to meet in person, you can develop a pretty strong online community this way. > There’s an App for That: Thanks to technology, there’s no reason for you to feel alone as a sports fan. Apps like FanReact allow you to tap into a network of like-minded fans regardless of where you’re currently located. > Host Parties: If you can’t find a good place to go to watch the game, turn your home into a game day retreat. You can go all-in to transform your basement into a sports bar or simply invite friends and family members over on the day of a big game. Either way, getting in the habit of entertaining will help you meet new people (and maybe even create some new sports fans in the process). > Join a Fantasy Football League: Nothing breaks down barriers faster than the good-natured competition of a fantasy football league. Find a local group that needs participants and give it your all. Since the focus is less on professional sports teams and more on the one you’ve created, rivalries aren’t as important.
Of course, one of the best ways to deal with moving to a rival city is to embrace the spirit of competition. Sometimes, the most fun to be had as a sports fan is to hold your head high and celebrate your wins and losses with the enemy. As long as things don’t get out of control or hostile, there’s no reason why you can’t fly your team’s colors and enjoy yourself.