I used to live in Boston. I went to school there and loved it, so I stuck around for another 10 years or so. When I eventually left, I lost access to the city’s vibrant sports scene, and my ability to brainwash Detective Munch into rooting for some of my favorite teams.
Except not really, because this is 2014. It hasn’t exactly been hard to follow the Red Sox this century, no matter where you live, and it’s easy enough to find a way to watch your favorite NFL team, even if they play their games halfway across the country. But when your favorite college team isn’t exactly a national powerhouse, things can get a little dicey.
Luckily, we have the internet.
And the internet has TuneIn, a great app that lets me listen to my alma mater’s games no matter where I am. And trust me, when you follow Boston College football, listening is usually about as far as you want to take things. Or can take things, when your kid is busy watching “The Polar Express” for the 8000th time.
I’m not sure you can call it tailgating when you’re in your living room, and I’m not sure you can call it a party when it’s just you, your totally disinterested dead-eyed-cartoon-watching four-year-old, and your wife, who only occasionally pops in to shake her head in disapproval and make sure you’re not making a mess, but screw it, I’m gonna do it!
Two weekends ago, my son and I had a tailgating party for Boston College’s biggest football game of the season.
My (perpetually) rebuilding Boston College Eagles football team had one of their few marquee match-ups of the year, against the third-ranked (at the time) Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles are annoying enough with their chant, but they’re even more annoying with their reigning national champion-ness, their barely-undefeated-ness and that one friend of mine from Boston who went to FSU and gets in everyone faces when they play BC.
Did I mention that I don’t have cable (or DirectTV). So on Sundays, as a the fan of an NFL team with limited national exposure (Go Dolphins!), I have to go to a bar to watch them play. It’s hard enough to convince my wife to let me spend most of Sunday afternoon watching the NFL; even if BC were ever on TV (which they aren’t, except when they play Notre Dame, who inexplicably still have every game on NBC), getting Saturday afternoon off to watch a game is a non-starter.
Unless I can multitask while simultaneously watching my son and putting a shelf together for Mom and Buried!
You know what makes multitasking a lot easier? Beer! And you know what makes watching your son a lot easier? Putting on the TV! And you know what makes following a game when your son is watching TV and you’re putting a shelf together a lot easier? The radio!
Except I don’t have a radio either. But I do have an iPhone! And the TuneIn app, which (somewhat inexplicably and probably just for the hockey) includes BC among their 85 college-based sports stations. And, luckily, my wife had shelves for me to put up. (Note: she always has shelves for me to put up.) It was the perfect storm.
Until we lost, in typical, heartbreaking, missed-the-go-ahead-field-goal fashion. And then I tortured myself – and my son – by staying tuned into TuneIn and listening to the local post-game show explain exactly how BC let another big one slip away. Because embracing the pain is what Bostonians do, before immediately deleting the TuneIn app in a fit of anger.
Thankfully, it’s really easy to download again in time to listen to the Eagles suck at basketball too. Because my son needs to know what being a Boston fan was once like, and thanks to the TuneIn app and Boston College’s commitment to proudly holding up that agonizing tradition, now I can make sure he’ll find out.
So far, he’s not taking it too hard. He wanted to play catch right after the game.