Government Shutdown Means Overseas Troops Can't Watch Sports

In the grand scheme of sites and services affected by the government shutdown, it is a very minor thing. But think about how miserable you are when weather or carriage disputes or cable problems keep you from watching your favorite team play. That's happening now for thousands of American service members and civilian employees stationed overseas, with no end in sight.

While military are classified as essential personnel and will, unlike hundreds of thousands of government workers, collect their paychecks during the shutdown, life is not unaffected. The American Forces Network, which broadcasts nine television channels to make far-flung places feel a little bit more like home, is required to cut costs. With hockey starting, the baseball playoffs gearing up, and the NFL in full swing, that means no sports on TV.

The AFN broadcast center had to slash staff once the shutdown began on Tuesday. All channels except AFN News have gone off the air. Goodbye, AFN Sports. This is what you get when you tune in:

AFN Afghanistan reports that the news channel will begin carrying some SportsCenter reports so fans aren't totally out in the cold, and certain NFL games will be broadcast over the radio this Sunday, but those are poor substitutes for actual live televised sports. Right now, there's some kid from Western Pennsylvania stuck in a desolate desert outpost who still hasn't seen the Pirates win a playoff game in his lifetime.

[KPBS]