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“In this vastly entertaining and enlightening effort, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Dohrmann explores the peculiar behaviors of sports fans. . . . Dohrmann treats his subjects with dignity. . . . By exploring the motivations of the men and women who display team tattoos and coordinate fan armies complete with military ranks, Dohrmann gives soul to a much maligned and misunderstood aspect of sports.”
“[Dohrmann] spotlights a field of study that is still in its infancy. He shows why the sort of fan studied by psychologists deserves more attention. . . . The book runs the gamut from the seriously disturbed sports fanatic to those who find transcendence in a community that might even be more important than the team. This is a fascinating subject deserving of further study, and Dohrmann provides a good jumping-off point.”
“An inside look at people who draw a sense of place and belonging from the sports teams for which they root. This book should have a broad readership.”
“A thought-provoking exploration of the weird, fascinating, and wonderful world of sports fans.”
—Chris Ballard, senior writer at Sports Illustrated and author of One Shot at Forever
“As Dohrmann shows in Superfans, sports have the power to turn PhD psychologists into superstitious obsessives, and young children into statistical savants. Superfans is utterly hilarious, but it's also the definitive anthropological dive into a form of mania that affects someone you love, if not you yourself.”
—David Epstein, New York Times bestselling author of The Sports Gene
“You've seen them screaming at a quarterback, paint covering their faces, spittle in the corner of their mouths. But who are they? Why are they? And what do they mean for the rest of us? In Superfans, the great George Dohrmann breaks down the fanaticism with writing that is simultaneously uproarious and alarming. A terrific book.”
—Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Gunslinger
How does fandom begin? What are its effects on everyday life? And when does it go too far? In this wondrously immersive look at American sports fandom, Pulitzer Prize-winning sports journalist George Dohrmann travels the country to find out what makes an extreme fan.
Through humanizing profiles, Dohrmann uses the latest research in sports psychology--some of it learned during an intense round of mini golf with a group of sports-loving professors at the annual Sports Psychology Forum, to unravel what makes sports fans so obsessive. On social media and internet websites, they are often the fans with their faces painted in the team’s colors or wearing other outlandish costumes, or they are the fans berating the team and other fanbases after a devastating loss. They are often mocked and made fun for public meltdowns at sporting events. They are SUPERFANS!
Readers are introduced along the way to:
· Steven Lenhart, a man living in Portland, Oregon in the 1990’s who single-handedly built a cheering section of 4,000 called Timber’s Army, for the local minor league soccer team, simply because of a desire to watch with other fans.
· a superfan of the Minnesota Vikings NFL team, who became a “general” in the Viking World Order—a group of extreme Viking fans, who take an oath in which they swear to serve Minnesota Vikings with integrity and respect.
· Two women in Atlanta who believe they know what women love sports teams (and yes, a part of it has to do with the hotness of the players)
· Extreme fandom isn’t just limited to adults, as we meet the parents of a five year-old kid whose extreme hatred of superstar QB Tom Brady went viral on youtube..
· A Dallas Pastor—a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans who deals with a clash of faith amongst his football-loving flock and his own clash with scheduling events around the Cowboys schedule.
SUPERFANS is not a book meant to further exploit the culture of the superfan, but rather better understand them and their fandom. It is an entertaining and enlightening exploration of how they find meaning in something bigger than themselves, and as we’ve witnessed over the years with the World Cup and Soccer/ Fútbol/ Football, the invention of the SUPERFAN is not just an American phenomenon!
George Dohrmann is a contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, where he was formerly the magazine's sole investigative reporter. His first book, PLAY THEIR HEARTS OUT, was named one of the best sports books of 2010 by Chrisitan Science Monitor and Kirkus Reviews, won the 2011 PEN/ESPN award for literary sports writing, and Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports, given out by Penn State University's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. In 2000, while working at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories that uncovered a college basketball team's academic fraud. Dohrmann lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.
Praise for Dohrmann’s PLAY THEIR HEARTS OUT (Ballantine, 2010):
"Amazing stuff . . . The Friday Night Lights of youth basketball."--Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam
"Read this book and it's so plain to see that this broken system needs to be changed, even if it means stepping on some toes in the process." --ESPN.com
"An eye-opening look at the underbelly of modern American sports." --Booklist
"A landmark achievement in basketball journalism." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"With thorough reporting Dohrmann narrates the corrupt grassroots system from all sides in clean, compelling detail." --The Christian Science Monitor
"Often heartbreaking, always riveting . . . one of the finest books about sports I've ever read."—The New York Times Book Review
"A tour de force of reporting, filled with deft storytelling and vivid character studies."—The Washington Post
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