Ssional sporting event probably has seen one of Dohrmann s superfans than once those who arrive at the venue covered in team colored war paint wigs and costumes that l I really enjoyed this book on some of the most dedicated die hard fans of various teams mostly in football but soccer and baseball were also covered In every case not only were the people profiled but there were studies done on what made these people do what they did It s ood for those who want to study the brains and though processes of these individuals as there is of this type of dialogue in the book than there is sports coverage This was another book that was a bit of a letdown Although I don t watch much in the way of sports myself popular psychology is a particular interest of mine and learning about why some other people are so into sports appealed to me Unfortunately the psychology in th I don t watch or have any interest in sports but the way this book describes different types of fanatics is still really interesting maybe than it would be if I was a fan myself since I don t see myself in any of the descriptions of the troubling aspects of fandom Each chapter deals with a different facet of what it means to be a fan and how people express their fandom usually by telling the story of a fan who embodies the chapter s focus Some are inspiring like the soccer fan who made it his mission to The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, get his relatively unpopular sport shown at local bars or the mascot who recovered from the death of his young daughter with help from the fanroup he belonged to or entertaining like fans who make elaborate costumes to showcase their loyalty or pull ridiculous stunts like printing out Dare Mighty Things gigantic celebrity heads that are used to taunt players on opposing teams Other chapterset into the darker side of superfandom like one that chronicles the abuse sports journalist receive when publishing news that paints a franchise in a bad lightThough the book is mostly character studies some chapters The Texas Rangers Heiress Wife get into the psychology behind fandom My favorite contrasts two fans reactions to their team drafting a player who had been accused of domestic abuse A women who was formally abused herself sticks with the team and urges others toive the player a fair shake while a man who runs a forum dedicated to the team shuts it down and stops following the sport Dohrmann makes the case that while both of them love the team the man has an easier time leaving them since he has a family and other hobbies while the woman does not have that kind of support outside her sports related social life The concept of optimum distinctiveness is brought up a few times to explain why fans are celebrated for wearing face paint but ostracized for fighting with fan of other teams Fans want to express themselves but have to straddle the line between creative passion and obsessionAnother Her Outback Protector (Men of the Outback great chapter centers around children s relationship with sports I was surprised that the author is firmly against children being fans of specific teams Through various studies and interviews with behavior experts he explains that kids have a very black and white worldview and are uick to categorize people asood or bad with no in between Teaching young kids that players on the family s favored team are the Eternal Quest gooduys can lead to them feeling The Widows Little Secret genuine hatred towards players and fans of other teams and to have dramatic emotional reaction to wins and losses Instead of appreciating theame itself they Resurrection Year get the idea they re watching a struggle betweenood and evil I The Fire Within (Rockford Fire Department grabbed this on a whim and really enjoyed it If you like books about sociology or like stories about uniue people many chapters would fit nicely into an episode of This American Life it s worth a read even if you haven t thought about sports in years Book ended with stories about fans of the MLS Portland Timbers one sweet and joyful one very very moving this smart breezy book looks at some extreme American sports fans and investigates the rootsoals costs and benefit. At their television during the NBA Finals Superfans offers an entertaining and insightful exploration of the many ways human beings find meaning in something bigger than themselvesFeaturing photos of the Rally Banana Timber Jim the officers of the Viking World Order a pair of Kentucky Wildcats tattoos a Kevin Durant jersey torched by a jilted fan and Plus analysis of the Arizona State Sun Devils Chicago Bears Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers Indianapolis Colts Milwaukee Brewers Nebraska Cornhuskers New England Patriots Oklahoma City Thunder Philadelphia Eagles San Diego State Aztecs Seattle SeahawksWell reported and meticulously researched Dohrmann is a respected diligent sportswriter and has been so for years you don't et Pulitzers for message board posts The Wall Street Journal.
D it with stories of the Timbers Nevets and Timber Jim and how one man can create a literal army in Timbers Army This was an interesting combination of sociological research into fandom and anecdata in which the author conducted some really interesting one on one interviewsI thought the intersections of religion and medical addiction with sports drew an interesting parallel The Vikings fan could walk away from the Vikings entirely because he had other things in his life the Seahawks fan couldn t And the Cowboys youth pastor still tried to find a balance between the two It was telling to see how real world events such as Seau s suicide and Adrian Peterson s child abuse impacted fandomWhile I agreed with the point they were trying to make that female fans aren t a monolith I think they could have chosen a better case study Maybe one that didn t o for the angle that female fans need to know which boots to wear to NBA Tame an Older Man (Harlequin American Romance, games I also think Sexually Transmitted Fandom is an unfortunate namelad to see that was in the relative minority and that In the Bloods were still oing strong As a baseball fan I loved Baer on Buster Olney he could have included ESPN in that because they re constantly accused of the same biasAll in all a really interesting read I d like to meet some of these Superfans one day especially the Colts one We ve all probably witnessed fan behavior at some point that leaves us shaking our heads In Superfans Dohrmann examines the psychology behind behavior that to the casual observer is at best uestionable He shows us both the beauty and darkness that can result from what may seem to some as an obsession For me part of the fun of reading Superfans is that this was a topic I didn t even realize I was interested in prior to readingDohrmann relies pretty heavily on Psychology professor Dan Wann whose research focuses on team identification Wann is uoted describing how a few weeks into one of his college courses the class suddenly shifts from a ym class to a science class Each chapter of Superfans attempts to do just this detail an intriguing story of sports fandom and provide a scientific explanation for it no matter how ridiculous it may seem on the surface Picturing a man donned in a banana costume A Miracle, A Universe going through a whirlwind of emotions as he discovers that another fan has stolen his idea is hilarious on its own but when Dohrmann uses the anecdote as a way to examine optimal distinctiveness vs assimilation he provides a platform for understanding what oftentimes seems like unexplainable fan behavior There were chapters where the science seemed less than fully explored or relatively obvious but the stories themselves were amusing and enjoyable nevertheless Superfans is areat read for any diehard fan or someone who has always wondered why that roup of uys thought it was a Aguecheeks Beef, Belchs Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections good idea to spell their team s name across their bare chests in below freezing temperatures Even though I am not a sports fan I picked up this book out of curiosity about what motivates extreme fandom and whether it might be similar to political and religious extremism Dohrmann makes the point that identity is unsurprisingly at the core of fandom and he touches lightly on someender and religious issues but there s not much deep analysis It s still a fun read though lots of well told stories and Black Metropolis, Vol. 2 good portraits of some superfans George Dohrmann s Superfans is a study of how meaningful sports and favorite sports teams can become in the lives of their fans Some people identify so closely with their favorite team that their whole lives seem to revolve around the ups and downs of those teams competitive seasons Others are casual fans or bandwagon fans who come ando largely depending on the won loss records of their local teams or teams with which they have some other kind of tie an old school or childhood memory for instance Superfans tries to answer why some fans take it all a whole lot seriously than othersAnyone who has ever attended a profe. Brady went viral on YouTube Through these and other intimate profiles Dohrmann shows us the human faces behind the colored face paint the real people inside the elaborate costumes who prowl the stands and parking lots at stadiums from coast to coastIn addition to the fans themselves Dohrmann also talks with the experts who study them He uses the latest thinking in sports psychology some of it learned during a spirited round of miniature By Words Alone golf with aroup of professors at the annual Sports Psychology Forum to unravel the answers to such burning uestions as How does fandom begin What are its effects on everyday life When does it o too farFor everyone who's ever body painted their torso with the team colors of their alma mater before heading off to a sports bar or even just screamed.
This book was such a fun read I don t know that I really learned anything but it sure was interesting 60% of Americans identify as sports fans and if you re reading this review you probably count yourself among the ranks of athletic partisans Originally inspired by his experiences fielding calls from irate readers while working the sports desk at The Los Angeles Times at the start of his journalistic career sportswriter George Dohrmann explores the most extreme depths of fandom in his new book Superfans and details the psychology behind such behavior It is not as ripping or powerful as his absolutely fantastic Play Their Hearts Out but Superfans is a breezy and enjoyable application of pop psychology to the sporting realmDohrmann is currently a writer for The Athletic and previously served as an investigative reporter for Sports Illustrated and won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles revealing academic fraud at the University of Minnesota while at the St Paul Pioneer Press He is a tremendously Enduring Truths gifted writer with a knack for deep and engaging character portraits Superfans has a bit an educational bent than some of his other work but he still excels at bringing to life and colorful and outrageous fans he meets such as Steven Nevets the founder of the Portland Timbers Timbers Army and the eccentric forefather of fan psychology Dr Dan WannSuperfans bounces around the major aspects of fandom including illusions of control affiliation and identification and hatred or rivals Each chapter has a mix of profiles and a little detail on relevant studies Given the minutia researched across a variety of academic disciples I was surprised to learn the marginalized position of fan psychology within academia Most of the leading researchers are concentrated in pedestrian universities and for whatever reason cluster in the Midwest Dohrmann usually mentions the conclusions of each article but I wish he provided detail at the psychological concepts hypothesized as causing such findings The book might have benefited from a co author from academia toive the book a little scientific heft I realize it is intended for sports fans than psychologists but if you are looking for some meaty psychological and neurological explanations you may find yourself wantingThe majority of studies in the space seem to be uirky and along the lines of The Impact of Team Identification on Biased Ratings of Odors Some of these studies are legitimately fascinating and it is Myst great for them to be shared with a broader audience However aood portion of the research papers lean heavily on self reporting and I would imagine that the approach could cause some issues It doesn t take a PhD to acknowledge that sometimes passionate sports fans can be a tad biased especially when reflecting on their own behavior Sometimes the conclusions are essentially reaffirmations of common sense such as the notion that fathers are hugely influential in shaping rooting interests and that many fans are looking for social acceptance and a sense of camaraderie Dohrmann also largely ignores sports fans beyond America s shores and I would have appreciated expanding the book s The Chinese Love Pavilion geographical scope especially when it comes to some of the soccer mad countriesGripes aside Superfans was still uite a fun read Dohrmann writes with a sense of compassion and empathy for the fan and heives his superfan subjects a sense of humanity that can be lacking in some accounts It s a nice mix of sociology and psychology applied to the sports fan a topic that for some reason has largely been ignored by the brobdingnagian pop psychology publishing world to this point Sure I would have liked some scientific rigor in some of its explanations a psych professor co author could have done wonders but I still had a The Peloponnesian War good time with Superfans and think it will appeal to any sports fan with at least a passing interest in the social sciences75 10 I really enjoyed this book especially the way the author chose to booken. A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist pulls back the curtain on the extraordinary inner lives of America's most obsessive sports fansThere are fans and then there are fanatics In this wondrously immersive look at American sports fandom George Dohrmann travels the country to find out what distinguishes an ordinary everyday enthusiast from that special breed of supporter known as the superfan In Minnesota Dohrmann meets newly mintedenerals of the Viking World Order a Minnesota Vikings affinity roup organized along military lines In Oregon he shares a few beers with a determined soccer fan who amassed almost singlehandedly a four thousand strong cheering section for the fledgling Portland Timbers In Illinois he talks with the parents of a five year old boy whose intense hatred of Tom.
George Anderson Dohrmann born February 14 1973 is a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated the 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner for beat reporting and author of Play Their Hearts Out which received the 2011 PENESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing