[George Dohrmann] Superfans [world history Book] Kindle ePUB

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Superfans

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 minted generals of the Viking World Order a Minnesota Vikings affinity group 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 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 gym 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 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 a great read for any diehard fan or someone who has always wondered why that group of guys thought it was a good idea to spell their team s name across their bare chests in below freezing temperatures

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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 get Pulitzers for message board posts The Wall Street Journal 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 and go 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 professional 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 leave little doubt as to their level of loyalty to the home team Dohrmann has chapters on specific fans who have detrimentally let it take over their lives to fans who have greatly benefited from their close identification with a team I was especially touched by the chapter titled Salvation Army that profiles Jim Serrill a man who became closely associated with the Portland Timbers soccer club so closely in fact that when Serrill s daughter died in a tragic auto accident it was the team that largely brought him back from the brink of despairAnother memorable chapter called Breaking Away describes the process of what happens when rabid fans lose interest in their favorite team or likely in their favorite sport and how difficult it is for them to finally let go This is something that I suspect is probably happening all across the country these days with NFL fans who are finally growing fed up with professional football s politicalization and concussion problemsAll in all this is a book unlikely to appeal to readers who are not sports fans but fans who see a little of themselves in what Dohrmann has to say about superfans are likely to enjoy it and learn a little about themselves from it Superfans is as much a look at US culture as it is about sports and sports fans so it deserves a bigger audience than it is likely to find

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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 golf with a group 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 go 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 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 gripping 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 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 to give 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 great for them to be shared with a broader audience However a good 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 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 he gives 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 good time with Superfans and think it will appeal to any sports fan with at least a passing interest in the social sciences75 10


About the Author: George Dohrmann

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



10 thoughts on “Superfans

  1. says:

    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 good 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

  2. says:

    We've all probably witnessed fan behavior at some point that leaves us shaking our heads In Superfans Dohrmann examines the psycholog

  3. says:

    This book was such a fun read I don't know that I really learned anything but it sure was interesting

  4. says:

    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 Unfortuna

  5. says:

    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 ide

  6. says:

    60% of Americans identify as sports fans and if you're reading this review you probably count yourself among the ranks of athletic

  7. says:

    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

  8. says:

    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 and go largely depending on the won loss records of their local teams or teams with which they have some othe

  9. says:

    I really enjoyed this book especially the way the author chose to bookend 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

  10. says:

    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 roots goals costs and benefits of their obsessive fandom Threaded throughout the book is the research of a jolly group of sports ps

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