Superfans

Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom

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On Sale 2018-02-20

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A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist pulls back the curtain on the extraordinary inner lives of America’s most obsessive sports fans.

There 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 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 coast.
                   
In 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 questions as: How does fandom begin? What are its effects on everyday life? When does it go too far?

For 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 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 themselves.

Advance praise for Superfans
 
“A thought-provoking exploration of the weird, fascinating, and wonderful world of sports fans.”—Chris Ballard, senior writer at Sports Illustrated
 
Superfans is utterly hilarious, showing that sports have the power to turn PhD psychologists into superstitious obsessives, and young children into statistical savants. 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

- About the author -

George Dohrmann is a senior editor at The Athletic and was formerly an investigative reporter at Sports Illustrated. He is the author of Play Their Hearts Out, winner of the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing and the Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports. 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.

More from George Dohrmann

Superfans

Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom

Superfans

— Published by Ballantine Books —