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Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,534 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
What is it about sports that turns otherwise sane people into raving lunatics? Why does winning compel people to tear down goal posts, and losing, to drown themselves in bad keg beer? In short, why do fans care?

In search of answers, Warren St. John seeks out the roving community of RVers who follow the Alabama Crimson Tide from game to game. A movable feast of Weber grills
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Here in the South, college football is king. Heck, I’ll just go ahead and say it: college football is practically a religion with Saturdays being just as sacred as Sundays and also full of fellowship, rituals, and prayers! College football is just a Really Big Deal down in the South! Our lives in the fall revolve around game days. Fact: My husband and I planned our wedding around the Georgia Bulldogs’ football schedule. Southerners totally get it but others just scratch their heads.

Author Warre
This book personifies the reason why is why I am in a book group. I would have NEVER (see how that's in all caps?) have picked up this book. I am not a sports player. I am not a sports fan. I couldn't care less about football. Especially college football. Unless it's my alma mater, the Maryland Terps, in which case I might say "go Terps" when I find out they've won something. Just not my thing.

But this book? It digs deep, as it says in the subtitle, into the heart of Fan Mania. And Warren St. Jo
Oct 18, 2014 K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eh. I wanted to like this book more than I did.

Recently my workplace decided to boost morale by having a kind of NFL day, where all of us had to wear a sports jersey celebrating our favorite team. I was one of two people (among a relatively large staff) who not only didn't own a jersey but didn't follow a team. The one other nerd in my position decided with me that we would be the 'Reading Team," and designed T-shirts for us to wear celebrating our love of reading. Fellow goodreaders, I know you
Feb 13, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I first bought this book as a gift for my friend Derrick, a University of Alabama alum. I was fascinated by it and I love college football, and I'm thinking he won't give it back, so I bought my own copy so that I can read it.

*****When I was but a wee, small girl, and thanks to my father's obsession, many of my fall mornings were spent being woken up on Saturday mornings at 5:00 and being dragged, unwillingly from my home in Virginia to Morgantown, West Virginia, home of West Virginia University
Oct 19, 2016 Ross rated it really liked it
Very entertaining and insightful read about the human obsession with contests and tribes, told specifically through the narrative of one Alabama fan's season of following the team in an RV. There were many laugh out loud moments and shocking stories such as the parents who skipped their daughter's wedding for a Bama game, the preacher who had a TV set up behind his congregation so he could keep an eye on the game as he preached, and the guy who forewent heart surgery for a game. Great read!
Nov 10, 2016 Quan rated it really liked it
Roll Tide!
Aaron Arnold
Jul 26, 2013 Aaron Arnold rated it really liked it
Anyone who enjoys college football should consider giving this in-depth case study in fandom a look, even though it's written by and focuses on fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide, a team that I, like so many others, am unable to contemplate without feeling a mixture of disgust and hatred. As a Texas Longhorns fan, I'll never forget the cosmic cruelties of the 2009 BCS Championship Game, and I'll always remember the peculiar sense I felt when the Tide played Big 12 turncoats/SEC newcomers Texas ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Warren St. John has written one of the funniest sports books I have ever held in my hands. As I myself am a dedicated Crimson Tide fan, he could not have chosen a better team to follow nor a better group of fans: the RVers who follow the Tide to every game and create RV cities in the parking lots of opposing teams’ stadiums.

But don’t dismiss this book as a just another title praising the Tide and their legacy. St. John explores the fevered devotion of sports fans: what makes us so crazed about t
Jan 06, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it
I would like to start off by telling you what this book is NOT. While an appreciation for University of Alabama football would enhance enjoyment of this book, this is not simply Alabama fan reading material. "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer" (RJYH) is a very interesting study of the football fan RV subculture. These are the folks that buy motorhomes and travel from game to game, setting up little "villages" on school campuses across the south.
When I got the book, I was afraid that St. John's missio
Anna Lembke
I have flipped through parts of this book and read selections, and the reason every single Alabama football supporter had this book next to their commemorative national championship footballs is because it captures the essence of being a crazy bama fan.
At the age of four, the brainwashing had already started. I had been attending football games at Bryant-Denny for a solid two years and on select Saturdays was carted off to Tuscaloosa in a mini cheerleader costume with pom poms (not that I new wh
Dec 01, 2007 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alabama fans, not many others
If you like 'Bama football and RVs, this will be the perfect book for you. If you live in the northeast and don't understand the rest of the country's obsession with college football, this could also be a great book for you. Otherwise, there are better sports books on the market, like anything by David Halberstam or Roger Kahn to name a couple.

The framing device for this book is fairly standard, Warren St. John follows the Alabama football team through a season of ups and downs, hanging out wit
Aug 04, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it

Oklahoma was ranked #1 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches Poll, today.
Why does that matter?
Well, when you are a football fanatic, you wait 9 months for this date, and anticipate the 12 autumn weekends that comprise the college football season – and with some luck – week nights in January to watch them in BCS bowls.
I, like Warren St. John, the author of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, spend too many countless hours watching football on any given Saturday from
Oct 03, 2011 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
Incredibly fast, easy read. Don't have to be a football fan to get something out of it.

St. John is a rabid Alabama football fan, but also is interested in 'going native' with the most hardcore of the hardcore fans. So he buys a dilapidated RV and travels to every game the Tide plays in 1999. Along the way he recounts the on field action and the off field hi-jinks. We encounter a cast of memorable characters including 'The Chicken Man', 'The Show Chicken Man' (different guy), "The Heart Transplan
Sep 16, 2011 H. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I have two annual traditions to get me appropriately amped up for football season: I re-watch The Program and I reread Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. The second is going to get me in trouble one day when I spend a large portion of my life’s savings on an incredibly inefficient and expensive monstrosity. Warren St. John’s delightful book follows the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 1999 football season by RV.

With a product part sports book, part travelogue, and part popular social science book, St. John show
Feb 11, 2008 A. rated it really liked it
Recommended to A. by: Ash Crowe
Not only is this a love song to the eternal madness -- and it is a madness; I know I'm crazy about Carolina basketball, in a frequently awful way, and I am trying to change it, but it is hard, it is years of habit of being insane about Carolina basketball -- of the fan, but it had some fascinating tiny moments of vision about race issues in the American South. You can't really talk about football in the American South without talking about racial issues, and they crept into St. John's book in a ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Lani rated it liked it
Recommended to Lani by: Josh Paulik
Josh actually recommended this to me, despite me not knowing much of anything about college football. I'm not sure why he picked it up, but I did enjoy it.

In a similar vein to all the other 'do a wacky thing for a year' books, St John traces his interest to its starting point (childhood in Alabama), to his disconnect and self-aware analysis of the phenomenon (living in New York as a writer), all the way into his 'immersion' into the culture he tries for the year (season, really). He ends up buyi
Mar 12, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just because it took me 4.5 months to read this book doesn't mean I didn't like it -- it just means I was able to put it down. For a really long time.

St John, like me, grew up as an Alabama fan but, unlike me, did not attend UA, so he decides to follow the Tide for a season among the RV people. And it is fascinating. Unfortunately for him, he embarked on this project during a low-period in Crimson lore: the Mike Dubose era. But at least that was the year he took them to the SEC championship.

Apr 30, 2015 Pete rated it liked it
three stars for likeability. looking back i could have seen this book being schlocky from the subtitle. there were enough interesting sidebars on the psychology of rooting to fill an XXXL sized feature. the conceit of "i'm gonna RV-caravan to football games" is pretty much instantly repetitive and offers low narrative stakes, to the extent that the author has to duck out over and over again to write about something more interesting (like the dude who breeds show chickens). totally competent ...more
Nov 20, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: SEC college football fans
Recommended to Rebecca by: Shannon
Shelves: scott-read
Yes, I realize that I am a devoted Tennessee football fan, reading a book about crazed Alabama fans. However, this book is really applicable to all SEC football fans (ahem, Julia) and totally enjoyable. I have been saving it for the last year or so to read during football season and have read it slowly over the last three months (slowly only due to all the other reading I have for grad school). Warren St. John really makes the unbelievable highs and the gut-wrenching lows of fandom come alive. ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Shane rated it really liked it
This was great! Part sports fan analysis, part football (Alabama Crimson Tide), part road trip, part fan science, part a lot of stuff. It works. It was a lot fun to dive into this RV culture that follows the team throughout their season, and all the ups and downs that go along with being an obsessed fan. So many interesting people, some crazier than others, but they all have their own unique stories to tell. There are those moments where Warren St John does keep things level and makes the reader ...more
Jul 27, 2007 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alabama fans
The author is from Birmingham and an major Alabama fan, so right off I was excited about this book. The author buys a used RV and spends a year tailgating Alabama games and making friends with other RVers. We learn an enormous amount about RVs: how expensive they are (as much as a real house!), the decor, maintenance, etc. One guy's RV is so proud of his expensive RV that he lets people come in and take a look. Although the author attends Alabama games, he is really studying fan culture in ...more
Apr 10, 2010 Megan rated it it was amazing
Seriously, a must-read for any sports fan who has ever wondered if he/she might actually be just a little bit crazy. My friend and I listened to the audio recording of this book on our drive from Rochester to Indianapolis and back for the Final Four, and it kept us highly entertained the whole way. The book is extremely well-written and well-researched, combining a perfect blend of wit and wisdom. Warren St. John is somehow able to articulate the thoughts I never quite could about why it is that ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Linnae rated it liked it
Shelves: true-tales
A glimpse into the heart of the true sports fan--for whom the stats of his team are as familiar as a family members', a win is triumph and glory, and a loss utter tragedy.

For me, this book was akin to reading about a foreign culture that I had heard of but never really understood. I don't know that I'd fit in very well in Alabama! I had season tickets to BYU Cougar football all 4 years I was there, and had a great time going to the games with my family and roommates, but my personal world did n
Mar 15, 2008 Dave rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
A great book about what is like to be obsessed with Alabama football.

I am obsessed but the level of obsession I have begins and ends with only really caring about whether or not 'Bama wins it's next game in whatever sport is in season.

The people that travel and tail gate at Crimson Tide games are another story.

When I was in school at Tuscaloosa, it was amazing to see people begin gathering on Wednesday for a Saturday afternoon game.

I am no stranger to partying, but don't they have some sort
Mike Kershaw
Dec 09, 2012 Mike Kershaw rated it liked it
Does for SEC Football what "Confederates in the Attic" did for Civil War reenactors. The author, a displaced southerner at Columbia, embedds himself in the sub-culture of the 'camp followers' that give Alabama football some of it's most fanatical devotees -- the legion of fans that follow the Crimon Tide from game to game in their Recreational Vehicles. If you wonder why the plutocrats at ESPN, with their narcassitic/nihilistic quest to reduce college football to another Harvard MBA inspired ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Joseph rated it really liked it
The book is written by a Columbia student who he re-visits his Alabama heritage by traveling in RVs to Crimson Tide games. The book is written for fans and spectators who are entertained or intrigues by the culture. The author successfully conveys that it is difficult to penetrate the RV culture because those who participate hold the culture so close to them. But by sharing the experience of introduction, assimilation, and finally obsession, the author successfully shares the Alabama RV ...more
Jan 10, 2013 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"My team is the Alabama Crimson Tide. Growing up a Tide fan in the 1970s gave me an unrealistic sense of what it means to be a fan, for the simple reason that in the 1970s Alabama won, and being a sports fan is largely about learning to cope with losing. In most sports there is just one champion per year - every four years if you're into a sport like World Cup soccer - so for the overwhelming majority of fans, losing at least once a season is a near certainty. In my childhood, this small kink in ...more
Cathy Day
May 15, 2008 Cathy Day rated it it was amazing
An amazing work of nonfiction that reads, in part, like a novel (when Warren St. John is on the road, following the Tide) and in part like excellent socio-cultural analysis. St. John knows how to tell a story and how to offer compelling cultural critique--which makes the book both very smart and very readable at the same time. His pieces in the NYTimes Sunday Styles section always amaze me--looking forward to his new book.
Apr 29, 2009 Dale rated it really liked it
Great story about the passion of SEC football fans. The author chronicles the 1999 (I think) Alabama Crimson Tide football season. St. John grew up a passionate Tide fan in Alabama, and later moved to New York. Living in the North, St. John missed the passion and intensity of SEC football fans. He spent the season traveling to all of 'Bama's road games and hanging out with the "regulars" in their motor homes.

If you're a college football fan of any kind, this will be an enjoyable read. I love co
Lauren Shoaf
Sep 03, 2013 Lauren Shoaf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect book to kick off college football season. If you are a college football fan, particularly the SEC, you need to read this book. St. John sets out to explore and better understand the depths of Fan Mania, something that even as a life-long Alabama fan he doesn't fully understand. Comical and completely relatable . . . we all know a die-hard fan or two (might even be one) and have been on numerous of the college campuses mentioned. Side note, as an Auburn Alum I don't find his portrayals of ...more
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“My team is the Alabama Crimson Tide. Growing up a Tide fan in the 1970s gave me an unrealistic sense of what it means to be a fan, for the simple reason that in the 1970s Alabama won, and being a sports fan is largely about learning to cope with losing. In most sports there is just one champion per year - every four years if you're into a sport like World Cup soccer - so for the overwhelming majority of fans, losing at least once a season is a near certainty. In my childhood, this small kink in the works of the fan's life went more or less unexposed.” 0 likes
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