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Superfans: Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  26 reviews
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
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 20th 2018 by Ballantine Books
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 ·  95 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 more of this type of dialogue in the book than there is sports coverage.
Mr. Cochran
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 questionable. 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 reading.

Dohrmann relies pretty heavily on Psychology professor Dan Wann,
This book was such a fun read. I don't know that I really learned anything, but it sure was interesting.
Katie/Doing Dewey
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, owned
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 more about why some other people are so into sports appealed to me. Unfortunately, the psychology in this one was extremely light. To some extent, this seems to be due to the limited amount of research that's been done. The conclusions were all pretty basic - things like 'people are invested in sports because who they root fo ...more
Aug 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports, nonfiction
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 some gender and religious issues, but there's not much deep analysis. It's still a fun read though - lots of well-told stories and good portraits of some superfans.
Matt Lieberman
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Bang Learnedly
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
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 more 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 mad
Sam Sattler
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, sociology
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 more 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 me ...more
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
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 interesting one on one interviews.

I thought the intersections of religion and medical addiction with sports drew an interesting parallel. The Vikings fan could walk away from the Vikin
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
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 psychologists and sociologists (we meet them playing mini-golf the night before an academic conference), whose scholarship illuminates the people and behavior Dohrmann wr ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I was lucky and won a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book and was worried it would just be fluff about the silly and outrageous things some fans do to show their love for their team. While there were some very interesting profiles of "super fans" - ie the guy who painted his house team colors, people with team tattoos, a man who wears elaborate costumes to every game, etc - it was much more about WHY people are fans.

The psychology behind fando
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I suspect the current cover art may be doing this book a disservice. I expected this to be a straightforward description of the wacky things sports fans do in support of their teams. It is more nuanced an in-depth look at the sociological and psychological aspects of fandom. Along with some wacky things. For me personally, one of the things that made this book interesting was considering the parallels between sports fandom and political identification.
I found the book to be well written. The sty
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was browsing at the library one day (something I rarely do) when I saw this book on a shelf. "Hey, I'm a big sports fan. I bet I'll like this," I thought to myself. Imagine my surprise when I began to flip through it and the first picture I saw was of someone I've met before. That's when I realized that a large portion of the book happens to be about the fandom that I belong to, including what is probably our most poignant story (an event that I was part of).

So I knew I was going to like this
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

A fantastic exploration on what comprises the mental and social makeup of a fan. Do not forget than fan is short for fanatic, which, by definition, tends to focus on the extreme aspect of a fan's dedication and admiration for a team. Dohrmann does a great job of looking at the positive and negative traits exhibited by a fan. By exploring fans that would be considered "normal" as well as "extreme", Dohrmann was able t
Paul Carr
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: more-sports
George Dohrmann deftly mixes academic and anecdotal research in this book about what drives sports fans. He covers the insanely-dressed fans you see on TV and college professors who seek to grasp the psychology of fandom. In doing so, Dohrmann unearths reasons both obvious and insightful, and tells very good stories along the way. Sports fans will enjoy the easy read, and they’ll better understand their own fandom after reading it.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, sports, texas
It began with soccer, talked about a church in Texas where the Cowboys are integrated into the service and the Kevin Durant betrayal of the OKC Thunder and ended with soccer, so I pretty much self-identified with a lot of it. Recommend for anyone that calls themselves a fan of any sport.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, kindle
A really nicely balanced overview of the positives and negatives of being a sports fan. I largely gave it up after Bartman, but there are some really nice passages about the community sports engenders.
Barbara White
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you ever wondered why fanatical sports fans are they way they are, this book is for you. It is very enlightening and gives an understanding of these fans. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of Superfine: Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom.
Cary Hillebrand
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I am as far from being a sports fan as is humanly possible. The thought of sitting in a stadium or opposite the boob tube (AKA television) to watch other people engage in a sport is utterfly incomprehensible to me. For that reason, this probe by a professional sports writter, with input from sports psychologists, into the minds and behaviors of the fan that takes his obession to the extreme is a fascinating journey into what for me is an alternative universe. After reading the book, while I stil ...more
Mary Nee
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting and fun read!
Geoff Walling
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mildly interesting. Those people are crazy.
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Michelle Olms
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Jared Kotler
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Jul 26, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2018
Adam Metz
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Mar 24, 2020
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Mar 14, 2018
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May 23, 2018
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Apr 15, 2019
Michael Bress
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2018
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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 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

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