Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John

genre: non-fiction, sports

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. John, our tour guide into this land of manic fans, is an Alabama boy. That's the University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide. And he uses his own experiences and his own absolute devotion to "his" team as a springboard for finding out what it is in humans that makes us pick a side and then pour our heart into being a follower. What is it about the contest itself? The chance of winning? What are the intricacies of fan interaction and that "crowd mentality" that makes you hug or cry with complete strangers?

Truthfully, I was so worried about having to read this one and there is no doubt that some scenes of football action were skimmed, but overall, this was one entertaining and fascinating read. It reminded me a lot of the book Confederates in the Attic, which examines Civil War re-enactors. Rammer Jammer introduces us to some of the really interesting characters of Alabama fandom - his die-hard love of the Crimson Tide was his ticket to places and people that made this such an intriguing read. Especially all those RV fans, the ones that travel around to tailgate and watch - it's like it's own little culture.

I think honestly what I liked best is that he (our author) DID have a team. Even while looking at all these fans, he was psychoanalyzing HIS OWN SELF. Trying to figure out where the rush of absolute joy or the cloud desolation that can come from the outcome of a GAME. There was a great mix of his own experiences, history and sociology. I feel like my mind has been opened up to an entire new world - and I'm a fan of that.

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Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

Oh my gosh!! I have this on my table as we speak, and I've put down two books in two days because NOTHING appeals to me at the moment...I am a HUGE football fan...I'm starting it tonight! Thank you!!

bermudaonion said...

I've lived in Alabama twice - the last time in Auburn, home to Alabama's biggest rival - so I know all about the fanaticism that goes along with football. I have a feeling I'd like this book a lot.

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